Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Racing Ahead of the Morning Sun.

Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Wednesday Night, 3/13/13:   It takes many long hours to cross Texas' Permian Basin. But it's worth it.  

   I started just at sunrise today in Abilene, Texas and didn't reach the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains till about two.  It was fascinating.  Flat scrubland stretches out farther than the eye can see, all sagebrush, cactus and brown.  The soil is can run cattle out there and you can plow..but not without a battle.  It is hard to imagine that people on horseback crossed that range.  Going anywhere would take days.  
Texas Wildflowers
     And then there's the oil, of course.  This is where it is and that is what you see: drilling rigs stitching the ground..and where there are no rigs there are the little Worry Bird pumps, nodding oil out of the vast pool and out to the refineries whose smoke and flares can be seen from many miles away. 

     But this is Texas where the main chance is never ignored.  The competition is there, overlooking the great basin, up on the mesas and down in the fields as well.  There's a lot of wind on this vast flatland, and the mills rise like cornrows, churning electricity while the little pumps suck oil.  It's vast, exciting and on the go..and when you drive it, you think it will never end.

The southern horizon down I 20 at Pyote, Texas

  But it does. Just about the time you think you have seen all you can take, the vague shape of a mountain range is visible in the blue haze ahead, and you start to rise into the Guadalupe foothills that take you off I 20, exchanging for I 10 west, last leg of the day.  You'll have to endure the traffic in El Paso, but before you know it, there's Las Cruces, New Mexico and a bed for another night.

  It takes something special to drive long distance.  The good traveler does some homework, learning a little about the history of a region and why people live out there.  Today, I passed legendary places like Big Spring, Socorro, and Pecos.  And I laughed with delight at the sign announcing Stanton, Texas:  "Home of 3,000 friendly people and a few old sore heads."  Someday, maybe, I'll go back and find out for myself.

  This is magic if you pay attention.  You clear your mind and take it in, imagining the things that happened here and how people dealt with them.  You can do that anywhere in this glorious country. 

  And if your soul cups even an ounce of romance, it will be thrilled.


  On to Tucson tomorrow.  

  I don't know if it's seemly to blog as a guest in someone's 
I may be quiet for the next few days.  And I may not.

  Stay tuned.