Saturday, August 29, 2009

On The Road To Phoenix

Think back to the 1800's when settlers in America were pushing west, walking along side their wagons pulled by oxen or riding on horseback. This was what they saw:

It's a very jerky video because we were going nearly 80 miles an hour (the legal speed limit). At about 22 seconds into the video you'll see a tall signpost with a small green image with white on it - 334. At about 1:07 into the video you'll see another one - 333. That means we are 333 miles away from the state border of Texas. The mile markers start at 830 on the east state line along Louisiana and count down to 0 at New Mexico. In the background you can hear faintly the music we are listening to, which at this point happens to be La Vie en Rose from Christine Albert's Texafrance album.

People think we are crazy for driving to Phoenix because it's one whole day just to get out of the state and then a second day to get into Phoenix (and the road from Tucson into Phoenix is baaaad). But we love the drive through Texas. It isn't really boring because at 80 mph the scenery changes fast, from Hill Country to mountains. Yes, Texas has mountains, the picture above is Tit Mountain, which I am sure has another name but that's what I call it. I also love the drive because I can let Susan drive and take a nap and not have to listen to her curse at other drivers. Other drivers? We like to see how long a time span we can go when we can't see any cars in front of us and no cars in our rear view mirror. Try doing that on IH 95 on the east coast!

If I look carefully I swear I can see Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers riding off in the distance, chasing the train robbers and worrying about Indians. John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood are somewhere out there too.

The one bad thing about the road trip is finding a place to stop and pee. Even if you are of the gender that has "outdoor plumbing" it isn't simple - you can't just pull off the side of the road because it isn't allowed unless it's an emergency, which a bladder usually isn't, despite Susan's arguments. Texas has some of the worst rest stops in America. They put interesting mosaics in them but the quality is dubious because they are open-air ventilated. In defense of TexDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) it's probably pretty hard to find someone to drive 103 miles into the desert to service a rest stop.

I'm not sure if I'd want to be taking a small poodle for a walk around this New Mexico rest stop.


Diane O. said...

Brings back memories when I lived in San Antonio and drove (yep two days) to Sante Fe or Taos to ski. Video is really pretty good, the best view is the one you took, right out the front otherwise it would have looked really blurry (out the side).

ArtPropelled said...

In this country you can pee into on coming traffic if you want and no one will blink.