In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

It Was a Good Trip - Part 2

Before we left the next morning, and while drinking the free coffee, I spent some time examining a tree I'd never seen before that was planted next to the parking area. I attempted to look it up on the internet, but couldn't determine exactly what it was. I couldn't tell if it was native, or one of the trees chain hotels can plant that won't survive; especially if the manager doesn't keep up with the grounds.

The photo isn't the best, but the flowers in the morning light were a deep purple. It appeared to be thriving, so I have the feeling the architect used species that can survive in the locale climate. 

Breakfast was part of the deal, so we ate what was a satisfying full breakfast before we packed, loaded the car, and headed out. It was relatively cool, and the clear skies forewarned of a hot afternoon.

There are two ways to head west from Snyder. One route is through Lamesa into Hobbs, New Mexico, and the other is taking a little jog to the northwest before turning west toward Rozwell, New Mexico. We chose the latter, since I wanted to see the city with the history of government coverup and aliens. 

I wasn't expecting the scenery during the first of the trip to the New Mexico border. I was thinking it was mostly desert, sparsely vegetated, and very dry. It wasn't. The amount of plowed acreage was astounding, and many water wells, with piping, dotted the fields. There was some drier areas, but not nearly as much of the real estate was barren as I expected. 

What was remarkable were the number of empty houses that appeared on the highway. I have a feeling they were farmers, or ranchers, at one time, but without the resources to drill for water, or a few bad years, the effort became futile, and they abandoned the property. Maybe the were lucky and sold it, but some probably lost their dreams to a tax lien, handily satisfied at a public auction. I doubt many had the mineral rights under their land, and if they did, the money to be made from the oil could allow leaving a hard life. I'm thinking most just sold out ( if they could) their children moved away when they could, and some just passed away in a lonely place. 

Outside of Tahoka, Texas, we came upon a historical marker:

I had a somber moment of thought as I digested the history about the spot. First, you have to consider the terrain. Every creek, or outfall, we crossed was completely dry. During the time of the incident, water was necessary for men, and horses. Considering how dry this area can be, even the hunt for water could end in tragedy...which it did. An unsuspecting, or ignorant party, could be led all over what is best described as wasteland from a long distance. Dust on the horizon could get your attention, and if you were looking for a particular group of people, you'd travel in that direction. That's what happened, and the fate of the commanding officer wasn't detailed. I doubt he stayed much longer on the frontier.

Traveling through the town of Brownfield led to a small section of the town refurbished with brick streets. The section was rough. Brick isn't good paving, unless the brick is set in concrete. This wasn't and the paving was showing the signs of uneven settling. I'm sure someone thought it was a good idea, but considering the amount spent, it will need replacing far sooner than conventional construction.

Somewhere during this time, we stopped in one of the small towns for some coffee. As we prepared to go, a chicken started across the highway, dodged the cars, arrived at our side, and promptly repeated its effort to cross back to the other side. After that, it continued on its path toward a house behind the business across the highway.

The closer we came to the New Mexico border, less signs of civilization appeared. The entire area we'd been driving in is called the High Plains, and flat is the best way to describe it. History shows it was only hospitable to nomad tribes of Native Americans at one time, and even white settlers didn't do much with it until water wells were drilled.

Reaching the border revealed only a change in pavement type, and a "Welcome Texas" sign in the rear view mirror. The highway was straight, the surrounding area was completely flat, and if it wasn't brown, it soon would be. I stopped after a few miles, and took a picture of the long straight highway. Rozwell was ahead, and it would be awhile before we arrived.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

It Was a Good Trip Part 1

 My wife, and I, kicked around two locations for a trip, and the Lincoln Mountain National Forest won. The Big Bend area was the other, but the border mess, and a long range forecast of rain, made us decide on New Mexico.

Years ago, during my wife's first marriage, she went with her husband to return to the state where he was born. From what I can surmise of the trip, there was a lot of ground to cover, and not much time to stop. The trip was hectic, and she didn't get to spend some time in the mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. She spoke about the beauty. Looking at photos of the area convinced me it was the choice to make.

The trip to our destination of Ruidosa N.M. is attainable in a day, but the thought of driving for 12 to 14 hours wasn't a pleasant thought. Snyder Texas would take between 8 and 10 hours, and the five to six hour on the next day would allow time to wander as we traveled. 

We started around 7:00 am, and took a route that allowed back roads. We could have taken interstates for most of the trip, and probably saved some time, but that's not how we travel. The smaller highways, less traffic, more scenery and history are what we like. You really can't understand Texas unless you stay away from the larger cities, and you are willing to stop now and then. 

Some of the route was familiar, until we turned on SH 7 in Centerville. We stopped for coffee, and a pit stop. I'd been this way years ago, and really didn't remember much of the trip. It was a new adventure for both of us, and we both anticipated the new discoveries. 

The first thing to catch our eyes was near a small town named Kosse. A bridge over a large road was unfamiliar, since they usually are over railroads. This one was different, and the appearance of a large dump truck gave it away. It was a mining road, and off in the distance was the large drag line scooping away large sections of earth. Looking to the left, we could see the cleared areas, and the areas being reworked. Eventually, the mine will run out of coal, and the large drag line will be left in place, or scrapped. Now, it was feeding a power plant somewhere close. I knew it existed due to the transmission line crossing the highway. A little research shows it's south near another small town named Franklin. 

Seeing the mine brought back a conversation I had with two workers a few years ago in Hearne, Texas, which is not far from Franklin. They were mechanics for a large machinery company and working on a local drag line in a mine. They said there were a few years left for the mine, and when it was done, the machine they were working on would probably remain. It took a long time to assemble, and economics dictated the costs to move it would probably never be contemplated. At the time, I thought of the economic impact this would have on the local communities. Seeing the large area that depended on the endeavor made me think about it again. There's not much of anything to support that many people. When the mine is closed, there is no doubt in my mind many will have to move to survive. 

As we continued, outside the small town of Moody we encountered something that caught our eyes. On the edge of the highway, in between, and on the edge of a county road, was a cemetery. There was no fence, most of it was grown over, and a few newer graves signified it was still in use. Surrounding the entire area was acres of corn, and the planting was to the edge of an imaginary demarcation. It said a lot about the area's past, and many rural areas, where there is no perpetual care cemeteries, headstones can be as simple as a large rock, and the care shows any family left has passed, or moved on. Eventually, many graves will be lost to time and nature. Faint memories would have long gone, and even if someone wants to find the resting place of a relative, time has removed all vestiges of their existence. 

The further west we traveled, the more hostile the terrain became. The lush green of East Texas was replaced by more scrubby vegetation, the oaks were small, and much of the farms were irrigated by wells. The rolling hills offered more vistas, and the pioneers crossed my mind. What did they see? What did they think? And how many were buried in the prairie in unmarked graves? It had to be a hard existence, and the lack of water guaranteed only the most hardy could survive. 

We stopped in a town named Hamilton for something to eat. We'd eaten breakfast hours before, and it was past the noon hour. My wife found a local hamburger restaurant with good reviews, so we pulled in for something to go.  

Hamilton, like many of the smaller towns that were on our path, is a county seat. We saw many, and most were small towns. The surrounding areas are mostly farms or ranches, and there is usually a railroad passing through. Many still have rail sidings for the crops, and the towns are probably the only place for locals to shop.  

The reviews were right about Woody's. Compared to the fast food chains, the prices were similar, and the homemade burgers brought back memories when there weren't many fast food chains. Hamburgers were handmade patties, the vegetables were fresh, the bun was browned on the flattop, and fries were hand cut that morning. I was reminded how I missed the way burgers used to be, and was glad of our choice. We ate as we drove, and the scenery was starting to drastically change. 

The closer we came to Abilene, the more mesquite was to be seen, and prickly pear was along the fence rows. Some mesas were visible on the horizon, many covered with windmills, and it was obvious cattle had sparse grazing. Where in Central Texas the cattle were butterball fat, the cattle there would have to go to a feed lot before processing. 

We didn't see much of Abilene. A farm to market road bypassed much of the city, and when we reached Interstate 20, we headed west. A fairly short time on the interstate brought us to a small town named Roscoe. We turned north and another short trip led us to Snyder. 

Snyder is surrounded by hundreds of windmills and thousands of acres of fields. Some held the vestiges of the winter wheat harvest, some were ready to be harvested, and the majority of the acreage was fresh plowed. A question to the hotel clerk where we stayed brought the answer to what was about to be planted: cotton. Research shows it's a major crop, and judging by the number of workers that arrived at the hotel later, it takes a lot of transient workers to accomplish the task of planting. When you add the workers for windfarms, and the oilfield, hotel rooms without reservations are slim to find in Snyder at this time of year. I was glad I made reservations a few days before. The clerk told me all rooms were booked, and no rooms were available. 

We didn't see much of Snyder, and with what turned out to be a 10 hour drive, a fast food meal was all we wanted. Rest was mandated, so we settled in early for an early start the next morning. At that time, I would be further west than I've ever been, and I was curious about what we would see. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Home Again

 I've been home a few days. I'll eventually write about my trip...of maybe not...but I can write New Mexico is a fascinating place, and I could spend months exploring.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

What's The Proper Punishment?

 I received a notice today that my vehicle's warranty was about to expire. It was the right model, but there was absolutely no other information, and it definitely wasn't from the manufacture. Whey would they send such a thing for a brand new vehicle? Otherwise, a scam, or spam, for what is probably a bogus warranty. It's easy to sell one, and it's just as easy to disappear when any claims are needed. 

There needs to be some type of punishment for such crap. My punishments:

- Wash 1200 cars in 2 years or less to the owner's satisfaction. 

- A 20 mile walk in the desert. No water if the more than 50 letters were sent.

- 10 lashes with a cane.

I can think of many, but would rather have commenters offer their suggestions.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Probably Won't Work Out for Some

Weather forecasters are showing days of heavy rainfall for areas in, and around, the Rio Grande Valley. The river, and tributaries, can rise quickly, which will mean swimming the river a risky endeavor. I wonder how many will try, and how much garbage the media will report?