Yesterday I left Canyon, Texas, headed for Alpine. If you decide to drive south to the Big Bend area from the Panhandle, be prepared for a rather long and boring six hours of driving.
First, you pass at least an hour of looking at camel colored dry grass in all directions. I had not realized the grass fires had reached south of Amarillo but in one area burned grass stretched across both sides of I-27 and on the medium in between. I would not have wanted to be driving down the highway while this was on fire.
Close to Lubbock the cotton fields begin. With spring planting approaching, most of the fields were already cultivated ready to plant. This “scenery”, except for driving through Lubbock, continues for at least another three hours. About 1/2 to one hour before the Odessa/Midland area, you hit the really ugly. Since I am one of those people who can find beauty just about anywhere, if I say it is ugly, most people would find it even worse. Miles and miles of nothing but mesquite, brush, and oil rigs stretch endlessly in every direction. Why would anyone want to live here? Money, money, money. Apparently, they expect to make even more soon because new drilling rigs popped up within sight of the road everywhere. In the short distance where I cut off on a two lane highway to get from I-20 to I-10, I saw five new drilling rigs. The scenery does improve a bit in this area because you can suddenly see the Davis Mountains looming large not too far away. It reminded me of my childhood when my family would head across eastern Colorado and how excited we became when we could see our destination, the Rockies, in the distance.
Once you drive two minutes or so on I-10 and then cut off south toward Fort Davis, the scenery becomes dramatic, something to really see and enjoy. Although it is too early for the grass to have become very green, the cottonwood trees have leafed out and what a sight they are. Huge is an understatement. It would take the width of at least six of me to make one of these impressive trees. Apparently, I was not the only one who viewed them as something special. People were driving off the highway to stand by them. One woman stared up into the newly green leaves, a look of wonder on her face. I thought I was late to meet friends in Alpine so did not stop. In the end we arrived at Alpine at the same time for our yearly get together–friends since college when we were roommates with her husband who went to college with us and another friend.
After a fabulous dinner at the old hotel here, we retired to our rooms to get ready for the real adventures of this week: the Observatory-today’s goal, Marfa, Big Bend. I really tried to sleep late, but alas I should have known better. Here I am writing away early in the morning.