Archive for October 13th, 2010

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While I was sad to veer off of Route 66 (it’s too soon for me to go too far west) I wasn’t disappointed with the scenery as I turned north. Luckily much of the route Aidan put me on had plenty of places for me to pull over to capture photographs along the way. Of course, I had to remind myself I wasn’t in the city anymore!

The first time I pulled over – in awe of the wide open landscape in front of me – I was very mindful that I was in Texas and that I had to watch for snakes, which I really hate. I don’t hate many things, but snakes are one of them. All was fine (a trucker even stopped to make sure I was okay – love southern gentleman), until I got back in the car. A few flies followed me back in, so I was trying to shoo them away as I put my camera away. I felt what I thought was  one landing on my elbow when I glanced down and saw it was actually a giant spider that must’ve attached itself to my clothes. I screamed like a little girl (very, very high pitched – am sure any dogs in a ten mile radius heard me) and flew out of the car, jumping up and down on the side of the road trying to get it off me without touching it. Of course it leaped back in the car! It took a few minutes but I got it out, and then got a picture of it (in the slideshow above). So I learned my lesson and will be watching for more than just snakes from now on. I was much more careful the next times I stopped. What I did seem to get every time I stopped were more flies in the car – so annoying. I spent a good amount of time trying to kill them or shoo them out the window. There are way too many bugs in Texas! No, nature girl I am not…

Crossing into the New Mexico border I was reminded that there’s more to be cautious about than insects and wildlife. The first sign after the welcome one asked people not to pick up hitchhikers as the prison is near by. Nice. Wasn’t planning on it, but that confirmed it! My other safety reminder of the day came from a very nice man I met at the New Mexico rest stop (where I got to take some pictures of the Sierra Grande, the largest extinct volcano in northeastern New Mexico).  Dayton was traveling to the mountains to go elk hunting for a bit, just him, his two horses and two mules. (Did you know some rest stops out here actually have pens for animals? Pretty cool.) He was kind enough to tell me about himself, his family (three daughters – and he dated the mother of Colby from the first Survivor), his travels and show me around his trailer, complete with manger for the animals. Dayton also reminded me that while we may appear to be traveling alone, we always have God watching over us, which always makes me feel better. But, he added, we still need to be smart and – nodding at the Watch for Snakes sign – told me not to forget that it’s more the two-legged variety that I need to really watch out for. I promised I would and we parted ways.

I actually felt like I had some company as I traveled yesterday: a train. Much of the road I took followed along the tracks and throughout the day I would pass the train, then stop somewhere and when I returned to the road it wouldn’t be long before the train would catch up with me. It was like playing tag. And I love trains so it was a good thing – and more photo ops, of course. The train reminded me once again of the movie Far and Away – remember, when Tom Cruise was working his way west? Wish I had the movie with me, but only have it on VHS and while I did bring a lot of things on the road with me, I wasn’t about to pack a VCR.

I can certainly see where the saying ‘Everything’s bigger in Texas’ comes from. It’s like everything is supersized! Bigger farms and ranches, bigger farm equipment, bigger processing plants, bigger trucks, bigger haystacks, bigger (longer) trains, bigger open fields. I even spotted what I dubbed the Eiffel Tower of Texas – it certainly looked like it, a giant red and white tower that just appeared towering over the fields.

When I crossed into New Mexico, I went into the next time zone. My phone actually changed too early – while I was still in Texas – which messed me up when I stopped at the Texline Post Office, thinking it was still open. But the very nice postal woman reopened for me. (Thank you!) I love going back in time as I travel west, but know I’m going to hate losing the hours when I head back east. I am late enough on my own!

The third and final state I entered yesterday was Colorado, right on the Santa Fe Trail. When I stopped to capture the amazing view, the cold hit me. The tank top I put on that morning in Texas was not cutting it in Colorado, elevation 6,017. I think I need to dig into my trunk and pull out some of the fall clothes for the next couple of weeks as I go further north and west. 

I spent a good amount of time yesterday and today trying to plan the rest of the trip, as I realized the time is flying and there is no way I’m going to be able to fit everything in if I keep just meandering along wherever, whenever. So I think I’ve nailed down at least through the next month – see the Road Trip Itinerary above if you’re interested…

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