Lately we’ve done a lot of roadtrips here in Texas and Eastern New Mexico. I’ve written about my trip to a dude ranch in Bandera, a girlfriend getaway in San Angelo, skiing in Taos & skiing in Santa Fe, and a conference in Austin. A lot more are coming – just as soon as I sifted through all the pics we took when our family was visiting. I usually write mainly about the actual destinations and less about how we get there. Texas is huge! If you decide to go anywhere you better book a flight or get ready for a road trip that takes a looooong time. The car trips can get kind of boring, because there are stretches between cities here in Texas where you see nothing but farmland or dessert-like strips for miles and miles and miles. So, I started taking pictures of what we usually see of the Texas countryside on our trips. I think I got most of it now 🙂 So, here we go with what you can see driving through Texas.
There are really, really long roads that seem to lead nowhere. Sometimes you don’t see another car for half an hour (unheard of in Germany!). Some of these roads are windy (like the one pictures below of driving down the Caprock), but most are so straight that it seems unreal. And it’s so hot here that many times the roads seem to be covered in water – like a weird type of mirage. Some of the roads here are also kind of old and you can see lines on the roads where it broke and was fixed. I don’t know if it’s because the roads are so hot or because the huge semis have such bad tires to start out with, but you see blown tires by the side of the road in spades. It’s acually kind of scary! One time, we drove to Dallas and a tire exploded on a semi right in front of us. It’s really only thanks to Marco’s super-speedy reflexes that we didn’t have a huge crash. Ever since then I keep much more distance to semis in front of me – especially in the summer which is when you see more and more of the blown tires on the road.
Usually you see very, very far on these long roads without hills or mountains in sight. But it’s also not uncommon that out of a sudden you drive into a dirt/dust/sand storm like you see below. It’s weird, because usually the sky here is perfectly blue with very few clouds. But since it is very, very windy in West Texas and it is crazy dry (especially this year!), the wind sometimes picks up the dirt and dust and you go from perfectly clear air to dust within a few miles. Don’t get me started on my fear that one of these days a tornado watch or warning will turn into an actual tornado, but sometimes you see little dirt devils on the road which look like mini-tornados. Marco was quick enough to capture the one below here.
I’ve already written about how many pump jacks and windmills you see driving through West Texas. I actually thought that pump jacks were called oil pumps until I wrote that post 🙂 Thanks for clearing that up, Shanna! You woudn’t believe how many words in the English language I still don’t know. Or forget on my “bad language” days. But that’s a whole ‘nother post 🙂 Anyways, back to the windmills… I also love that picture with the windmill and the train below. There are thousands (millions?) of windmills and so many trains here, but I rarely see them that close together. Talking about trains, they are insanely long here. They can be literally miles long!
And what would a road trip through the Texas countryside (well, closer to the tiny little towns on the way, more like) be without the ubiquitous water towers everywhere. In Germany, I’ve never seen one and before moving here I really only knew them from American TV shows and movies (That 70’s show, anybody?). They still make me smile sometimes, because something about them is so inherently American to me. I guess there really is no other way to get decent water pressure without hills or mountains anywhere close. I love that on the one pictures below you can actually see the logo of the town’s football team – another very American thing to me. There are only a handful of American football teams in Germany and none really get any recognition. And college sports aren’t a big deal either. High school sports? Pretty much nonexistent. Compare that to Friday Night Football in a small Texas town 🙂 Almost as ubiquitous as the water tower? The tumbleweed. I’m thrilled to report that we managed to take a picture of one. Another somewhat common sight? Religious billboards. I already wrote about them in a post of my Only in Texas series, but I couldn’t leave them out here, now could I? Something else you see closer to towns sometimes are cute, old bridges. Check out the one below.
And what would Texas be without farming? When you fly over Texas, you see these huge round patches of farmland everywhere. When you drive through Texas, you see fields of cotton, corn, etc. You also see lots of farming equipment and cattle. Boy, is there a lot of cattle! Mixed with whatever fumes come from the oil fields, you sometimes don’t know what’s worse. And on a road trip you can’t help driving through it and getting your whole car kind of stinky. Luckily, that usually passes fairly quickly though. And in order not to end on such a stinky note, let me tell you about something else Texas has? Gorgeous sunsets! I don’t think I’ve seen sunsets like they have here anywhere else in the world. The colors are just amazing!
I already wrote a post about driving through New Mexico a while ago and included pictures of an old windmill, a crazy long road, some sad cowboys, and a house on the way to its new home, so I’ll refer you to that post for these pics – even though you’re just as likely to see these things in Texas. And in the spirit of full disclosure… I think some of the above pics might have been taken just across the border in New Mexico. I am not totally sure.
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