Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities
Another day in the saddle!
Texas; briefly New Mexico and then back into the Lone Star State synonymous with Saturday morning cinema cowboy movies – Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry… the list is almost endless. Over 300 miles from Odessa to El Paso through stunningly sparse yet hauntingly appealing countryside. We travelled at 75 mph for much of the way on roads which were barely A-roads in the UK but these were mainly as straight as an arrow. For about 250 miles we saw no-one on foot and only one brave soul on a bicycle. Scrub desert (and two salt lakes) doesn’t lend itself to farming and we didn’t see any cultivated land and only five horses and a dozen or so cows – in 300 miles! Even the one town we passed through, Jal, couldn’t even provide traffic lights but seemed to enjoy the queue of traffic their two junctions caused. 75 mph on open roads with minimal traffic but bunching and static at Jal suddenly demonstrated poor road management. There were many more enormous trucks than ‘family’ cars.
We were initially surprised to see nodding donkeys (pumpjacks) drawing crude oil from the ground but after counting dozens, hundreds, we gave up as there were thousands! Of differing sizes and ages, the pumps were scattered across the landscape with the odd flarings in the distance. But then we saw the future…? In 2009, the Roscoe Wind Farm was the biggest in the world and as we passed into New Mexico we saw our first solar panel farm. Amazing that in such a sun-drenched area that many more haven’t been installed. New Mexico also saw a change from oil extraction to gas (as well as much worse road surfaces – we saw a notice yesterday for ‘textured pavement’ a deliberate intention to improve grip – today wasn’t deliberate; merely worn and lacking maintenance!). We’d re-routed from our original schedule to visit the mountains after flatland after flatland – and we saw them!
And, so, into El Paso with some trepidation from news reports of tensions, border wall etc. We have seen nothing untoward and the people have been polite and friendly – as we have been, too!
Tomorrow is Tucson – another 300+ miles – and we’ll think of my Hyundai and Jojo who “left his home in Tucson, Arizona for some California grass.” (🎼🎶🎤 for Beatles’ fans!)