Sunday, September 23, 2012

On the Road to Alamogordo, Day 2: I Killed a Tumbleweed


I left Chandler, OK, at about 9:00 a.m. I wasn't in much of a hurry. I try to remember lessons learned from Caucasus Georgia (be flexible, don't worry so much about time), though often unsuccessfully.

Note my new use of "Caucasus Georgia" instead of "Republic of Georgia," both designed to distinguish it from the state of. I didn't come up with Caucasus Georgia - a guy who wrote and edited a new guidebook on Georgia did, and I like it. I'll reserve any linky love to the book until I find out how the author(s) addressed Rustavi, or if they did at all. There are some folks who purport to know what's what in Georgia, but who have either never been to Rustavi (3rd largest city in the country) in the last five years (if ever) or who dismiss it out of hand as a has-been industrial backwater. 

Oklahoma has a pleasing terrain and once you get past Oklahoma City, you've also got the red earth to capture your eye. I'd planned to stop for lunch at Lucille's in Weatherford, a place my mother and I enjoyed on my last pass through these parts, but I missed the exit. I could have backtracked, but that isn't in my genetic make-up, so I pushed on. 

Speaking of OKC,  I saw the damnedest thing. As I drove onto a highway ramp, I saw two police cars on the right. As I turned my head to look at why they were there, I saw more LE and I saw a black, SUV-type vehicle straddling a deep, wide concrete ditch over by a fence, which was adjacent to a mall or some other sort of large building complex. And when I say straddling, I mean that the vehicle's front end was on one side of this trench and the rear end was on the other. How the hell did that happen? I imagine the cops wondered the same thing when they first arrived. 

Turned off at another Route 66 town, Clinton. All of these small towns are worthy of exploration for their Route 66 artifacts and vibe, but there's only so much time. Had a ho-hum lunch at Gayla's Cafe at the Market. Weak coffee, a real sin in my book. A good yeast roll, though.

For God's sake, people: You can always make a strong cup of coffee weaker; you can't do a damn thing to make weak coffee stronger. If you can see through the coffee in the glass pot, it's too weak.

While on the subject of coffee, I pulled up later at a c-store for a pit stop. I like to buy something when I use the facilities, so I was searching for something not too expensive and settled for a cup of coffee. The store guy stood right by me as I asked if the coffee was very strong (having been recently disappointed by Gayla's). He said, "Pour a little in the cup and try it." (Give him 10 points for good customer service.) I did, and it was lukewarm, and very weak. I said in a neutral voice, "It's lukewarm." He said, "Add a little hot water to it," pointing to another dispenser. (Fire him.)


The I-40 West Texas Welcome Center is among the most beautiful in the country, I think. Dramatic views from the picnic shelters, elegantly designed. An informative and graceful center. Didn't have to stop there this trip, however.

In Amarillo, I veered off from I-40 to Highway 60, via which I'd pass through Hereford and then Clovis and Portales.

Somewhere on Highway 60, I saw a tumbleweed begin to cross the road and through the vagaries of wind and timing, I ran right over it. A little piece clung to my front hood latch for awhile. No immediate damage to my car's underpinnings seemed to occur, so I carried on.

The land between Hereford, TX, and Clovis, NM, is dotted with huge plants of some sort. Processing plants or factories of some kind. Definitely among these are packing plants. Beef. In one spot, I smelled something yeasty, like bread. It smelled kind of good. Later along the highway, I smelled something not-good a couple of times; I think these were beef packing plants.

A couple of times, I saw hundreds of cows in short-term feedlots, awaiting their fate.  I say feedlots because at one place, I also saw hay bales. At another, I didn't notice any hay. Maybe one place was for an upcoming auction.

I also saw a number of long trains. Several of the trains carried trailers from companies such as FedEx. Kind of funny: Transportation carrying transportation.

The view through a bug-stained window, accompanied by a sad tune from Johnny Cash:   

A roadrunner ran across the road.

Road death

On I-70 in Missouri, I see electronic MODOT signs that say "535 deaths on Missouri roads this year." (Now it's 598.) Then it says 63% of those who died were unbuckled.

So when I saw a similar Texas DOT sign on Interstate 44, you can imagine my shock at the number of fatalities: 2058.

As shocking as that is, Missouri's per capita traffic death rate is (as of the 2009 figures) two people per 100,000 more dead than Texas. 
Roswell, New Mexico

I stopped for the night at the Super 8 in Roswell, NM.

I had no cell phone service anywhere in town. Odd, don't you think? What are they trying to hide?

Roswell, New Mexico.


Jen2010 said...

Not in your genetic makeup to turn back - love it! and I could just imagine your internal expression in the coffee situation1

Mzuri said...

It's not a particularly good trait - the not turning back thing. Remember the Donner Party.