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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And so, here we are in Odessa, Texas!

Oh, Spring has reached NM and Texas at least around the Panhandle! The sun here is so bright --the air so clear--that it is blinding and there are mirages and images become confusing. I'm not a hat lover but there is true practicality in the big brim of those Cowboy stetson's and my straw imitation. Speaking of cowboys--they are impeccable--I saw a man today in faded, CREASED, jeans and they don't wear t-shirts but well pressed dress type shirts. Their boots are more often work boots that pointy toed boots, but then four wheelers have pretty much replaced horses so pointy toes in stirrups are not necessary. From the planters I saw yesterday, misidentified initially as golfers--LOL, to the huge harrow that up both lanes of our road--I thought the tractor was moving under an overpass before we got close enough to see there was NO overpass and the arching structure was the road wide harrow--plowing, harrowing and plowing are well under way. Bill says the ground will be reaching 50 degrees soon, if not already, and so seeding will be starting within days!!! But I'm ahead of myself. We left the motel in sunny but 39 degree weather and returned to Portales to visit the Blackwater Draw Museum--closed!!! No one seemed to know where Dalley's windmill collection--85 from around the world--was located so we departed on Rte 88, headed for Texas. We came to a sign--Texas 476--on a post --and that was it--no welcome--no good-bye--you are in NM and when you pass that dirt road, you are in Texas. But that dirt road--it led to Guilla Wildlife Refuge---a huge salt bed--an almost dried up saline lake. Bill went a bit mad with the camera and I had fun with the tumbleweeds. As we returned on the dirt road it was fun to realize that the left side was NM in MST and the right side was Tx and CST. A bit confusing for those two farms!!! And the tumbleweeds that were trapped in the fences on both sides made the road even narrower. The real boonies, I'm telling you. We zigged and zagged along Farmroad 476 until it joined Farmroad 214 which ran North-South for many miles. We came to Needmore and I must admit I took a picture of the only structure that supported the name, though I have to admit--there wasn't a great deal there. We then came to Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge which, unlike Guilla,had a visitor's center--though not much of anything but stuffed birds to look at. Basically, a string of three lakes make up the Reserve, the first of which Paul's Lake was the most interesting--adorable prairie dogs to welcome you in a prarie dog town--of course, they are only cute to foreigners like us--they are varmits and loved in the West just abo! ut as much as woodchucks are in the East. Met a Texas couple who, in 64 degree weather were cold and returning to their car despite their winter weight jackets--okay, maybe fall weight--but we were reveling in warmth at last. Apparently, controlled burns are undertaken periodically and it was interesting to see a cactus --tight to the ground--that survived one. I also saw a lady bug who against the blackened stubble looked like a lovely orange gem. Came across a clutch of Buffalo Soldier graves as we moved into Morton, the largest of the tiny communities without restaurants through which we passed. An older, toothless black man was riding down the road in his motorized scooter, headphones on. We pulled alongside and asked if a cafe could be found and he said--sure, there on 1a14 where all the cars are. And sure enough, there it was, a small local cafe, with a St. Patrick's Day tree--I'd seen one at the restaurant in Santa Rosa, also, but it is a new thing for me---an excellent and reasonable food. The waitress grew up here and said that the crossroads of 114 and 214 in Morton is historical but I could not seem to find out why--must be an old crossing of important trails. We then continued through such varied terrain--sand dunes --neither agriculturally developed or oil dredged; cultivated and harrowed fields; a huge feed lot for dairy cows who do not seem to be pastured; fields of beef cattle and finally, at Denver City, the largest oil field I'd ever seen--both sides of the road--oil rigs and the power lines to support them--my pictures don't do it justice--nor can you smell the stench--a gas station with gas spill with an undertone of sulphur--just awful. Laurel-Billings Montana ten times over! And then we came to Seminole--another of the towns which apparently doesn't yet know that it is politically incorrect to have Indians as the name of its sports teams! LOL By this time the temperature had reached 70 degrees!! 214 ended and we picked up a more improved road 235 and so into Odessa---a huge town through which we had to drive to reach our motel. Opted against the suite upstairs in order to have a downstairs room with outside access to the car--that is to say, not requiring us to tote everything through the lobby--needed to totally unload and rearrange the car. Bill was so freaked by the drive through town that we opted to stay in and eat some of our on road provisions. As we pulled into the driveway we realized the temperature was 77!!! Yes, yes,, yes--a la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally!! LOL So, now, once more we are on the same page! Haven't a clue where we are headed tomorrow--but I know this--I ain't rushing! Good night everyone--we are now only one hour earlier than you--we have lost an hour. Sleep well--until tomorrow and wherever the winds blow us next...K and B

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