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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Just Moseying Along

Here we are in Amarillo, staying for a second night. I'm not sure if it is our ages or the fact that we've taken this trip so many years now but for some reason we are taking it much easier than usual. I suspect it is a combination of both--we tire more easily but also having been here before we have a better idea of how close or far, which is more like it out here, things are and so we are better able to determine where we'll be by evening and also how long it will take to go somewhere we plan on visiting. Though I always felt the trip to be relaxing, this is even more so. And we are more willing to stop to see something before we actually hit the Southwest. Yesterday was one of those perfect days--blue skies, clear as a bell, mild upper 60 temps, a light breeze and open empty roads. Since there is a good distance between Abilene and Amarillo, I asked Bill if he thought it was a good idea to combine secondary roads until about 50 miles outside Amarillo, at which time I'd switch to Farm Roads. I have to repeat what I said the first time we used FRs --they are better than many so called primary roads in the North East and they beat the hell out of Louisiana roads of all kinds! Since 83 was right outside the motel we began by heading north on it til we shook the dust of Abilene off Doug's tires. After the two beautiful buildings in Anson we left fancy behind for many miles. Hamlin had a cotton gin, Spur, a big arrow and big spur set in a park. We had stopped at a little picnic area right near one of the forks of the Brazos and looking up into the dying tree it was interesting to see that a prickly pear cactus or two and lots of balls of mistletoe were making use of it. I stood right beneath that beautiful perfect cluster but my beau didn't kiss me--but then, I didn't grab him either nor did I point it out to Mr Oblivious--he never sees anything as we drive. Oh, well, I always have pix--lol--should he want to know what he missed! Both Jayson and Spur have beautiful wrought iron welcome signs, however, you have to come into town from the north--there aren't any welcomes coming from the south as we were. North of Spur, just south of Glenn we turned onto FR 193 which runs east-west, sort of--it makes turns of almost 190 degrees, I swear--it is a true snake of a road. It was amazing to see that much of it runs through a huge wind farm. The pinwheels dwarf the power lines, even the high power lines, as well as the ranch buildings scattered across the huge cotton fields. The ranchers are out in force--one huge machine was headed toward us and more than straddled the two lanes. He had to pull over to let us and the guy going the other way pass him and each other. As we continued west, the land was scattered with pieces of wind turbines waiting to be assembled--they looked like erector sets for giants and the nose cones looked like the little huts we use for calves back home. I suspect the next time we return this entire back roads area will be abloom with the graceful pinwheels. I wonder what the financial arrangement is made with the cotton farmer? Shortly, past Cone we turned onto FR 378 which runs north/south. I love the fact that the towns are basically a crossroad and that the reduced speed signs approaching it go from 75mph to 65 mph and at the last minute to 50 mph. There is nothing to be seen for miles and miles and roads as straight as a die for the most part. Bill, of course, had no problem whizzing along at 75--don't need to worry about lost time on back roads for sure. Shortly after passing through Lockney the field of horses was covered with a huge flock of whooping cranes. They must have started north from NM already. They were quite a raucous bunch but the horses seemed totally indifferent. Passing out of Floyd County into Briscoe County there were THREE beer/wine stores with rather large signs. I figure Floyd must be dry--Bill says not necessarily. I can't imagine why else these would be declarative about their wares. At the intersection of 378 and Tx 207 there was a Café that went out of business and moved to Silverton--big huge sign about drinks but little about the food it must have offered. We decided to take 207 to Amarillo and almost instantly the topography of open fields with huge rolls of hay changed into mesas and red rocks and mini-canyons with green vegetation creating a Christmasy effect. What an abrupt change topped by a quick left turn into Lk Mackenzie which I only saw fleetingly over my left shoulder. It looked like a turquoise pool amid the red canyon walls--stunning. That, however, was just a prelude to the even more magnificent expanse of Palo Dura Canyon which was soon laid before us. It is called the Grand Canyon of Texas and while smaller it is every bit as beautiful. Unexpected, it was even more stunning. With that we arrived at Conway and I 40. Crazy navigation system kept wanting us to get off and follow the frontage road for almost 15 miles to our motel. Just crazy. The exit ramp almost runs into the motel entrance ! Since all the restaurants that aren't fast food are on I40 West we ordered in pizza. Although not very late, it had been a long day so no blog. Decided we would go to The American Quarter Horse Museum today and head into New Mexico. But, Bill is feeling a cold coming on and we both were moving slowly this morning. Then my sister called to thank me for her earrings and tell us about the weather. Betsy also called. Seems it snowed and then freezing rain covered everything with about an inch of ice. Betsy said Attila slid down the hill off the porch chasing bird seed she'd sent bounding off the ice cap. He wound up in a heap, but she said he got up and acted as though it were all part of his master plan. LOL I must tell you about Barb's earrings. I'd bought them the Feb 7 and asked that they mail them on Monday the 10th. Barb told me around the 15 that she still didn't have her gift. Contacted Grandmother's Buttons to ask if they'd been delayed or if there was a tracking number. They were so apologetic, the earrings had been misplaced. They said they'd airmail next day delivery and include a small gift for Barb. Well, Barb told me they did just what they said--airmailed UPS and sent her a lovely pair of topaz earrings as a gift. I just cannot believe the number of ways this company is one of my favorites. The attention and service and quality and reasonable prices and wearability. Why can't more businesses be like this? Anyway, getting back to this morning, we didn't get on our way til 1030 so we decided to stay another night. Went down to the museum , which is really doors away. It is a beautiful place with beautiful sculptures but it is also a Hall of Fame and just overwhelming with history, trophies, buckles ect, etc. Too much. There was a nice exhibit on women involved through the years with Qhorses. But one thing came out loud and clear--this is another one of those enterprises of the rich. A daughter of the Tabasco McIlhenny family bought her college grad son a new polo pony, fell in love with it, so started collecting the horses on Avery Island, breeding them etc, etc. Uh,huh. BUT, the horse itself is a wonder--just gorgeous--used for racing, roping, cutting, barrel racing, and cowboy movies. The stop on a dime, turn on a dime and almost come to their knees when turning--a joy to watch. The museum was overwhelming as so many are but it was worth the visit. Tomorrow, we head leisurely into New Mexico with the night spent in Santa Rosa. Not sure which direction from there. Will fill you in, tomorrow night. Until then, time to reorganize my map bag and read some more James Lee Burke. Later, the Valley Vagabonds KandB

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