The Long Road

11 Oct

I just returned from visiting my mother for her birthday. She is an incredible 87!
I drove from my home near Denver, Colorado to her home in west Texas. It is about 12 hours to drive. In my book that is an easy 1 day drive. My neighbor thinks I am nuts to drive. But I find I need my car (mainly to haul food everyone in my household wants and isn’t available north of the Red River) and quite frankly I enjoy the drive.
My neighbor grew up in Greenwich Connecticut. A 12 hour drive meant she was stuck in really bad traffic or she had crossed through multiple states.
More than half of the 740 miles is through Texas. The rest is a straight shot down south of Denver and through a corner of New Mexico. Often I travel miles and miles without another car in sight. In a world that often seems so fast and full of people and cars, the drive provides a moment (12 hours of them) to just breathe.
I do travel prepared. I have satellite radio in my car as well as CDs and an IPOD with playlists designed by my daughter. I have no idea what is on there and it is always fun to hear what is in the mix. I am not a singer – but in my car I think I am.
In New Mexico I drive through an area full of dormant volcanoes. It is a high plain with cones rising up. Antelope dot the land, especially near any ponds. There are towns I drive through and I wonder why they still exist. There isn’t an open store or restaurant. There is generally a post office and a couple of homes that have fallen down and a few still standing.
In Texas I pass through towns selling large farm implements and occasionally a large tractor driving down the highway. Fields of cotton look like snow from far away this time of year. As the evening arrives the wildlife comes out. I saw lots of white tail deer. An armadillo scurried across the highway, a feral hog was trotting in my lane and lots of skunks this time of year. There are definitely more animals on the drive than cars.
In 12 hours I contemplate the lives that came decades before me. When I see a cute farm house with the corner of the porch falling down and tumbleweeds decorating the roof and front door, I wonder who built the home and lived there. Why did they abandon the home? Oil rigs are everywhere. Perhaps they have built a much larger finer home not looking over the highway.
In Texas I pass miles and miles of wind farms. I can see them from far away (not exactly anything to obstruct a view) I find their size amazing. I love seeing the landscape change. And, when I hit areas of nothingness I ponder the ranchers and farmers who claimed this rough land. My dad was a geologist and would constantly tell us stories of the land. I remember those stories.
I am back home in Colorado. I am due to drive out to Los Angeles next week. Not sure I love driving that much! Clearly I was a long haul trucker in a former life.

West Texas Traffic Jam

Varmint Calling?


One Response to “The Long Road”

  1. notquiteold October 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    I’m not much for driving (and I’m in Connecticut by the way) – but sometimes I like the contemplation.

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