Out to West Texas

Well, as I was packing up the car to leave San Antonio I found my old, cracked phone. It had slid down into the compartment under the storage in the boot where I keep River’s seven weeks worth of food portioned out in day-sized servings. When I grabbed today’s food, I saw the phone.

Which is a relief, as it turns out, because my new phone and my dinosaur computer (2008, remember that?) cannot communicate. I have to send to Apple for a DVD of the Snow Leopard operating system so that I can upgrade to Lion. Then, I can upgrade to the latest version of iTunes which will finally make my computer say, “oh hey, you got a new phone!”

For now, I'm bummed because I'm taking some cool video of our trip, but aside from posting the raw footage on facebook, I have no way of sharing them. I need to figure out a way to edit the clips together into movies to share on the blog. Until then, please enjoy these random still pictures.

It was a warm morning when we took off for Fort Stockton.

We stopped at a rest area along the way and played chase and practiced the COME command. I’d wander away from him and wait until we were far apart and we was interested in something and then I’d yell, “River, come!”  The first time, he didn’t respond much, so I tugged the leash, (which is no small effort with a 50 foot leash) and he got the idea and came running. Then the second time, I said, “River, come!” and he hesitated, so I said “No, COME!” and then he started slowly toward me. As soon as he was walking toward me, I shouted “GOOD COME!” and then he couldn’t get to me fast enough. At a later attempt, he was sniffing something and I shouted “River, Come!” and he paused and looked at me for a second and then sprinted to me. I ended the game on that good note.

The rest area we played in was just a few miles from Kerrville.
It was actually kind of a pretty drive, considering nothing was out there. I mean, nothing. Not even Starbucks! It was starting to resemble the mountain regions of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and the like. Although on a much smaller scale. It seemed as if the mountain in those regions were tapering off into west Texas. And at the same time, it has a real desert feel, too.

I made a beeline for the motel, with rest stops as needed, because I wanted time to rest and eat maybe shower before getting back in the car for another trip that would be another 90 minutes each way. I wanted to visit Marfa, Texas.

Three different people suggested I go see it, so I felt like it was a must-do. One person even labeled it as “The reason for west Texas’ existence”. It was supposed to be a liberal, artisan community plopped in the middle of the vapid Texas desert. And at night, there were the legendary Mystery Lights of Marfa. 

So after resting sufficiently, I tried to time it so that we were pulling into Marfa just as the sun was setting, because the lights can only be seen at night. I was looking forward to stopping at this dog-friendly pub and restaurant, but was bummed to learn that it was closed on Tuesdays. And, in fact, finding anything in Marfa that was open after mid afternoon was quite challenging. I guess no one there eats after 3pm.

The drive was actually quite picturesque despite the annoyance of driving right into the setting sun with a grisly bug graveyard on my windshield. And I timed it almost perfectly, although I could have left half an hour earlier, too. 

Anyway, I got to the spot where the city had built for ideal viewing of the lights phenomenon. And it was dark. So dark. I cant’ remember when I’d been surrounded by so much dark. The stars in the sky and the crescent moon seemed brilliant by comparison. I could see so clearly into the sky and could see so many stars that I got to see the milky way effect.

And then I stood at the viewing area and looked... and waited. River didnt’ know what I was doing and he got impatient for a bit, but then he settled down when he realized that I was just going to continue to stand there and look.

Someone was there taking pictures.

I saw some lights. But I thought they looked like headlights from a highway in the distance. It made me wonder if there was a highway off in the distance that maybe faced the viewing area and as cars came over the hills... I don’t know. I never saw any red lights. And the lights seemed to just hover in one place, not move around.  And they would appear and then disappear, or sometimes linger around for a long time. So, I was mystified.

On the way back, I passed Presidio, a town that calls itself the oldest city in the USA. There was a brown Historical Marker sign on the road just outside of town which often inspires me to stop. I just googled it, though, and it’s a lie. It’s not even the oldest town in Texas. Why would you lie, Presidio?

The nation’s oldest city is St. Augustine, Florida, founded 1565. There aren’t any Texas cities even in the top 15 oldest. Texas’ oldest city is Nacogdoches, founded 1779. Presidio is listed as being founded in 1875. So that was a pretty lame historical marker.

 It was a long day. As soon as we got back to the room, River staked out a prime spot on the bed.


Anonymous said…
Sounds like things are going well for you two.
When do you get to Palm Springs?
To me that is one super place.
We'll be going to Twentynine Palms, which is about an hour from Palm Springs, but that's as close as we'll get this time around.

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