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James R. Stout

Day 1 of My 2019 Big Adventure

            I told myself that I wouldn’t do anymore of those 500 mile drive a days. I lied. On my first day of this adventure I left home at 6:26 a.m. The plan was to get to Lubbock and spend the night. I’m writing this from my hotel room in Clovis, New Mexico. Like I said, I lied. I drove over 600 miles today. My legs and feet are very outdone with me right now. Obviously, they’ll have to get over it. I don’t think I’ll be doing this many miles again in one day. I’m not the young whippersnapper that I once was! To be honest, I did well today. No sleepiness while driving other than that short detour into someone’s cornfield on Highway 84. Just kidding.

            So, let me tell you what I saw today on my escape from Texas. That’s really what it is if you live in East Texas and you’re going out west. You have to drive a long long way to get out of Texas. I saw a lot of cattle from home to past Abilene. I saw herds of white cows, black cows, brown cows, gray cows with humpty humps, reddish cows, and some honest to goodness great ole big longhorns. The cowboys 150 years ago who drove those critters from South Texas to Kansas must have been smoking some of that thar loco weed. Those critters are huge and I’m here to tell you they could whup Razorbacks, Bears, Cougars, and a whole regiment of Red Raiders. I enjoyed looking at them – from the other side of a fence in my truck with it in drive and ready for a short game of Dodge Longhorns!

            It’s been a long time since I drove out I-20 into West Texas and I had forgotten about some of the Caprock vistas. They shore are pert. (You’ll have to excuse me but driving through Texas triggered my Texas drawl) There were windmill farms all over the place. The dust was blowing like it was 1933. At first, I thought it was those big windmills. But I was wrong. As I drove through Abilene, I looked at the outside temperature displayed on my dashboard and it said it was 89 degrees. When I left home this morning it was 71 degrees. So, I’m just driving along, and I hang a right at Sweetwater and pick up Highway 84. I was really fighting the steering wheel with all that wind blowing. Before long the blue sky got all cloudy and gray. No rain in those clouds, but something was sure afoot. I looked at the temperature gauge again and it showed 65 degrees. A dadburn cold front had blown through while I wasn’t looking! There was this really big ranch along in there and it covered miles on both sides of Highway 84. That ranch must be doing quite well. Why? Because there were miles of cornfields that yielded to freshly plowed fields that will soon be planted with cotton. They had about 500 of those big windmills that probably helps pay for all their taxes and such. Then there were the oil wells. My goodness they were rather like the cows. Big herds of oil wells a pumping and making money like crazy. There were brown wells, black wells, white wells, yellow wells, orange wells, and I figure the rancher’s wife wanted those pastel green oil wells. It made me feel good though seeing all that land being put to good use. Growing food, providing energy, growing cotton, and a lot of people have jobs.

            I pulled into Clovis about 4:45 Texas time (3:45 New Mexico time) and checked into my room. I wasn’t hungry yet, so I did the next best thing to eating. I took a nap. I went and got something to eat about 6:30 (NM time) and now I’m all clean and ready for bed like a good little old man. I haven’t turned on the TV yet. I may not. I’m enjoying the sound of the trains in the distance. It’s nostalgic. I’ll probably do a little more writing, some planning for tomorrow’s drive, and I’ll try to finish one of my Zane Grey books. I’ll be up early again and on the road by 6:30. I will take it a bit easier tomorrow and make some stops for photography along the way. I plan on keeping this little trip journal for the duration so that you can make the journey with me. I hope you tag along. Y’all have a good night and a good week to come. Until later!

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