Friday, December 23, 2011

Dr. Suess Must Have Liked Yucca

Well, here I am... finally in bed. Actually, I've already been in bed once tonight, when I happened to check the weather because it seemed extra-nasty outside the tent. That's when I found the snow would be in Big Bend country sooner than we expected. We've driven 12 hours today... gone 700 miles, and I've learned at least 3 things about myself:
  1. I apparently enjoy the snooze button more than I enjoy setting up my tent in daylight, I wanted to leave the house at 7 this morning, and was finally on the road at 11. It is my vacation, after all, I decide which is more important, sleep or light.
  2. I need to pay attention to small town speed traps, because the local police are unsympathetic to people traveling through their city at the speed of light because they missed a sign. I deserve the ticket. I'm pretty sure the nosering hurt my chances of getting out of that one, though... I should keep my hipster costume toned down when traveling backroads.
  3. I can now add working to the list of things I'm incapable doing of while carsick (along with sleeping and talking). We had a fierce crosswind all day and I've been desperately trying not to throw up while the SUV pitched and rolled. I have to drive not to be sick, but I also have to get some work done so I can party in the desert for two weeks... made for a long day, including a particularly comical vignette of me setting my laptop up on the air mattress in my tent in the middle of nowhere so I could finish an assignment.
The day wasn't all lateness and stomachache, I had to stifle giggles all afternoon as we traversed central and west Texas because it was so idyllic and rugged. There are literally tumbleweeds out there, folks. At one point we turned out onto a sweeping vista of arid land and at least a mile away coming out of the horizon, rose a roostertail of dust behind a work truck, juxtaposed against a pumpjack... like a postcard, or a photo in this Texas-themed restaurant I used to work in. I was driving most of the daylight hours, but I captured these images in my mind. It's hard for me to see the same Texas that tourists see since I've been here a long time, and this was it. I do have a hard time leaving the city behind though... at one point, I came around a bend and saw some tarps draped diagonally over the top of cylindrical hay bales, and I've spent so much time walking the urban landscape this year that my first thought was OCCUPY CAMP! wait, we're in west Texas, those aren't the standard blue tents that the occupy guys have, no port-o-potties, just hay...  

We swapped out drivers just in time for me to direct a sunset. I snapped away as it posed for me, lingering just above the horizon before setting the sky on fire as it bowed out.

It was as if I was the only person watching the sun set for 200 miles around. In fact, on one stretch of my drive, high in the mountains - Bart slept, and I saw more deer for an hour than people or cars.

The coolest thing I saw all day made me feel a little closer to a personal hero of mine, Theodor Geisel - Dr. Seuss. I've always wondered how he found inspiration to draw his fantastic characters and shapes, and what landscape he drew from to create his magical weird worlds like whoville. I was driving along tonight in the fog, a few snow flurries whizzing by, and out of the corner of my eye saw something that looked like an alpaca. I had two really close calls with deer earlier in the evening, so my peripheral vision was hypersensitive, but then I saw another one... this time it looked like the mama kangaroo from Horton Hears a Who! I started peering past the fog on the sides of the road and a ton of new characters showed up, one that looked like the dodo bird that fired eggs at you in Super Mario Brothers 2, short fat ones that looked like Suess' Sneetches... Tell me this landscape doesn't look like a drawing from the good Dr...? David Bullock's eecue photoessay I mean, the west is a really strange looking place if you're looking with the right kind of eyes... like Dr. Seuss has a petting zoo of his characters on the side of I-10 near the border. Made me feel closer to him.

Still waiting on the weather to decide our next move, we may move on into Arizona tomorrow if the snow sticks around. I can tell you this, though... ask the universe to make you feel small, and she will absolutely do so, no only have I seen a vast and diverse land today, but I've been reminded by a lot of authorities that I am small, including the law, the weather, my ego and plans... even a small-town liquor store clerk who made our day with this quote:

"Yeah, we used to carry Monopolova vodka, but only one guy in town drunk it... and he died, so we stopped carrying it. We have Svedka..."

and the snow still falls...

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