So they won’t really rip the shirts off your backs in Oklahoma, but you can’t grow cotton there without a permit or a Bollweevil trap. What are Bollweevils? Apparently they are bugs that are partial to eating the flowers off the cotton plants and devastating cotton and other crops in the process, but that wouldn’t have been my first guess. When our hostess, a master gardener herself, told us that I envisioned a Bollweevil was some type of mean-faced weasel. Can’t you picture it?
I woke up this morning itching and watering with hives on the backs of my knees and my eyes almost glued shut—cat allergies. So we took an unplanned tour of Yukon, Oklahoma, the proud home of Garth Brooks, in desperate search for some Benedryl, and which also resulted in a late start to the day—6:45 am.
Cruise-control vision: when you use the cruise control so long you have the odd sensation you’re either on auto-pilot or that the car is standing still but the landscape is still moving.
Road Sign Repeat Syndrome: annoyingly reading out loud every other passing road sign
Numb Butt: No description necessary
The green and gold of Oklahoma gave way to the red soil of Texas, which then dried out and became brushy and coarse. Some of the trees that punched green spots into the brown grassy country were bent over backward so harshly it looked like they were caught in a violent, yet undetectable windstorm. I am still trying to hone my in-motion photography skills, but even so, pictures can never really capture the beauty of the real thing. I like to sketch when the camera fails me (see road sketches below).
In the town of Cuervo, Texas we drove by a collection of shanties built into a hill. They were falling to ruin, forgotten. An adobe church crowned the center of the hill, and Dad said he could just picture the set of an old western where a group of cowboys ride into town exactly like Cuervo. A bunch of Mexicans and fakey Indians in sombreros would stare from the shade of their porches, spitting a wad of tobacco and leaning back in splintering chairs.
Points of Interest
Wild antelope herds in Texas (I’ll admit I thought these were extinct)
Jesus Christ is Lord billboard shared with a big cheeseburger
Water tower balancing on two legs
Roman Nose National Park
A thousand black birds on one telephone wire in Oklahoma City
New Mexico has been my favorite with its mesas— big beautiful red rock tables reaching out of the ground. It’s been so lovely weather wise, with clear skies and white clouds that cast purple-grey shadows on the red and yellow earth. That, and I really like their license plates.
We stopped at a rest area near Albuquerque that sold silver and turquoise, t-shirts with Kokopelli playing his flute, and in case your Western-style home was lacking real décor, you could buy a full-sized, stuffed bison and it would only cost you $20,000. Like buying a car except it won’t take you anywhere.
After buying some postcards and an ice cream we made our final glute and hamstring stretches and reluctantly got back into the car. We attempted to make it to Gallup, New Mexico, but after 13 hours we parked it in Albuquerque and have called it a night.
Grand Canyon tomorrow.