West Texas update

Northwest Texas—Hello from the land of pickups and oil wells. We never thought we’d be the owners of a trailer, but here we are at day two of owning one. We are camped side-by-side with Joanne and Seaton in a little pine forest on government land, somewhere northwest of Ft. Worth. It took four hours yesterday morning for the four of us to get through all the pick-up procedures: installation of the hitch, instructions on how to operate all the appliances, and a tour of the plant. While we waited for hitch and electrical installations we had breakfast at a nearby Mexican restaurant: huevos rancheros, homemade salsa and chips, homemade tortillas—all excellent. So good in fact, that we bought extra chips and salsa for our evening hors d’ouevres.

Pat, our waitress, was curious about the Casitas, so we promised to stop on our way out. When we pulled up three hours later she and her mom and another employee all rushed out to tour our little casas. Later in the day Ray and Seaton were grocery shopping and the same thing happened. This time we gave tours to the grocery clerk and bagger. I have a feeling we’ll be doing this often. We do look very cute driving down the road together, pulling our little houses behind us.

We are anxious to get out of Texas, so we continue our travels today, heading across on highway 70. We’re facing headwinds, so it will no doubt be slow going. Why are we anxious to get out of Texas? Well, frankly, there’s not much to see in this part of the state. The landscape is flat or gently rolling; miles and miles of scrub, desert, pickups, and depressed little towns. Everywhere on our drive south, we saw the takeover by corporations of small-town America. Wal-Mart is the obvious offender, but every town of any size has the same big-box stores, varying only slightly from place to place: Office Depot, Borders, Target, Home Depot, etc.

Texas is no exception to the homogenization of America, but it has enough quirks to make you feel like you’re in a different space. For instance, I went into a Wendy’s yesterday morning and ordered a cup of hot tea.

“Hot tea?” said the clerk with a blank expression.

“Yes,” I said.

“We don’t sell that anymore.”

Country music and Christian radio rule the airways in west Texas. This is the land of Bill O’Reilly, Michael Reagan, and Rush Limbaugh. Billboards offer messages from God (signed “me”) and Casita tucked a bible into a cupboard for us, just in case.

On to New Mexico!