Checking in from Denver City, Texas …
“I’m a Thousand Miles from Nowhere” is a song by one of my favorite country singers, Dwight Yoakum. I thought it appropriate for this blog as we are in some pretty remote territory, and we happen to be in Yoakum County, Texas. On the other hand, it may not be appropriate since I believe (and hope) that I am a thousand miles from the Santa Monica Pier. And we couldn’t be a thousand miles from nowhere—we are either smack dab in the middle of nowhere or we can surely see it from here.
This land on the very western edge of the Texas Panhandle is sparsely populated and is a mixture of large farms, small ranches and areas being returned to a native state of buffalo grass and mesquite. We’ve been told that the Federal government is actually paying the landowners to let the land go natural in order to lessen the dust and sand storms which are so common to the area. Just in the last two days from Lubbock, through Brownfield and on toward Plains, Texas, Brenda and I have experienced two such storms where the sky turns gold to brown, visibility drops and every surface (including skin, hair, eyes and teeth) gets coated with a gritty powder. The sand/dust storms start in the late afternoon or early evening when the winds kick up and are generally followed by some very serious thunderstorms. Thunder, lightning, high winds, torrential rain and hail appear to be the norm as the evenings cool from the hot afternoons. We’ve experienced several such storms from Dallas west. Sitting or trying to sleep inside a motor home with a fiberglass roof during one of these storms is like being inside a drum, a drum that is rocking on its chassis. Everything in Texas is big including the weather.
My walk on Saturday ended short of Plains, “Home to Cowboys and Cowgirls,” right at the edge of new oil fields. There is a strong, not to pleasant, smell of something like diesel fuel in the air. Must be what the locals refer to simply as “crude.” Another sand/dust storm was coming at me at the end of the walk. It was also pushing along a tumbleweed—the first but probably not last that I’ll encounter on the rest of my journey. Weather permitting, Sunday should be the last day in Texas with less than 25 miles remaining before we cross into New Mexico. Tatum is the next stop on the list as I walk down Highway 380 toward Area 51 and Roswell. I’ll be on the lookout for little green men.