Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yup, It's Still Texas

I still had a fair amount of Texas to cover. This is a very lightly populated part of the state; I've driven through when there was hardly another car on the road. You get to a point where literally the only station you can pick up on the radio is one thready AM station with a preacher on it.

The geology is laid bare; not much foliage is there to cover it. You see cinder cones, crumpled layers of sediment in roadside cuts, wide alluvial plains, river-cut clefts. Every time you come up over a rise, you see a new landscape, with its own geology and its own cloud patterns to match. I won't even go into the variation in insects from valley to valley; you'll just have to check out the splatter shapes on the windshield as I go from place to place.

Out of nowhere, suddenly a stream of bikers, on a ride somewhere. Almost as soon as they came, they were gone. I'd estimate about 100 bikes. I was put in mind of friends back in California who go on rides like this.

Everything really is bigger in Texas, or at least the landscapes are.

The mountains here are actually in Mexico. It's that close to the road as you come up toward El Paso. The Rio Grande must be right up at the base of the mountains. The Border Patrol keeps a visible presence on the highway, and there are a couple of checkpoints for vehicles leaving the El Paso neighborhood.

Again, these mountains are in Mexico. Ciudad Juarez is just across the river from El Paso, which is in the foreground. See the words written up on the hill beyond one of the foreground buildings? I believe they say, in Spanish, "The Bible is freedom--read it!"

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