Have you ever had the urge to get behind the steering wheel of your car and drive...and drive...and drive? And then, fill up the gas tank and drive...and drive...and drive some more? Do you have a special affinity for the steering wheel? Don't want to let go of it once you become attached? Do you have a desire to finish the latest James Lee Burke novel in just one setting? Well, I have the plan for you! Take a trip to Big Bend. It's a fact, folks. There are miles and miles of not a lot between wherever you are and Big Bend National Park. Not to worry if you get caught up in that novel and you are afraid you are going to miss something, take me at my word. You won't! There are things to see between here and there, but whatever you see you are going to see again and again and again. You will see the same oil wells slowly pumping up and down, you will see the same telephone poles for miles on end. Occasionally you will go through a small, dusty, nearly deserted community. There may be a place to stop and get something to drink. If you go in the springtime (recommended) you will probably see cacti blooming. That can really be beautiful. You might see a road runner flit across the road in front of you. Oh, look..that big black spot in the road...it's a tarantula! But mostly, if you are driving, you will see mirages in the long stretches of highway that unravel in front of you while you are listening to all of those Willie and Waylon and the Boys CD's you have loaded onto your CD player. If you are in the passenger seat, you are intrigued by the smells and sounds and sights of New Iberia, Louisiana that James Lee Burke is bringing to life in his latest novel. The mystery will be solved by the time you reach your destination! It's not a bad way to travel, it's just a long way away, and the beauty that awaits you at the end of your journey makes it all worthwhile...that is until you start back. There is no more beautiful scenery on the way back than there was on the way out! Now, don't get me wrong. There is a great beauty in all this nothingness that you will never find in the Colorado Rockies or along the rocky coast of Maine. Besides, where would the rattlesnakes and horned toads live if not for this vast and barren land?
I know that all of you fellow Texans understand how long it takes to get to many places in Texas. Those of you from other parts of this great country (like the Northeast) may have trouble understanding the fact that you can drive across several states where you live during the time it takes to get to just one place in Texas. You might not even know who Willie and Waylon and the boys are. My, my, my...you do need to get acquainted with them if you are going to travel Texas. They will give you the best you can find (except for George Straight) in good old Texas Country Music. Every one of them a born and bred Texas boy... good people to keep you company on your long, long drive to Big Bend.
I found this beautiful "dalmation" horse to be the favorite thing that I saw on our long journey to Big Bend. He was just standing there by the fence in one of those small, dusty little towns wanting nothing more than for someone to show him a little love. Does he not have a sad, beautiful face? Look at those eyes! Oh, my! He needs a friend.
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