The good thing about driving across Texas is that you have plenty of time to think. The roads are as straight as arrows, there is no traffic and there’s nothing to look at. You can steer with one knee, so basically you’re just sitting in a box all day while the scene shifters pack away Carlsbad, New Mexico, and replace it with Junction, Texas.
The other great thing about driving across Texas is… No, wait. Don’t tell me. I had something. It’s… Oh yes, the fact that you have plenty of time to think. Although maybe I already mentioned that.
I’m kidding – there were also some mesas with some really nice rock strata. I sat in a road cutting for a while and read the story from the rocks. I’ll precis it for you.
As far as I could make out, nothing much would happen for two or three thousand years, just the gradual accumulation of wind-blown dust. Then a small creek, which fed a warm inland sea to the East and had until that moment been writhing away invisibly to one side, would suddenly decide to snake across the area, cutting a channel and leaving small mudbanks on its edges. And then nothing would continue to happen for another millennium or two.
At one point there was great excitement, as a local earthquake tilted up the ground surface and caused subsequent seasons’ winds to wear it all down again at a slightly different angle. But then the sea moved in and life got a bit dull. If there were intelligent life-forms around at the time and a great, enlightened and long-lasting civilisation had grown up nearby, then there would have been a small brown smudge in the rocks to commemorate it. I didn’t see any, so that probably didn’t happen.
Oh, I was lucky enough to pass through Loving County this morning. According to a pop-up in Google Earth, the seat of local government there is a village called Mentone, on account of it being the only settlement in the entire county. The population of Mentone is a healthy fifteen, presumably making council meetings a rather boistrous affair.
This was definitely ghost town country. Even the living towns I passed through were obviously moribund. Whatever brought people to this area clearly doesn’t cut it any more. Few modern humans can stray far from the oasis that is Walmart.
And it rained today for the first time on this trip. For almost seven seconds. Flooding is not thought likely.
Today’s sensations: I went on this trip to find myself and I haven’t. But it suddenly occurred to me overnight that it’s because I’ve been looking in the wrong place – part of me is in Wells and the other part is in Saint Francisville.