From Clyde, TX to Lakewood, NM

During our night in Clyde, TX, the wind blew boisterously, shaking our ePod, and rattling our vents and the braces of our rolled-up awning. The roar of passing trucks joined the rattling, and a distant train lent a lonesome whistle to the Texas nocturne. This morning, it was still going strong when we left. An hour later, we stopped for diesel and Bruce pumped fuel in an absolute gale. Trees permanently leaned away from the southwest wind, and I wondered how leaves in such desperate motion could even work their photosynthesis. An hour later, we saw the wind being put to good use. Hundreds of huge windmills gracefully turned in the sunlight, like a distant city, empty of everything but its white, vertical lines.

Miles and miles, acres and acres of flat-as-an-ocean land stretched to the horizon: all soil and oil. Cattle graze on some. Once in a rare while a circular irrigation rig spanning green expanses or a harvested cotton field breaks the monotony. The tilled fields and grazing land host occasional concrete patches bearing oil rigs, which stoop ponderously like odd, flightless birds, sipping up the essence of other, long-extinct creatures which have festered into ‘black gold’ beneath the weight of this land.

Smears of wind-driven red dust climb up to the sky above the dry, harrowed fields sometimes making driving difficult. More and more, the wind carries the stink of oil. Aside from these things, there’s a whole lot of nothing around here but scrub and parched grassland.

Along highway 176 to the town of Andrews, at least a dozen 3’x5’signs announce churches: flavors of Baptist, mostly. Andrews is a minimal reward for the distance spent getting there. A town swimming pool, a senior center, schools, and strings of squat little boarded-up businesses are about all that the main drag offers.

At last, out of Texas, our first sight of New Mexico is a landfill mesa. Signs along the road caution against littering, but the wind can’t read, and wraiths of plastic bags whip frantically from the low scrubs and barbed-wire fences that line the highway. Slowly, the flat earth begins to contour into actual topography, as the cap rock of higher ground forms mesas and crests. The town of Hobbs is a pipe and rig town with lots of large metal warehouses providing whatever is needed out in the oil fields. It also has a country club, though the links are desiccated by the winds

Suddenly we were in Carlsbad which exhibited more ‘civilization’, a Denny’s, Walgreens, General Dollar, and a Wal-mart. A few sports cars made me ask Bruce if there is a college, and there is. We’ll explore the area and visit the caverns tomorrow.

Tonight, just past milepost 55, we turned onto one of the many dusty roads to nowhere and arrived at the Lakeland Escapees RV Park. We’ve been on the road for two months today, but it feels like we’ve packed in far more than sixty days could possibly hold.

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One Comment on “From Clyde, TX to Lakewood, NM”

  1. Diane Gallo Says:

    It wasn’t till I drove through this part of the world that I truly understood what the word ‘nothing’ meant. I always thought I knew nothing but when I drove through that I knew I had met true nothing. I thought, this is nothing in an air conditioned car on cruise control. What must it have been like on horseback? Slower nothing. Really, if you had a sorrow, by the time you got to town to drown it, you would have forgotten what it was. That is, if you could find town. If you were a woman, you must’ve died quick. A little geranium on the widowsill would be a wisp of smoke in a few minutes. Damn. Talk about being a product of your environment. The strong silent types. Ooh.

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