Oil, Cattle, Windmills and Ghost Towns

Trip Start Jan 08, 2008
Trip End Apr 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, January 12, 2008

- Nothing but blue skies as far as one can see!!! - almost.  For the most part we drove through dryland farming areas interspersed by 'bad lands'.  Cattle amongst oil wells, windmills surrounded by cotton fields, few buildings and many, many rural villages or towns vacated.  Modern communication and travel, and intensive and specialized agricultural practices have further depleted the rural populations.  We said many times that we weren't sure that we could ever live in an area that is so sparsely populated.  I now fully understand why several of the fibre artists I have studied with this past year think we are so fortunate to have such a variety of local fabric and supply resources close at hand.  I remember one in particular commenting that if she miscalculates or forgets to obtain an item for a project it may be a 100 mile drive to rectify the situation.

Yesterday and this morning have been delightful.  Many times we would be driving along a two lane paved highway and not have another car in sight.  Most vehicles that we saw were farm trucks, occasionally a crude oil or gas tanker. 

When we crossed from the OK to the TX  side of the border the landscape changed.  The border seemed to have been drawn through the 'badlands'.  OK was rolling for the most part but the part of  Texas that we saw is extremely flat and dry.  The soil is frequently red in colour, but at other times sandy and very light in texture.

We saw our first wind farms in the vicinity of Amarillo TX and in the same area saw mamoth irrigation systems.  The windmills are set up in the middle of vast cotton fields and seem to co-exist quite successfully.

Lunch was at the Cattle Exchange in Canadian TX.  Located in an old hotel, the restaurant successfully creates a sense of being in cattle country.  However most of the trucks outside had indications of connections with oil companies!

We were back on the Interstate 40 after lunch and I couldn't believe how much more stressful the drive became.  Once again we were surrounded by large trucks, all effectively driven, but large.  One scary moment occurred when a truck, just a short distance ahead of us, blew a tire and we had to dodge a large tire on the roadway.  We paralleled a railway for most of the day and in TX the trains were frequent and large.  All were carrying long loads of containers or piggyback trucks.

We stopped in Santa Rosa NM tonight.  The weather has become quite cold but promises to be clear for the next few days.
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