Texas Or Bust!
It was April 2, 2010, and our long awaited spring break had finally arrived. We’d worked all day at our respective schools and finished packing the trailer…it was 5:15 pm…time to hit the road for Green River, Utah! But what is the first rule of travel? You guessed it…our first stop…McDonald’s!
In my years of traveling, first with young children and now as an adult, convenient stops along the way to any given destination, especially trips along Highway 6 and I-70, have become traditional stops these days. The once new Walker’s gas station in Wellington, Utah, (a regular stop) has aged over the years—new tile now worn and cracked with dirt filled grout, bathroom stall doors hang off kilter, and names and dates of passers by are etched into painted metal cubicles. But, we continue to stop there, pulling our “little guy” trailer into the rocky rutted lot and we park it along side of “big rigs.” Traditional waypoints don’t exist much beyond Moab, Utah and Edwards, Colorado. Stops are then determined by how much Diet Coke we’ve had to drink or by the number of hours we’ve been on the road and how tired we are.
It was a short trip down the highway to Green River, Utah. Having left town a bit late with a stop at McDonald’s and Walker’s in Wellington, we arrived after 9:00 pm. There was a faint hint of orange light along the horizon as we pulled into the KOA, but not enough light to navigate the quiet and almost empty campground.
Communication between two people, at it’s best, isn’t always effective. Add a full day’s work, a long drive, a rapidly darkening sky, two tired individuals, and any conversation is ripe for argument. Somehow, in the twilight, we weren’t able to maneuver the trailer into the pull-through site, twice, without running over the drain cover on one side and what I’ll loosely call grass on the other. Unkind words were not spoken, but one could find frustration written all over our faces.
A trip like this, when you have to be from point A to point B in a limited amount of time, doesn’t lend itself to frequent stops along the way to take pictures. Since taking up photography as a hobby or maybe an obsession, my eye automatically looks for opportunities to capture the perfect image. And even when you are racing down the road at 70 miles an hour on a sunny day without a destination in mind, by the time you realize you’ve seen something unique, you’ve gone way past it and yelling “stop” can be annoying…so I seldom do it! On day two of our journey, I passed up three noteworthy scenes along our way. The first was an old car depository (junk yard). The reason it stands out in my mind is it seemed all the cars were of a similar make from a similar time period and were spaced erratically on a grassy field behind a wooden-post fence. Morning light brought out the vibrancy of color and rust—I can still see it in my minds eye. As we drove further down the road and still in morning light, the land undulated and rich brown soil, the color of cocoa powder, was plowed in even rows. In the middle of one of these fields, an absolutely square parcel of land, just big enough to contain the remains of a collapsed farmhouse, was left undisturbed. The graying splintered wood of the weather beaten home was a striking contrast to the vibrant green patch it was sitting on. Evidence of a bygone era, though decayed, was left alone and remarkably beautiful. And finally, late in the day, sun setting in the west, we came upon Cuervo, New Mexico. The sun was low enough in the sky that it’s rays of light were orange-gold and created long shadows in this brick and clay village. I could tell, traveling at freeway speeds, that most of the buildings were unoccupied and were the color brown sugar. I’ve since learned it is a ghost town and of course, I would love to go back!