Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And the Adventure Begins!

The start of a Road Trip is such a dull affair these days. This is because I live pretty much in the middle of Texas, and have to get through the rest of it before I get to any New Territory.

This trip, at least, is exciting for Rick, who's coming with me to Wisconsin, and who has never ever been beyond Junction (except for six weeks in Basic Training on an air base in Amarillo, but he never got off base in that whole time). So we're driving along through the more or less unremarkable landscape between San Antonio and the Oklahoma line, and he found things to look at. It helps to have new things to look at, even if it's all flat, treeless expanse. And we did have a dust storm to liven things up briefly; at one point it was heavy enough to drop visibility almost to zero. But that only lasted a few hundred yards.

We left San Antonio around 8 this morning, after I dropped Homer off at his kennel. Breakfast was in Boerne, at the Bear Moon Cafe on Main Street, which until this stop has always been a favourite of mine. Today, though, I found the coffee too strong and the scones disappointing. The cranberry scone was like eating bread, with a heavy but not crunchy crust; the buttermilk scone was like eating cake. Day-old cake. 
Bear Moon Bakery on Urbanspoon
We loaded an audiobook into the CD player and set off down the freeway. The book is P.D. James' A Taste for Death, one of her Adam Dalgliesh series. I've never read any of her work. It's by far the longest audiobook we got from the library, at 22 hours, but that's not entirely from the languid pace of the action. I find James also has a knack for elegantly simple and concise description. My favourite sentence so far, describing a character's reaction to the discovery of two bodies, was "Blood spattered against the retinas of her closed eyes." Evocative and succinct.

So in Junction we stopped to see the Deer Horn Tree. I didn't expect much of it, but that's about all there is to see in a place like Junction. Sure enough, a tree made out of deer horns. Well, we had to stop anyway, to put the top down.

Pearl of the Conchos and
Celebration Bridge
After that it was on to San Angelo. I'd been to the art museum at San Angelo a few years back, to see a travelling exhibit of paintings from some small but renowned museum in Connecticut. Right behind that museum (and I don't know if it was there at the time) is a park in the floodplain of the Concho River, and in the river, next to the new-looking Celebration Bridge, is a statue of a mermaid holding an oyster, in which is a giant pearl. The statue is called The Pearl of the Conchos. Not great art, but a nice statue in a very nice setting. Nice enough that we had a relaxing picnic lunch of the sandwiches we had brought from home.

Our next stop -- this will show you just how hard it is to find interesting things to see along the routes of western Texas -- was in Big Spring, where we were led to believe exist the world's largest pair of horns. It's only a block out of our way, so I wasn't too terribly disappointed to find that the horns are no longer there. Just an empty pavilion on the grounds of the Heritage Museum. Well, maybe they've moved the horns indoors. I suppose that if I had the world's largest horns, I'd want to protect them from the elements and rival claimants. 

The rest of the trip today, with the exception of the dust storm, was unremarkable. It's now nearly 10pm and we are ensconced in the "party room" of the Stratford Inn, in Stratford, Texas. The "party room" is called that because it has four queen-sized beds in it. I sure hope we aren't woken up in the middle of the night by a small but determined band of  Stratford's hardest-core partiers.

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