Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 57/60: Dallas to Amarillo

Thanks to rolling back the clock to Standard time, we got under way by 8:45. Sky was clear; there was a one-jacket chill. Traffic was light on Sunday morning. We were dumbfounded by the amount of highway or railway construction going on around the already complex freeway system. Dan says the freeway designers in Texas aren't as smart as those in California and the drivers are more aggressive. It took ages to get through Greater Dallas.

When we finally got out of town we were in cattle country. We saw cattle intermittently all day long, some in depressingly dry pasture. They were lowing, "I wanna go to California." In between was cotton, some of that was depressingly sparse. It looked like they were doing dry-land cotton farming, meaning low yield but vast acreage. The other major economic feature was railroads; all day coal trains passing oil tanker trains.

There were nice trees and low hills part of the way, but as you head west, Texas gets flatter and drier. You may have been to Kansas, but you ain't seen flat till you've been to Texas; not a rise for miles in some areas.

The only break we took was a slight detour to the town of Quanah, which raised a lot of questions. Quanah Parker was the last Comanche chief and was undefeated in war with the whites. But he came to see that white civilization was going to win out in the long run, and he adapted, learning to play a role in the white community. I'm assuming he must have lived in that town some time. The reason we took an interest is that rumor has it that my family is connected by marriage with his. I'm curious about this, but not enough to get into genealogical research. We took a photo of the monument to Quanah Parker in front of the court house. The town of Quanah appeared to be virtually a ghost town; it was Sunday afternoon in very churchy country, so it's hard to be sure if all those businesses were really closed.

For me the day was about a rattle. All day long there was a persistent rattle, no matter how I shifted things around or stuffed towels between them. Around 3:00 I realized the suitcases were packed on end so that they rocked against each other and the wall of the car. When I stopped the rattle, it was so wonderful, like not banging your head against the wall any more.

We got into Amarillo about 4:15. Pleasant temperature; low 70s.

We had a pleasant visit with my cousin and her daughter. My cousin has a wonderful house and an attentive daughter living nearby, and her other children are not far away.

Then we had dinner at Taco Joe's, across the parking lot from our hotel. No Mexicans even remotely involved. Dan was happy with his meal. I didn't have any appetite. I tasted his dish; it seemed corporate and overly spicy to me.

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