Monday, June 2, 2014

A Northern Girl's Observations and thoughts on her first visit to the Lone Star State of Texas

May 26th and 27th-Pittsburgh, PA to Mount Pleasant, TX

I could dedicate an entire blog to road trips on its own (Texas bound or otherwise). This road trip down had an estimate of 18hours drive time. We were on a tight time frame, however, if possible I would leave some serious buffer time for spontaneity and side trips. We drove through Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, Little Rock, and a sign for Maker's Mark distillery. If this route would be retraced, This cities (and distillery)would be worth investigating.

Since our goal was to make some tracks the essentials packed were:

        1.        GOOD MUSIC. be it classic favorites or new and trending... essential for long driving shifts.

        2.power cords and plug in capability. cell phones, GPS, music. all involving a power source.

        3.        stretchy comfy clothes. when at the steering wheel-one must be able to sit and wiggle comfortably. perhaps even bust a move on a whim too. strategy is needed. one cannot feel badly about their self image with hours of the road for sympathy.

        3.a) layers. esp when you leave PA and are headed south where it is sunny and warm and everything is air conditioned.         

        4.        snacks. something salty. something sweet. and Milano cookies too! (as my mother and her friend supplied themselves on journeys taken...a wise tradition).         

When we crossed the state line into Texas, J pointed out to me how sunny it was. I laughed it off at first, but after twisting myself around in my seat, it was true! There was literally less clouds before us in Texas then behind us.

There is also more space. The shape of the land had been lowering and flattening out. It did not become great planes flat, or bottom of a frying plan flat...but the shape of the earth maintained gentle folds and motion. It opened up so you could see farther, Jessie described it as room to breathe. The sky felt closer and bigger, like it was close enough to touch but way more vast because it extended without interruption of hills and curves in the road. Also, Thank God, there are still great big wonderful leafy green trees!! I would be lost in all the extensiveness without them.

Things to observe on the road:


1. Observe the road sign is in the SHAPE OF THE STATE. you will never not know that you are in texas at any point on the entire drive.

2. due to the many little side roads/dirt roads. They are not labeled with individual names but instead, a metal sign reading CO RD ####.

I wonder how they gives those directions to friends? lots of numbers. oh dear. Anyone else get worried about memory blocks? one wrong turn will take you from the city to the middle of nowhere in the amount of time it takes me to put on eyeliner.

        3.        trucker's gas station of choice is Love's. (with a heart where the 'o' is) Don't ask me.

        4.        Delightful fast food: Chicken Express. Yes. fried chicken (like most things here) and

yes it is tasteful

        5.        Sides. This subject will be brought up again in the subject of food. Two sides to take note of: Corn Poppers (fried corn and something hot and tasty and terrible for you) and Fried Okra. Yes...a perfectly good vegetable that they fry beyond identification that actually improves it.

        6.        TRUCKS!!!!

        7.        I will need to own a truck now. There is no other way around it.

        8.        Trucks are taken very seriously (hence why it is taking up 4 points so far). Wether they are shiny and big and jacked up or muddy and hauling seriously heavy loads. and the majority of trucks and dealerships are Chevy and Ford!!!! oh yes. Texas is where American made trucks are the biggest baddest ones on the road. dual, diesel whatever. (I think I have only seen like a half a dozen Toyotas.they are useful and efficient for PA...but not nearly as popular here. not a Nissan to be found).

        9.        Texas Edition of vehicles (especially trucks, but also Tahoe's and all other cars). I took this description of Chevy's website

        "Available on LT and LTZ models, the Silverado Texas Edition comes with exclusive features including -- of course -- Texas Edition badges. Silverado Texas editions in LT trim come with polished 20-inch alloy wheels, trailering package, locking rear differential, and body-colored side mirrors and door handles. LTZ models step up to chrome 20-inch alloys, chrome exterior mirrors and door handles as well as a Bose audio system. LT models come standard with the 285-hp 4.3-liter V-6, while LTZ models are powered by the 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8.


**can you see the Texas Edition decal on the side?! Don't worry. You ever see one, you'll know it!


10. Land. So much land. The average farm here in Texas is 676 acres compared to Pennsylvania's 158 acres (according to American Farmland Trust website). I have not found a site (yet) that tells how many farms there are actually in this state though. I was told it is no big deal for people to own 15acres. In fact, that's pretty minimal in comparison.

        11.        A distinction needs to be made between Ranches and Farms.

        From what I can gather a farm is agricultural (though a big yard could be baled for hay), the livestock are herds of cattle, chicken, pigs, and meat goats.

A ranch is mostly horses and perhaps cattle too.

        Well that's the first list of several I believe. Please understand that this is just my perspective and is my way of finding adventure without having to cross The Big Blue. Texas is certainly interesting and fun !!!!!