I saw Texas the first time in 1975 when my former wife and I traveled the country on our 1973 Honda 500. We came from the North and traveled down to Corpus Christi.
This time my wife, Jennie, and I entered Texas on the Western side where Texas meets New Mexico heading East on Interstate 10. A windy, barren and dusty drive with Mexico to our right and vast nothingness to our left. Miles and miles of the same view until we reached Texas Hill Country where the landscape began to green up.
With the exception of mountains, the topography and horizons of Texas are an amalgam of every place I’ve ever lived. Desert to lush, barren to treed, it’s all here.
We’ve observed a few things about Texas that makes me love this place. The first being, Texas is a place of personal responsibility. I have lived the last 25 years in California. California is the home of laws against just about every conceivable thing; the purpose I suppose, to protect people from themselves. Not so much,Texas.
Motorcycle helmet laws? Nope. Purchase ‘really good’ fireworks? Yep. Purchase automatic, high capacity ammunition, weapons? Yep.
We camped on the beach side of Galveston Island, Texas for five days. (I kept hearing the Glenn Campbell song from my youth echoing in my head the whole time.) There is a sidewalk along the seawall that stretches for miles that sits above the beach, several feet. We saw a sign posted on the sidewalk that was one of the best examples of personal responsibility we’ve seen. It simply reads: “Caution Drop Off”. That’s all. No fence, no guardrail or security patrolling the walkway to remind people not to get too close to the edge. Nothing obstructed the amazing view of the beach and Gulf of Mexico as the waves continually lapped the shore.
Another observation is that Texans, really love Texas. If there is a USA flag flying anywhere, there will be a Texas State Flag flying right next to it. Homes and businesses alike.
We observed that Texans love to eat meat. I saw a bumper sticker that read, “I love animals; they’re delicious” That just about sums it up. Texas BBQ of ribs and brisket are a staple food and available from large restaurant chains to Leroy’s BBQ, in Willis, Texas – near Lake Conroe. If you’re anywhere near Houston, Thursday through Saturday, Leroy’s is worth the drive. (http://www.allmenus.com/tx/willis/60419-leroys-b-b-q/menu/ )
We found the most delightful senior lady whose property boarders the Steven F. Austin park in San Felipe, Texas. Her childhood home was declared an Historic Site and she shared stories of the home and area with us as her granddaughters frolicked about the park exploring the weeds and fences.
There are jobs aplenty in Texas. I lost count of the number of “We’re Hiring” banners I saw draped across the front of businesses. A friend of mine, who left Eureka, California a year and a half ago to join the family business in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, told me that his business grew from 200 to 600 employees in just the time he’s been there. The oil business is booming and money is flowing to every other industry as a result. Seems Trickle Down economics thrives in Texas.
The Texas State Department of Transportation operates a FREE vehicle and pedestrian ferry between Port Bolivar and Crystal Beach. (saves miles, not time; however, it is a very nice drive back to Eastbound Interstate 10). We passed Seawolf Park and the memorial for the 3,500 submariners lost during WWII. I served aboard the USS James Monroe (SSBN622), so I too paid respect to some amazing men as we passed.
As Texas is now in our rear-view mirror and Louisiana is in front view, our shell is moving and the Paisley Turtle is inching onward.
(All photography by Jennie Edwards)