The Earthly Path
State of police. Was walking in glassy-eyed downtown Dallas this morning, figured I’d give it a quick look, sun was already hitting rough n’ tough. Took a few pics of a financial-ish looking building, then took a peaceful and innocent seat on the nearby chairs. Started sketching (more like scribbled) the shape of a dome structure in front of me.
Sure enough, two young security guards came out after ten minutes. “Sorry, no sketching or taking pictures allowed.” I didn’t even bother pointing out the foolishness of the policy to the drones (namely that I could have taken the pictures and left, or done it without being obvious, or that tourists do it everyday, etc.), who were cool about it. Which only makes it worse: by now we’re all, including the Guardians, submitting unquestioningly to the system which has been put in place. Should really have more on this topic.
Downtown Dallas has a specifically named Art District: although I can only appreciate the idea, as well as the general curviness and airiness of the museums and surroundings, I can’t help feeling there’s something inherently un-artistic about sectioning off a part of the city and labeling it the ‘Artistic’ zone, instead of infusing the spirit (notice: not content) throughout the town.
But let’s not hate, still appreciate the intent.
(Note on democratization of art: Elevat-Art – can’t say more, not my idea, but a good one indeed. In this day, seldom do people have so much daily time to be actively engaged with a medium – associations should be created to promote this within every building)
Stumbled by near chance into the 6th floor museum, dedicated to JFK and the infamous shooting, the two shots being allegedly fired from that 6th floor window.
I had passed the building unaware in the morning (actually slept less than a block from it.) Didn’t visit but got the must-have picture, considering the historic legacy, which still today, fifty years later, is so present.
Had initially entered the museum to pick up brochures about the area and see if there were any elements I should check out before leaving Texas. This convinced me to go to the nearby Forth Worth stockyards instead of heading to Oklahoma.
All you can eat Ribs! Meat-eating Heaven. Got 8 down. These are chunky, Texan ribs. @ Riscky’s, Fort Worth stockyards (historical cattle market). Didn’t know what to think of this touristy joint. Must apologize: service irreproachable, food amazing, both quality and of course quantity. “Warning: Our Ribs May Be Habit Forming!” (Also some don’t mess-around jalapenos).
Just saw my first rodeo. Engaging though by no means a high-attendance show. Performances not very impressive, whether bulls had too many steroids or cow-boys not enough coffee undetermined, but was still fun to get a whiff.
Three dressed-up girls were really the stars of the show. There was a TV crew sent to Fort Worth to film a rodeo that couldn’t get enough of them (again, partly because there wasn’t that much else to work with) The blonde girl was volunteered by her friends to daintily perform in one of the interlude shows.
Many Harley bikers. Have yet to interact with them / take pictures. One of them got me to move out of my parking spot with virile insistence.
Stopped by tiny ‘settlement’ of Alvord, Phillips 66 gas station. Exhausted in noon heat. There’s a guy playing on a slot machine. He’s been at it all day – lost 25$ so far. People walk in: small-town, everybody greeting each other. I end up having a BBQ sandwich.
Drive North, reach Wichita Falls as engine begins to overheat. City is so empty it’s ghostly. Leave the city and into Oklahoma, the engine temperature gauge rising, rising.
@ the Laundromat in Lawton. Car has been troubling me again. Overheating: had to stop by a lone gas station yesterday, just past the Oklahoma border, after uneventful pass-by of scorching Wichita Falls. I fell asleep in the midst of an awing sunset.
“First rule of manhood, don’t ask for directions.”
“Men are God’s gag gift to women.”
I’ve enjoyed the Texan, Oklahoman landscape (which are different.) First sight of some low Wichita mountains today, rising in the otherwise flat fields. Some peculiar geological formations to the left, white and very rounded, egg-shaped, unlike others I’ve seen. Mostly flat, spanning farmland. Dry yellow grass, reddish dirt, farm animals. Cattle herding under the shade of a single tree. Drive along the Western cattle trail.
Have taken few pictures of these predominant rural features. Due to car and heat. Got first picture of a ranch gate yesterday (unfortunately missed the one named “Horton Angus Ranch,” would’ve been perfect). That’s when the engine started overheating.
Have breakfast buffet @ Altus Friendship inn restaurant. A sound choice, seems popular, nearly all-white (one or two Mexicans). Then again, it was the only restaurant open on this Sunday morning.
Don’t get stared at: haircut and wrist watch help, in my mind. Realized I had eaten close to nothing yesterday, left Lawton without having car checked. Has held up. Drove morning hours to avoid midday blast, with hood propped open. Clocks read 90-95 coming into Altus. 105 Forecast.
I like the breakfast. Small-town: kind of place where waitresses hug known customers to greet them. Couple people nod their heads at me. Friendly faces. Hadn’t said this in a while: good people.
Also some bigger people here. Still haven’t seen anything comparable to the Midwest. Texas was average. Accents were non-existent in Texan cities, more noticeable here (again the town-rural divide, ever so present).
– Haven’t seen a wifi-able restaurant or coffee-house in a long time.
(“We’d been there since 10:30 and the preacher hadn’t started yet. We left and hadn’t yet prayed.”)
Must write something about the virulent, hot wind. Like a bitch just got its litter, droolin n’ growlin at strangers walk by.
29th June – Roswell
@Cow-boy café, catching deserved breakfast 2-2-1 (eggs, pancakes, sausage). Walk in, several actual cowboys from the old-school, Stetson hats and grey hair.
The waitress actually looks like an alien – cute frizzly blond hair but it’s the eyes, greenish make-up on the lids, and a peculiar (attractive) slitted ovoid shape. There’s also a 7-foot young giant at the counter, wearing black and blue Nikes.
What happened over the past days?
The heat in Oklahoma burned my hair off. In Altus, spent day withering, reading in the parked car. I was parked in the shade of a deserted gas station, which provided little relief. The wind of tar blew blisteringly, making it more unbearable.
A town cop pulled over to make sure I hadn’t broken down. He was understanding. “Terrible road-trip” he joked, alluding the canicula. Streets empty. Wind-burn unrelenting. The radio reported a whopping 115 degrees late afternoon. No wonder the car was overheating (still I wonder).
I have now ascertained that the radiator most probably works, but it has been a scary 300 miles, riding through the desert’s hills and plains, the hood propped open, an eye constantly set on the engine temp gauge, which would rise in the sun-setting oven heat, forcing me to step off the gas and cruise at 45mph through the lone hills – this was going from Altus back into Texas. I thought it was almost over at that point. Halted with a sigh at the rest stop after Memphis.
Witnessed the second of several celestial (figuratively) sunsets / sunrises, our star hovering pink over the uncluttered horizon, the plains of yellow grass and bushels slowly fading or coming into light.
Next day drove past Amarillo. Like the name. Somehow got myself out of a speeding ticket in a small town along the way, faced with a stern-looking Texan sheriff.
Stopped by at the Cadillac Ranch. Made my pink contribution, hoping to spur a new thought? Then into New Mexico.
First tastes of the desert. I love it. Had been yearning for this kind of landscape and road ever since the beginning of the road trip: partly because unknown to me, but also because it appeals to my imaginary of the Far West, of adventure, and more simply, the Road.
Vast, endless stretches of road furrowing into the distance, over plains and hills.
The story behind every conquest, every single earthly journey: the sky, the Earth, the path. That’s all.
I wished you would have come to Austin….but then again….I would not have known that you did. I would not blame you if you never came back this way. I am a Texas Transplant. Not from here. Not trying to be from here. But this is where I am. This past summer was indeed a brutal, radiator watching, sweltering mess.
All that said.
Homesick as ever…I have had to find the good stuff and here is the list should you ever come this way again……
1) The good people, when you find them, are as good as gold. They might not always be from Texas….though many are. They have that crunchy shell and soft, creamy middle.
2) The stars at night, truly are big and bright…..deep in the Heart of Texas. I live in Kyle….so there isn’t much in the way of light pollution. I could truly, truly…..get lost in the skies here.
3) People are interesting. Even if strange…..carticatures if you will.
So…..I will be following your great adventures…..I think you will miss Texas on your next go round….but til then…..
Happy and Safe Journeys…..La B
Hello, thanks for your wishes and support. And thanks for expressing these ideas so nicely, they beautifully evoke the feeling of the land and region. I did go through Austin (unfortunately the video isn’t up) and much enjoyed my short visit, I hope I’ll return to Texas in the future.