Saturday, February 27, 2010

We left just luvin Texas, and Texans. So nice to be called "you ladies" rather than "you guys" (everyone knows how much i despise that lazy moniker) and you just never tire of hearing that friendly "howdy" everywhere you go. I highly recommend the ride on route 287 from Wichita Falls to Amarillo over traveling the interstate. Yesterday we went from 1400 ft above sea level to over 4400 feet and you end up with a sense of vast space that is easy on the mind.

I have to say though, if you wanna see what's really happened to America, drive through the small towns along these biways all over the country and you'll see where we are really at. Americans let their downtowns die for the sake of convenience, or just to save a few bucks at Walmart where they end up buying crap they wouldn't have bought shopping more purposefully downtown back in the day. Yeah, I know some of this is boom and bust local economies, but it didn't have to happen. Despair led to lazy thinking, and now it's all Dollar stores (yes, we'll suck you dry too a dollar at a time) and fast food joints. It is unbearable to see these crumbling remains of what were once really inviting places in small towns across the map. There are almost no real food places anymore, it's all chains now, or meat, meat, meat. Now I like some good beef now and again, but this is supposed to be the land of choices! Drive on out here and see if you don't find that's a lie for most people. If you have money and live in one of those elite enclaves where companies like Whole Foods tend to bind themselves to the earth, well, you're all set. But most folks choices, at least as far as I can see, and I can see pretty far lately, are limited to Walmart supercenters and fast food. It is sad beyond belief, and we did it to ourselves. These fine small towns lay there with their cunning buildings 80 percent empty and rotting, like some poor neglected relative, some teenage crush that didn't measure up. It actually pains me physically when I drive through them because no one that's left in those towns seems to care enough to change things.

Headline: A massive earthquake strikes Chile that is felt from Japan to Argentina? Tsunamis all along west coast of hemisphere expected today? The crazy cold/hot weather swings in the southern US, snow in all the traditional winter warm spots? It's been warmer in Maine than in Texas lately. What's going on? Weather extremes the likes of which I've never seen in my lifetime anyway. Weird. Maybe it's just that we have the 24/7 news folks tryin to make a buck by keeping us in a constant state of alarm so we'll tune in all day, but I sometimes imagine that all the oil and water and minerals we suck voraciously out of the earth with our massive, efficient machines leave these huge, dry crevasses beneath the surface that end up irritating each other or caving in. What the earth needs is a good lube job, or inhabitants that pay attention to her needs as well as their own...

So, a little hotel commentary here: I have not, so far, been very impressed with the Hampton Inn experience. The hotels, even new ones, are cheesily built: light filtering from the hall through the door, loud air conditioners/heating, highway sounds at night when you asked for a quiet room away from that noise, and at 5 this morning, the screaming baby across the hall whose parents are, apparently, deaf. You expect more from the Hilton people, but I guess Paris has other things to think about than my comfort these days. I can't imagine what life is like for folks who stay in these places pretty much for a living. Sure made me lonesome for the Lonesome Dove Inn and its comforting amenities.

Haven't heard back from south of the border yet, so I guess we'll carry on from here in Santa Rosa, NM. If I have to eat anymore crappy road food I will surely die, so maybe a quick trip to Albuquerque's Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to fill the cooler might be good. Live on fruit and nuts and yogurt awhile. Or maybe we'll just head up to Ojo and float in the water for a bit.

At least it's warming up. And I know that the Rockies are just west of here, my beloved Rockies. Can't wait. T is gonna blow her mind.