What is this? The winter Olympics?
Originally published 10 February 2014
A long day at the wheel, somewhere in Texas.
We're staying tonight in the Walmart parking lot. There are close to 30 other motorhomes and campers here. Texas has islands of civilization, surrounded by a sea of nothing. Things are a long way apart here, and there's nothing in between.
We drove last night to Hot Springs, Arkansas...and stayed in yet another Walmart parking lot. Walmart has a policy of allowing people in motor homes and campers to overnight in their lots, as long as it doesn't violate any local laws. In Atlanta, for instance, it is illegal to stay overnight in a motor home or a camping trailer. So you can't do it there..........not that I'd want to. But if you're traveling and need a place to park for 8 hours and get some sleep, Walmart, Flying J, Loves Truck Stops, and usually Pilot have places for you. And it's free.
We got up around 8:30 or 9 this morning, I had a sandwich, and started pushing southwest. It was bitterly cold in Arkansas, and we expected things to get better weather wise. They didn't. We went through Dallas (and both Laurie and I were reminded why we don't live in a city anymore) where fog had set in. The temperature in Dallas was 34........and the automated highway signs said that bridges and roads were beginning to ice. Nice.
Dallas traffic. This is early afternoon. It isn't even rush hour yet. We made sure to be long gone by then.
One other thing is....when we actually reached the Texas line, we still had 12 hours driving ahead of us. This place is VAST. Unless you've been here, it's hard to get it. I've had the discussion with people as to how Americans are "amerocentric", but the thing is, most Europeans don't realize how huge our country is. Texas, and Texas alone, is bigger than SPAIN.........and half a dozen other European countries included. A guy I met in Scotland said that was the thing that amazed him the most about America.....how HUGE it was.
As we pushed on out of Dallas and Fort Worth...the fog stuck with us.....and started freezing to whatever it hit. There was ice in the trees, on the power lines....and on our windshield. I washed the road cack off at a fuel stop, only to have the wash water freeze immediately. It's colder than dammit outside and every stop to fuel up was agonizingly cold.....with a nice 15 mph wind to boot. We were careful along the way, taking special care on bridges and such....but have been lucky so far.
Dallas skyline, shrouded in fog
I just read the weather...and the temps here are supposed to remain around freezing until Wednesday, with freezing rain and/or snow in certain areas. What the hell???? We're damn near in MEXICO......and we can't shake this weather! We're only 90 miles from our first stop in Marfa, TX. Hopefully weather won't bring forth any issues tomorrow. We'll see.
Observations on Texas driving. So far, with the exception of Dallas, everyone seems very courteous. As for speed limits, this place has more in common with Europe than the USA. We were coming down Route 67, a two lane black top with oncoming traffic in the other lane. It's in the middle of nowhere. Speed limit on this two lane black top? 75 mph. On the interstates? 80 mph. This place rocks!
The trees are all full of ice. The fog freezes to everything it touches. Hoar frost is everywhere.
Once the fog broke, we were able to see oil rigs where they were drilling out in the rural areas. Lots of drill rigs, lots of pump rigs, and lots of people working the rigs, 24 hours a day. Almost every vehicle we passed or passed us for about 200 miles was a pickup, that worked the oil fields.
I'd have like to have seen the oil fields during the day, but it wouldn't have helped today. They were fogged in and you couldn't see much. At least at night, you're able to see the glow in the distance, and know where they're at, and what to look for. We wouldn't have even noticed them in the day/fog.
We did 730 miles today. Tomorrow morning, we run the last 90 miles to Marfa. We'll set up at the RV park there...and start to explore. More tomorrow!
Quote of the day: "We're damn near in Mexico. Why the hell is it so cold?"-Bill Hall
Song of the day: Ride- Cary Brothers (seemed fitting)
Walmart parking lot, Fort Hancock, TX
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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