From the beautiful green surroundings of Fort Stockton, TX to the highly commercial Seguin, TX, the roads are long & complex, braiding in an all-for-one fashion where route signs pop up & layer over one another.
Texas was a highly militarized zone, according to the forts listed on every other exit. Now wind turbine farms line upraised mesas like the feathered headdresses in old cowboy movies, eerie & huge. Distance from the road does not lessen their menace. I avert my eyes & watch for another car somewhere along the stretch of beautiful Texas countryside. I drive I-10 at 75 while the speed limit is 80. As in most things Texas, the limit exceeds my wish for speed, set as it is at 80. The cars I see approaching in the mirrors pass by me fast – little old me who thought 40 was too fast on the street where I lived in T or C.
My Volt performs valiantly. We hustle East as though magnetized to the bold & glaring sun. I move through discs 3 to 8 on the book on CD in the player, This Tender Land, by William Kent Kreuger. It’s one long drive to Seguin. In all that distance, there was only one sign for the city at one complicated turn.
Basically, I follow 10 but this braids with county roads, frontage roads, street crossings & signs of numbing complexity. My GPS provides a steady instructional chatter: BE in one of the two left lanes, BE in the right lane, like the Highway Guru she is. I am her faithful follower.
I’ve driven the roads in America before, but do not ever remember the amount of recap tire treads littering either side. Orange barrels hold space much-needed for trucks which barrel along like hippos, swinging to either side of the traffic lanes at times. I always pass trucks with a prayer & while pressing pedal to the metal. To even glance at these seems a challenge I am unwilling to take. Trust in the Lord but get past fast.
The drivers are polite to me, allowing lane changes graciously with far more ease than big-city counterparts. No one hovers in my mirrors. I am thankful!
The heat is tremendous. If I stop at a rest site, I am careful to not touch the car other than to open the door. The morning started with a delightful overcast but as I traveled, this burned off. I am wearing a sweat band, even in the a/c comfort of my Volt.
America is in no way prepared for the electric car. I’ve come over 600 miles without noting one electric charging station, not even where I’ve stayed overnight. If we give up gasoline production, the roads will be an endless procession of stalled cars – quite a dystopian ending to Henry Ford’s dream.
I stop frequently for breaks. Texas has many rest stops, many picnic areas, lots of opportunities to break up road monotony. Exits are well-marked. Each section of grass growing in the median has its own mower. I cannot imagine the road care needed for this gigantic state. Over 600 miles & I am not close to Louisiana yet, with Houston & Beaumont still to come. I think I’m past San Antonio.
I am not being a tourist. On the road, I’m a fiend for getting where I want to go. This trip I am stopping only as needed & sometimes allowing a break at a pull-out where I emerge, breathe, smell grass (heady after years in dun desert).
Somewhere along the way the time changed & jumped an hour ahead. I was confused until I decided all the devices are wrong & I’d get to where I was going when I got there.
I pray my way across the state & will continue to do so. In heavy, speeding traffic with just enough room for me to slip under the truck mirrors, I chant a Hindu mantra as this keeps me calm & focused regardless of the intensity of traffic swirling & skirling all around.
I know all prayers go to God & indeed, count upon this mercy. No steering with two fingers here; I’m holding the wheel at 2 & 10 steadily, watching the miles count down on the GPS until arrival.
It has been an intense & heady day. I leave the road early because I’ve put in all the mileage I can take. I ignore restaurants for my own simple salads & wish I’d packed a place setting where I remembered I put one. Eating everything with a spoon is as intriguing as eating everything with a fork – I’m taking turns with whatever implement surfaces. The plastic knife already broke but the edge can still stab the cheese, I’ve found.
Ah! I’m seeing the USA in my Chevrolet, America is asking me to call …