Monday and Tuesday, January 23 and 24 2012
The drive was very boring today. The west Texas desert is very big, mostly flat, mostly windy. We drove about 100 miles on I-10 and about another 100 miles on US 90. We did a little study about the number of semi tractor trailers. We counted approx. 15 per minute on I-10 and we were on I-10 for about 120 minutes. You do the math. Okay I’ll do the math. That,s 1800 trucks. On US 90 we drove for about 150 minutes and saw a total of 18 trucks. I will do the math again. That is an average of .12 trucks per minute or 7.2 trucks per hour, compared to 900 trucks per hour. That’s 125 times as many trucks on I-10 as on US 90. As a percentage that would be 1,250% more on I-10. Now I like trucks and have some very good friends who are truckers, but seriously I will choose a regular highway over an interstate hands down. We drove to a town of 400 people called Marathon. There are various stories about how it got its name, but I think it is because it is at least 26 miles in any direction from anywhere else. And I believe 26 miles is a very conservative estimate. Anyway they had a very pleasant RV park with wifi and cable, so I worked while Lucy watched tv.
So I said there was a funny story connected to our finally finding a Walmart parking lot to spend the night on Sunday night. Lucy has this app on her iPhone that tells us where the nearest Walmart is and whether it allows folks to stay overnight. Some will and some won’t. So she looked it up in El Paso and found that there were 5 Walmarts and all of them allowed overnight parking. We chose the nearest one and drove to it with the help of Gizmo. (that’s the name we gave to our GPS). We have learned that even if the app says it is okay, we need to ask the security people. In this case they had changed their policy and did not allow it. No problem, we just punched in the next one and started to drive. In about 20 minutes we pulled into the parking lot of a store that was called a Walmart Super center. In fact it was about the size of a Circle K with a parking lot that would accommodate 30 cars if they were all Fiats. A little frustrating, but still not a problem. We just punched in the next one and about 20 minutes later we arrived at a shanty in a neighborhood of shanties. Getting a little more frustrated, but we decided to try again. We punched in the next one and 20 minutes later pulled into the parking lot of a Sam’s club with signs posted that overnight parking was not permitted. Okay, this is too much. Lucy caught my arm just before I flung Gizmo out the window. She said we should give it one more try and if it did not work this time we would take it as a sign and just drive on down the road. I have learned that Lucy is almost always right. (don’t tell her I said that). So off we go again. This time it only took about 10 minutes and we found a giant Walmart and they said it was just fine and to park anywhere we wanted. Now I said this was a funny story and looking back on it, it is funny. In fact, even as it was happening it was funny to a point, but became frustrating very quickly and then funny again in the end in a sardonic way. If I may wax philosophical for a moment. Isn’t that kinda like life? You do the math.
As we pulled into Marathon last night looking for the RV park, we drove by a little place called Shirley’s Burnt Biscuit. We liked the name so much we resolved to have breakfast there before our morning departure. After our morning chores we headed for Shirley’s.! It was all you could ask of a local cafe in a town of 400 people. We loved it. The atmosphere was quaint and country. When we entered, we were the only customers but as we ordered and ate, locals came and went. They came for the coffee and the conversation. The owners, Jackie and Don Boyd (Shirley was the original owner), are a very outgoing, personable couple, with whom you are drawn into conversation easily and immediately. Don makes fried fruit pies as a specialty. People come from as far away as Corpus Cristi to enjoy. You can trust me when I say that all it will take is a taste and people will be coming much farther for them. We also had biscuits and gravy with sausage crumbled on top. Well I had the sausage, Lucy just had the gravy. This is now my favorite place for biscuits and sausage gravy. Lucy also had a homemade cinnamon roll that she said was delicious. As we were leaving Jackie noticed that we had a dog. She was delighted that we were dog people and wanted to introduce us to her Pomeranian, Charlie. Cute little dog. Lucy fell in love of course. She still misses her late friend, a Pomeranian named Marguerite who passed away a few years ago.
The food was good. The conversation was pleasant. But the fried pies, well, as much as I try to avoid cliche, they are to die for. See photos.
Then more desert and more wind. We pulled off at Langtry to see the Judge Roy Bean memorial. It was quite interesting, but I already knew quite a bit about the man from reading and movies. One of the most interesting things about the stop was the pleasant and animated lady behind the counter. If you know Lucy, you know that it is impossible not to have a conversation with her and enjoy it immensly. Well this lady was no different. By the time I was included in the conversation the lady was telling us a story about Judge Bean. It seems he went to Mexico and fell for a senorita, but the senorita was already spoken for by a local hombre. Judge Bean told the man he was going to take his senorita away and the hombre objected and pulled a gun. But Judge Bean was faster and shot him dead. The town constable arrested Roy and he was found guilty of murder and hanged. The people went home, but did not realize that the noose was loose and allowed Roy to stand on his tip toes. That night the senorita came out and cut him down. She told him to leave quickly but she would not go with him. The lady at the counter also told us that Judge Roy Bean could not read and there was a photo of him holding a law book, but the book was upside down. She said it reminded her of George Bush. That made Lucy and I laugh out loud.
Now in the interest of accuracy and fair play, the George Bush photo turned out to be a hoax, but it was still funny.
Anyway we got back on the road for more desert and more wind. We crossed the famous Pecos river after we left Langtry. Finally we pulled into Eagle Pass Texas and another free night at a casino owned by the Kikapoo tribe.