Headin' Out West

· by wendy · texas

Previous to this trip, I’ve done the drive between Arizona and Ohio six times. Why is it that all I seem to remember are two interesting McDonald’s (one that sits on a bridge over the highway and one in the median) and Texas being a barren wasteland? One guess is that those trips were at least 10 years ago. Secondly, we were usually on a tight schedule and didn’t dilly dally. On one particular trip, my two travel partners and I covered the 2000 miles in just 2 days! That schedule doesn’t lend much time for enjoying the scenery.

With no schedule to follow, Dusty and I moseyed our way through each state, not hesitating to pull off the highway at the drop of a hat. If something was pretty, ugly, shaped funny or colorful, we checked it out. Once we hit Texas, we stopped almost every hour. This is the life of people without a schedule and too many cameras, I suppose. And don’t get me started on the Camera Awesome app I installed on my iPhone. Dusty doesn’t get to have all the camera fun!

Somewhere in Texas, I got it in my head to keep an eye out for abandoned buildings. I’m into rustic rundown crap right now. My task was not too difficult as it took only 5 minutes and BAM, we found this beauty.

And then there were cows. We smelled them first. Then we saw them. Allllllll of them. A ridiculous sight. No joke, there were maybe a couple thousand of them packed into hundreds of tiny pens. When we pulled off on the side of the access road to capture the ginormous bunch, we thought they would scamper to the back of their cages. No, these were very curious cows. They rushed to the fence to see us. If we walked to the right, they followed us. If we made a sudden noise, they’d jump back a bit but then return with in a few seconds. I don’t believe they thought we had food. I can only imagine they are fed very well in order to make delicious dinners in the near future.

Hamburger anyone?

And then there were the illusive trains. We followed along side them for hours, every once in a while pulling off into a casino parking lot, behind an abandoned motel or slowing down on an overpass. We finally found a tiny village that looked like it came straight out of a movie. We followed the dirt road through the town to where a train was stopped on the tracks. Dusty climbed up and stood on the tracks to get the shot. Unfortunately, nearby train operators yelled at him, “HEY! Get off the tracks!” and ruined all the fun. The train started up just as Dusty jumped off the tracks leaving him to have to capture photos from atop our car.

We’ve done plenty of road trips over the years, however, we’ve never had the time, or allowed the time, to enjoy the journey. When you’re in a rush to get to the beach for your one week vacation, driving is a chore, not an adventure. There’s absolutely no time to stop and photograph the trains, cows and abandoned gas stations! I can tell you it’s well worth it once you allow yourself the opportunity. Try it, you might like it.

See more westerly and scenic road trip photos.

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