January 18, 2011

Texas Ranging 07. A 200 mile circle

Elena Glasberg wrote this in an email to me today:

I wish I were in such blighted yet open places.  The deserts are the ruins before time.


Jan 15. Drove another big circle: Midland, Stiles, Big Lake, Iraan, McCamey, Crane, Odessa.
Big Lake was scary. The gas station filled with roustabouts getting lunch, felt like packs of wolves. One man licked his chops at me. That was a first. Seriously. the whole town felt… blown out. It was weird, as I have felt relatively safe (just a wee paranoid after the close call with the FBI in Texas City).

… all for two moments, really, but well worth it.

After sitting in on Day 1 of the Sibley Center’s Master Naturalist Course, a nature/culture overview of the Llano Estacado, I headed out on this insane 230 mile loop in the drizzle. Saw several interesting things, but was feeling kind of low by the lack of that bell-going-off. Then things changed after passing through Iraan, boom-town residence of Alley Oop comic strip artist V.T. Hamlin. You have to wonder if Hamlin’s interest in dinosaurs and cavemen was inferred from working  the petroleum. A closed museum and a droopy little “Alley Oop Fantasy Park” ( not even worth a photo).

The Iraan Restland Cemetery:

Crane County drill rig, belching, at Golden hour:


Other selects of some interest.

Also in the ghost town of Stiles, all that’s left is its beautiful destroyed courthouse – the perfect setting for a Tarkovsky Western:

Highway cuts and erosion near between Big Lake and Iraan:

And suggestions of water issues:

I have seen an awful lot of roadkill on this trip, it’s been painful: dogs and cats and skunks and deer and raccoon, mostly. So I was very happy to see a live skunk along the road, and encouraged him to get the fuck off the highway:

Speed limits are 80 mph most places. Lots more gas. People leave their trucks running in the parking lots of stores. Gasoline is not cheap either. But it’s important to spend it.

More pix here