After a fantastic holiday visit with family in Lubbock and Houston, Carrie and Aven flew home. But we had a piano, a successful Ikea shopping trip, and a 14′ uhaul to get home! So Torsten and I had our first good, long road trip. We started out from Houston at about 4am on January 1. Torsten was so jazzed about the trip, he stayed up for a good while! We both enjoyed watching the first sunrise of the year. The first stop was in Bastrop to get some gas, and we were already in our sixth county of the drive! (Torsten had slept through probably half of them.)
We took a little detour to head up to North Austin and visit Bill and Elaine O’Brien, to get a half hour of catching up and coffee. (Bill taught both Carrie & I physics as undergrads at Southwestern University, and he has kept in touch through multiple visits to Juneau and regularly catching up at AGU.) On the way out of Austin, we went back south, driving along Lake Travis. I couldn’t believe how low the lake was! It reminded me a little of a dramatically low playa lake out in West Texas..
Next we went over to Llano and a ~25 mile detour south from there to get to Enchanted Rock. What a fantastic place to revisit after all these years. Torsten and I hiked up to the top, and then I found out that our good friend Dale from SU was also there!! We didn’t manage to connect (other than via facebook), but it was fun to be so close!
From Enchanted Rock, we went back up to Llano, then it was driving up towards Sweetwater. In that area, I tried to estimate how many windmills we saw — my best guesstimate is between 6,000 and 7,000! And these weren’t old-timey, get water for the cows out of a well, windmills. They are industrial grade, high voltage transmission lines, clean, green, power generatin’ machines. WOW! It was amazing to both Torsten and I to see all these windmills.
I tried to get the oil vs wind juxtaposition:
Just before we got to Post, the windmills disappeared, and it was serious, old school, oil in the air time. Torsten said “I kinda like the smell, even though it really stinks.. It smells like fresh money.” It was getting towards an amazing sunset for the first day of the year, so I got a “classic Texas panorama” and then a fun shot of our shadow:
We got into Lubbock at about 6:15pm with 645 miles under our wheels, some good hiking, and lots of together time. It was great to meet Grams with a dinner ready, and some nice beds to fall into. We spent a little time there in the morning, but shoved off by about 10am.
Torsten (I mean, DJ Torsten) provided some great music. He sense of taste was perfect as he had the ZZ Top going as we drove through La Grange. Then we got a healthy mix of Lady Ga Ga, Chemical Brothers, and even some LMFAO before he settled into mixing up some fresh original tracks on Garage Band on the iPad. As we cruised past Post and into Lubbock, I took over to put on a healthy Terry Allen, Jimmy Dale, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely, Flatlanders mix. I think the two best road songs that came on where “Amarillo Highway” and “Two Roads”. If you don’t know two roads, you should read the lyrics (midway down this article — the whole article is good!).
“you can drive all day and never leave Texas
you can drive all night and never leave home”
The rest of the trip up to Los Alamos flew right by, with lots of “good” road trip food, lunch at Dairy Queen in Santa Rosa, NM. Trains, oil derricks, windmills, tumbleweeds..
What a fantastic trip!! Soon Aven will be old enough, and then the whole family can enjoy some ramblin’ around the lower 48. In the end, Torsten and I covered 1024 miles (yeah! it was literally 1023.7 miles when I returned the truck in Pojoaque.). We crossed 25 counties in Texas. And we have a piano!