Monday, August 08, 2016

Jiggity Jig....

Home again, home again....

Our trip to find higher, cooler ground seeking relief from Oklahoma's sizzling heat was, "like the curate's egg - good in parts". After a night in Amarillo in the Texas panhandle we headed for our chosen higher ground in New Mexico, that state's Las Vegas - nothing like its counterpart in Nevada, from what I've read of it. This Las Vegas, a medium sized town, is not far from Santa Fe, which though lovely, would be choked with tourists at this time of year, so we gave it a miss.

We took a couple of scenic circular drives around the Santa Fe National Forest area, upon which Las Vegas borders. Temperatures were mostly mid to high 70s to mid 80s during the day, felt just right to yours truly! Las Vegas' elevation is 6,424 ft, it felt fine for us. We probably drove through much higher altitudes, with no ill effects.

We had intended to return via a different route, visiting some towns in the northern Texas panhandle: Borger, Pampa, Dalhart and Dumas, with overnights in Borger, and in one or t'other of the latter two. Here we hit mild snags. It appears that, in this part of Texas, authorities are dipping into a rather big budget-pot to carry out extensive road repairs and road re-bulding. In both Dalhart and Dumas traffic was absolutely chaotic, due to ongoing road repair through main thoroughfares. Dalhart was especially bad with, in addition to road repair and re-building, some very deep holes being excavated to hold pipework.

So, on we drove further south, to Childress, Texas. Dang me though - the first two hotels we enquired for a room were both full! I asked if some festival or fair was going on in town, but was told, no - many hotel rooms had been taken over by squads of construction workers. These were not yer old fashioned car outside-the door motels, by the way, they were the Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn type! Ah's good to know the workers are being well looked after, for working in this triple-digit heat can be no easy task!

So...on we had to go, yet again, this time to try our luck in Vernon, Texas, a little further south and, actually not that far from home. It was getting late, though, husband was nearing, or had passed, his driving limit for the day. We found a very nice room in Vernon, decided to stay for 2 nights giving us time to explore the area, including Seymour, Texas, with its history of discovery of dinosaur bones in the area. We didn't actually see anything of reptilian interest, the museum was closed when we came upon it. We shall return when the weather cools down.

Checking in at the Vernon hotel, the couple ahead of us, guy and gal, very tanned, in sleeveless tops, bandanas atop heads, had obviously been travelling by motor cycle. They told us, when we met in the elevator later, that they had driven from Louisiana that day and were headed for Montana. Yikes! And in this heat! Temperatures in the afternoons in this part of Texas were ranging from 104 to 107 according to our car's gauge and roadside signs.

We noticed, in small towns we passed through, that many stores hadn't bothered to open, including any antique stores we came across. I guess that keeping the stores cool enough to welcome shoppers would be too expensive, and would cancel out any small profits. We did find one or two antique stores open, struggling to cool using fans, but that wasn't working - we could stay inside for only a short time. Some tiny towns seemed completely closed down - not a body to be seen, human or animal!

We'd have been wiser to have stayed in New Mexico longer, and returned home via the quickest route. Hindsight!

A few photographs from husband's camera are below. Most of the best scenic views couldn't be captured, because of winding roads with dangerous drops on one side. There were disconcerting road signs here and there warning of falling rocks. We've never had a problem with this, but I do recall that, once in Tenerife, Canary Islands, on vacation from the UK years ago, seeing results of the fall of a very large rock which had barrelled down a cliff side, directly hitting a coach full of tourists, crushing the 'bus, killing passengers. So I don't take those signs lightly - fingers are crossed while driving through such areas.

Clicking on images should bring up a better view.

The once Black Hotel in Borger, Texas, about to be demolished. See story HERE.

So there really are non-Republicans in Texas (in addition to commenter mike!) Registration tag blurred - to protect the innocent.

This was a surprise roadside attraction as we passed through Shamrock, Texas: The U-Drop Inn, also known as Tower Station and U-Drop Inn and Tower Café. It was built in 1936, along the historic Route 66 highway. See Wikipedia's page.



mike said...

Welcome back to the inferno! I talked with my sister in Kansas Saturday evening and she said a COLD front had passed...they were actually chilly with lows in the mid-60s and highs in the upper 70s. Don't know if it made it to southern OK, but you may have missed a day or two of decent weather. I kept seeing the monsoon rains were hitting parts of New Mexico...were you in the deluge?

The Borger-Black Hotel looks like an office building or warehouse...not a very pretty structure for a hotel. Maybe it had some artifices back in its time to smooth the rectangularness. U-Drop Inn opened in 1936, so it was constructed at a miserable time, economically. I guess there were travelers along the famous Route 66 with money to spend.

I came across an article about the exorbitant electric rates in various Texas areas, with many in northern Texas, may explain why so many businesses you saw were closed...couldn't afford the electricity to run the air conditioning...or lights. Thanks to the infamous Hunt family trying to increase their wealth on the backs of the poor.

Yes, I'm one of the five Democrats in Texas...LOL. Actually, Austin is the hotbed of liberaldom...a blue oasis in a sea of red...if the city wasn't so huge already, I'd be there. Strange, as Austin is the capitol of TX. I'll have to find some anti-conservative, anti-religion bumper stickers for my bicycle baskets (I don't have fenders), but I'd probably be run off the road by several do-gooders doing their gawd's work.

The fall season is only weeks away for you...months for me. We haven't had rain for over two months now and are officially in drought. Our water reservoirs are low, too, but my neighbors are watering their lawns like crazy, before the imposed water-usage restrictions are tightened.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I don't think our "Texoma" area had experienced the cold front your sister experienced in Kansas, perhaps the more northerly areas of OK did though. We did drive through a couple of rainy patches while in NM, but nothing dramatic, and it rained fairly heavily during one night. I think the more extreme stormy areas were west or north of Las Vegas NM.

Yes, re the boring architecture of the ex-Black Hotel. We've come across several such hotel structures, in different parts of Texas, some higher but still just a rectangle, hotels which simply had died and still stand there because demolishing them would be too costly. Many will have the dreaded asbestos in their structure too, making things even more difficult. We came to the conclusion that these hotel were built when passenger railways were at their peak, in cities where the track passed through. Then, sad to say, passenger rail travel all but died, at least in this region, leaving lots of sad hotels in its wake.

It seems a good bet that electricity costs are the cause of small business closures, in parts of Texas - and likely eventual death, and eventual death throes of certain small towns which are almost ghost towns already.

Husband's younger daughter lives in Austin - we've visited a couple of times. Interesting city, nice atmosphere, but way to busy, traffic-wise, for us - that level of traffic scares me silly! We now avoid all large metro areas when possible, luckily there are usually ring roads to eliminate the worst, or alternative routes.

Yep - we'll begin to see cooler temps come late September, at least in the mornings and evenings. Real all-day coolness will take a tad longer.