A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Rest Stop

It was lunchtime with no place to pull over. I saw on my map a little green triangle denoting a rest stop 20 miles further on. I can wait. When the 20 miles were behind me, I missed the rest stop. I was gawking out the driver's side window at the Texas Rangers who had pulled over someone on the opposite side of the road. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the rest stop whizz by. Damn! Well I certainly couldn't do a U-turn or back up a 100 yards with the Rangers there. A few miles further a rest stop appeared on the opposite side of the road and here I whipped a U-turn. I turned off the motor, stepped out and relished the absolute silence and the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere on the vast west Texas plains.
I went back inside and made a sandwich. Just as I stepped out of the Little House on the Highway and was walking to the table, an Amtrak Train roared by. The engineer tooted his horn. I waved my sandwich at him and then stood there. I looked at the passengers in the cars. Most had their heads leaning against the windows, bored after hours of viewing flat Texas prairie rush by with no interruptions. A few people were still conscious, gazing out the window. I wondered what image I presented to them. A sudden glimpse of a motorhome, parked at a cement table, nothing else around, and this man just standing there with a sandwich in one hand and a soda can in the other. "He is having his lunch. Maybe he's going to El Paso like we are. Well, we'll be there long before he will."

Not really. I'm going the other way. I just missed my stop a few miles back, that's all.

The Amtrak passenger view.
After lunch I walked around a bit and realized that the dirt road had been dragged by the Border Patrol so they could see footprints of people crossing. I walked back and forth a bunch of times up and down the road.    :))


  1. (you rebel you! messing up their nice brushed dirt!) love it!

  2. vast Texas prairie. isn't that the truth. it would have been so cool if a passenger on that train had been taking photos as they passed. and yes, who knew you were such a rebel - pulling illegal u-turns and dusting up roads...
    this was one of those stretches that the scenery really didn't change much for miles and miles and miles. it's no wonder you gawked.
    You do tell a truly enjoyable story.

  3. I have to tell you I'm having fun following the stories you tell us about your journey.
    The first shot is so cool! ;-)

  4. Where are you? Are you north of Marfa? You should venture there to see weird lights at night east of town. We haven't done it yet, but someday we will. We have also seen camels? and other unusual animals south of town. Then there is Donald Judd's Minimalist headquarters where you can take a tour. Just suggesting....

  5. I'm always amazed at the open space whenever I do this drive, which I have to say, thank God, is not often! :)

  6. Hah, I took Amtrak from NJ to FL once, and when I looked out the window, my thoughts were that we could have walked to FL faster. Love that you messed with border patrol. Keep up the good work. ;-)

  7. Oh, that is hilarious! Any time I see pristine earth somewhere, I have this undeniable urge to make just ONE footprint in the dirt. OK; maybe two! LOL

    Also - I LOVE the feeling of silence you get when you turn off the vehicle after driving for a long stretch. Such peace and solitude out there on the road!

  8. Yeah the man with a sandwich. Wonder what the people in the train were offered to eat these days? Do they even serve food on trains now? I am sure you were a site to see, the man with a cat and a sandwich.


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