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Going home again

September 26, 2011 1 comment

This weekend we made the trip to an “all-school” reunion at my home town of Childress, Texas. Few of my graduating class members made it, still I enjoyed seeing old friends and acquaintances. I’ve been back periodically over the years, less frequently since my parents moved away a dozen years or so ago. But we took the opportunity to pause and notice changes the intervening years have brought, and appreciated things which have stayed the same.

The local museum has gathered the county’s essence in the form of objects from its history. Amid exhibits of ranching memorabilia and World War II Army Air Base artifacts, a couple items in the schools collection caught my eye–old black-and-white school photos. A 1961 second grade and 1965 first grade class from schools I attended missed me by a couple of years each way. Sobering.

From our third-floor room in an almost-new hotel at the edge of town, I spotted two objects I could identify from my formative years: an old motel which used to be out west of town all by itself, and the town’s water tower in the distance. That was it. All the old familiar sites gone or obstructed by new construction. But down by the old park lake I frequented as a small child, beyond the concrete bench a band of WPA workers built some eighty years ago, ducks swam by muttering the same sweet refrain I remember from my youth.

Some things don’t change.

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On the road to Pyramid: Day 11/12

February 27, 2011 1 comment

Headed Home

Agitated Pyramid Lake

The wind still howled as we left for home, and the lake, placid when we arrived, roiled under its assault. Across the surface of the water, water spray danced instead of dust devils, and real dust devils met the water’s edge and slowly disappeared over the whitecaps.

Looking back toward Sutcliffe

But the beauty still captures our hearts and at 7:00 AM local time, we snapped this picture from the road, back toward Sutcliffe, our home for the previous five days.

Reluctant to leave, but ready to get home, we set out on the road. Just in time, we later discovered. Cold, snow, and power outages made life uncomfortable for the next week.

Traveling generally southward, we aimed for Beatty, Nevada to stop, refuel and eat lunch. Not far from Beatty, we saw a pair of brothels, legal in parts of Nevada. I don’t know about the insides, but the outsides are not as nice as one might imagine.

The Ensada Grill, Beatty, Nevada

At Beatty, we bypassed the local casino buffet and stopped at the Ensanada Grill for lunch, where we’ve eaten a couple of times before.

I had the chicken enchiladas and Rhonda chose (you may detect a trend here) the chiles rellenos. Again, two thumbs up for Ensanada Grill.

After a side trip to a stand selling honey (many varieties), pistachios, jerky, and sundry items, we took off again.

It was mid-afternoon when we hit Las Vegas, and we slipped on through without losing any money. Although we were on a beeline home, we had to stop at Hoover Dam.

On our last trip, all traffic went across the dam while a bypass was under construction. Now, though, you have to take an exit or before you know it, you’re in Arizona and have to turn around. Not that we would know that first hand, of course.

It’s still a wonder. Here are some shots:

The new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

Water intake towers at Hoover Dam

The Colorado escaping Hoover Dam

Intake tower

Then we were off again. Our goal was to get past Flagstaff, Arizona and its tendency for snow, maybe to Winslow, before stopping for the night. At Flagstaff, we refueled at a convenience store/truck stop and figured to get a bite, but the grill was closed so we snacked up and were off again.

We had traded time driving and sleeping and were feeling okay after 16 hours, so we kept going, and going…

At Gallup, New Mexico we hit the Denny’s about 2:00 AM (Texas time) for a refreshing breakfast and coffee. In Santa Rosa, we stopped for gas and noticed a hint of sunrise in the east. And at 10:45 AM we rolled into our driveway, 25 and 3/4 hours after we began our trek home. It was time, finally, for a nap.

So there you are, a trip from Texas through New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and back in a dozen or so  easy steps. Thanks for tagging along.

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