Texas is big.
Texas is really big.
When you enter Texas from Louisiana on I-20, you are 637 miles from the where I-20 merges with I-10. From that point, you are still 186 miles from where I-10 enters New Mexico. When we reach Monterey, we will have spent a little under 1/3 of our driving time in Texas. That is ridiculous. The scenery throughout Texas is beautiful, but it is fairly barren and remote, especially when you get into the backcountry of the western part of the state. We took I-20 until we hit Big Springs, TX, and then hopped onto a one-lane highway heading west towards Carlsbad, NM. From Big Springs until we hit the Texas-New Mexico border we passed through nonstop oilfields. As the sun set, you could look out for miles over flat land and see the dim glow of countless drilling rigs at work 24/7. Life on the drilling rigs is a rough, dangerous existence, and it was sobering to see the economic destitution of the area.
Texas also has a distinct sense of place. There is something about the state that draws you in, even if you don’t think of yourself as a Texas sort of dude or dudette. I don’t normally listen to country music, but listening to it while driving through Texas seems perfectly normal, if almost mandatory. The state oozes this rugged swagger regardless of where you are.
We pulled into Carlsbad, NM at around 7pm and went to bed right after a lovely meal at a quaint little restaurant named “Sonic: American’s Drive In”.