Wednesday, September 16, 2009

River Road Vistas

The reason the post about Kathy's Kafe was somewhat strange was because I forgot to post this one. I also forgot to post The Porch post 'til about 10 minutes ago.
My Bad,

Sunday 8:45 p.m.

Y'all may wonder why I've decided to time and date stamp my posts. There's no wi-fi at our motel, which is painted in Easter Egg colors, btw. In order to post I have to go off-site. As a result I'm not posting every time I write something. So that y'all will know when I wrote it, OH! Lightbulb! I guess I could change the date and time while I'm on blogspot, hunh? I'll see if it will let me backdate posts.
Now, on with the show.

Today was exploration day. While on our trip from Terlingua to Lajitas to Presidio to Marfa to Alpine and back to Terlingua we were using a book entitled River Road Vistas by William MacLeod [ NO, I don't know if he's related to Duncan or Conor.] Perhaps when he originally did his research for the trip it was a long time ago, or his vehicle was an oldie, or WHAT, but every mile reference he gave in the book for mountains, mesas, ridges, badlands was off by 1.2 to 1.6 miles. The book is not well organized in that pictures are not in sync with the text. For instance, page 36 may have a picture with the mile reference of mile 34.3. BUT, page 37's text will mention a formation at mile 27.2.
AND he doesn't always state whether the formation he's describing in text or picture caption is on the left or right, East or West side of the road. This is important because HIS pics don't always match the terrain and mountains, mesas whatever formations are in your line of sight, even adjusting for known mile marker deficiencies.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln how did you enjoy the play?
Having vented about that, let me now say the day was fun and informative.
Johnny's been coming out here for vacations since '68. I, however, am a newbie since I only started comin' out in January, 2003.
I'd been to Marfa to see the lights, but only once and we came in from the Prude Ranch outside of Ft. Davis. I've been to Lajitas lots of times but I'd never taken today's route. And while I've been knocked out by the scenery, I never knew the origin of the formations I was lookin' at. The book WAS good in explaining HOW the landscape came to look like it does. One hill may have been formed from the stretching of the Earth's crust. But another, right next to it may be formed of volcanic tuff or basalt. I learned that the Hematite [a term I remember from a geology class back in '84] I was lookin' at was formed from iron oxide by the heat of the lava flowing over it.
I learned what graben is [a low lying area caused from the collapse of the rock in the middle of other, intact, rock spreads around it due to a fault. If the formation is up and the land around it is collapsed that formation is called horst. I already knew what "hoodos" [no, I won't tell you. Take a minute and look it up. You can feel virtuous about learning something new.] were, but I got to see a lot more of them today. And don't you just lurve the word "hoodo" to describe a geologic formation? I also learned a lot more about the chemical composition of all these formations and how they differ from area to area.
When you see a sign out here that says, "Falling Rock," know that they MEAN it! Some of the unimproved shoulders are chock full of rock of varying sizes, some that qualify as boulders. I picked up a chunk of basalt from a field of it on one of our stops.
We passed lots of restaurants, but we had stopped and gotten sammies from Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe [ if your into kitsch, there are TONS of it out here]. We stopped at a lovely roadside picnic area south of Alpine and had a late lunch. I left my wilted lettuce and some of my whole wheat hoagie bun behind for ground squirrels or whatever creature wanted to feast on them. We DID however stop at the Sonic in Alpine for drinks. But only because Marfa only had Dairy Queen and there drinks just aren't as good.
All in all, frustration with the book aside, it was a superb day!

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Sounds like a fun trip all in all!