The plains of West Texas, as far as the eye can see, extend on either side of the horizon. The road is wide and disappears to the far distance of the horizon. The vastness of the scenery dwarfs whatever tries to blend in.
It takes several hours to cross the plains by car. My travel today took six hours and it did not even take me to the far side of the plains. US Highway 380, which traverses this part of West Texas, starts at Greenville, Texas and ends at San Antonio, New Mexico. I have driven this part of US Highway 380 several times and the expanse of the horizon never ceases to amaze me. I always look at the far side of the horizon whenever I drive through it and I always wonder what is beyond.
There were times when my wife and I took the backroads. We drove slowly past small towns and farmlands. One town had a small portion of their town set up like a scene from a cowboy movie inclusive of a saloon and silhouettes of cowboys standing on porches or leaning on posts. Most small town squares seemed to have been frozen in time forty years ago. I wonder how the people who live in these parts live their lives and spend their time. There are only featureless land and sparsely traveled roads. I have always been a city dweller and I don’t know if I can make it in a small town.
It is not all flat and featureless though. Rolling hills start when the plains transition to the plateaus. There are uphill drives and downhill drives with a lot of ridges on either side of the road. I always fantasize that I am driving through the canyons since I know that these ridges are part of Palo Duro Canyon farther NorthWest.
We went to a camp out when my son was still doing cub scouting. It was in one of the small parks north of US Highway 380. The place was pretty much rural and surrounded by ranch and farmlands. It was eerie when nightfall came. The night became filled with yapping, howling, and rustling at the bushes. We were inside one of the canyons and all we could do was stay inside our tents until daybreak.
The plains holds a magical feeling for me despite its desolate and deserted look. The more that I drive through the West Texas plains, the more that I notice places and sceneries that I didn’t notice before. It can happen unexpectedly, like a herd of deer as tall as the front hood of the truck crossing our path while driving late at night, and it can be a fleeting instance of a setting sun ablaze in orange color. I hope to explore the West Texas plains more and discover more magical things.