Day Four - Today was a good start as the first day we did not need a sleep in due to dramas that took away our travel time.
We all got a reasonably early night and had the alarm set for 7:00 so as to get a good early start to our day. The new plan was to be up early and get to our next night destination by mid afternoon with a few tourist stops along the way. Thanks to some impeccable planning from our master navigator, yours truly, it worked beautifully.
Our trip today took us out along Interstate 10E toward San Antonio from El Paso. Heading south east first opened up the landscape as we crossed over into Texas, the change in landscapes is quite distinct and unique state to state. Arizona was very much sandy desert with very little growth other than desert grasses, whereas once we entered New Mexico and then into Texas the landscape changed to a lot more more greenery and some light shrubbery.
Texas is BIG, flat, and incredibly expansive. Temperatures today mellowed a little to just around 95F (36C) but the locals started to suggest the weather was now quite mild. MILD?
Travelling through Texas much of the Interstate ran along old sections of the original road leaving behind it some extremely old Mexican style buildings vacant and falling apart, old fuelling stations that were no longer viable as the only access now was via the off ramps and the big oil companies had these sewn up.
We were talking a little about where the original oil fields may have been and then almost as if scripted for a movie we can over a small rise to see the beginning of the Texan oil fields.
List outside of Barstow is where it began. Continuing NE toward Odessa the wells became more prolific until we reached an area so laden with wells the entire landscape was just a forest of thousands and thousands of power poles providing power to the thousands of pump derricks scattered across the land as far as the eye could see. I could only imagine what this area once looked like in the days before the electric driven derricks, back when all these wells were tall timber and steel structures. It must have been an absolute forest of old style oil wells, standing high off the ground giving the whole landscape an eerie appearance.
Just before Odessa we managed a detour off the main highway to the Odessa Meteor Crater, now a National Historic Monument. The crater at impact would have measured some 500 feet across and nearly 120 feet deep, but as time has passed over the last 50,000 years much of the original crater has been filled with sand and blows from the numerous desert sand blows that can cause zero visibility. Many areas along the highway even have sign postings and flashing lights to warn of the sand blows and instructions to pull to the side of the road when visibility drops.
We reached Odessa mid afternoon as planned and proceeded to our RV park and checked in. Odessa is quite a substantial town of nearly 100,000 people, mostly there for the provision of services to the oil industry and of course, the associated service industries catering to all those people.
Well, after a good stock up of supplies and beverages we settled in to a lovely sunset drink with the stunning Texan desert sunsets. Tomorrow is our next leg to Dallas, the home of JR, and the wealth of Texas. So far we are fully back on schedule and looking forward to leaving the deserts of the southwest and moving across into the more lavish climates of Arkansas and Tennessee. Check out our photo albums and we'll see you again soon, Cheers.