Saturday, August 17, 2013

Central Texas 2013 - On the Road Again

I have heard it said that due to the interstate highway system in the U.S. it is possible to drive coast to coast without ever really seeing anything. Nowhere is this more evident then on the drive from the Texas hill country to San Antonio. For 2 plus hours we pass through board flat scrub land crisscrossed by bone dry creek and river beds. Some riverbeds, during dry seasons, are stony affairs.  They pay homage to the power of the water that flows through them during the wetter times of the year. These alleged creeks, each named, appear as shallow, grass fill trenches. I have been assured, by those who should know, that these, in some cases almost imperceptible indentations in the surrounding countryside do indeed carry small amounts of water at some points during the year.

Billboards along the way announce the existence of historic towns. These, however, are so far off the main road that even in this flat landscape neither a church steeple or the dome atop a courthouse of a county seat can be seen as you travel past them. I compare this to travel by train where the stations are often important structures in even the smallest of towns. As you go through the centers of the places along your way you sense a connection, however fleeting, with those who live there. I recall the brick ruins as we departed from Rome and seeing the bell tower and dome of the Doumo as well as the fortification wall surrounding Florence while enroute to Venice. In the U.S. there is the beaux arts beauty of the train station in Joliet, Illinois or the panoramic view of the Arch, skyline and river as you pass high over the Mississippi entering St. Louis. You are treated to a view of Albany, New York across the river and flower dappled hills as you near the Catskills in summer.

Upon leaving the hill country I spent a few minutes figuring out how to program the GPS in our rental car. My ability to harness new technology is improving as I get older, even though these posts at still initially written in longhand on paper. Her calm, soothing, reassuring voice successfully guides us to San Antonio and our hotel as the silhouette of the tall hemisphere park tower, built for the fair which celebrated the city's centennial, comes into view.

1 comment:

  1. Living where we do we are often confronted by the double-edged sword of the interstate highway system. The old Route 66 towns bypassed by I-40 have suffered economically; some disappearing completely. On the other hand, those communities through which the interstate was routed have lost much of their former charm as the 75 mpg drivers opt for fast food, familiar chain restaurants and hotel chains rather than taking the time to explore local businesses.