Star Trek deux (2007-2008) travel blog

Some things about Texas....

As we traveled through Texas, some of the unique or at the very least, different things we noticed about the Lone Star State are as follows:

Posted speed limits vary considerably. As I recall, some were as high as 80 mph, but only during daylight hours, as most all speed limits drop at night. (Honest officer, the dial light on my watch says it's only 3:30 P.M.) Not sure if they split the difference for twilight time.

Oil wells and Windmills, depending on location, seem to outnumber houses. Texans seem to be a bit more on the windy side, but apparently pay about the same for gasoline, even though quite possibly having their own oil well in the backyard. They are some of the most friendly folks one could imagine. A simple hello may find you talking (or listening) for several minutes to whatever needs to be discussed.

Bumper guards, Brush guards, Critter catchers, whatever you want to call the large metal sculptures that adorn the front of at least half of the pickup trucks and SUV's especially in the hill country. Judging from the number of dead animals in some areas, these are a necessity more than a vanity item for those who travel at or above the posted speed limit. (Most everyone) We actually saw a pickup truck come through the RV park with a full set of elk horns attached to his brush guards. We believe they were put there intentionally, not the result of a high speed collision.

Road Signs warning of an upcoming Church or Cemetery. Not sure why these are popular, as most folks know where their Church is, and most go there to prepare to go to the other. It did give Diane and I something to do while driving, as sometimes Churches were hard to recognize, and cemeteries were nowhere in sight, probably at the end of a long lane somewhere.

Elaborate entrances. Almost every driveway along the way is adorned by massive stone walled entryways, usually with an arch or at the very least, a log placed across upright pillars to drive beneath. Signs declaring the name of the spread or sometimes Brands are displayed along with Stars, Names, Dates, addresses, or any other information the owner thought necessary. Many have modern wrought iron gates, with solar panels, which obviously are used to charge batteries to run automatic gate openers. These entrances seemed to have no correlation to whatever the financial status of the owner as they guard both mansions and shacks, even empty lots. Neither are they for security, as often there is no fence attached .

Horizontal traffic lights. Being red-green color blind, I am used to California traffic lights being upright with Red on top and Green on the bottom. Texans are like hamburgers from Wendy's, they have it their way. The lights are placed horizontally with Red on the left and Green on the right. Takes a little getting use to, but seems to work OK. They are probably less likely to be dislodged in high winds as they are supported in two places instead of just one.

Frontage roads along major freeways are usually two lane one way streets. This means that if you are driving and need to do business along the way, you go off the freeway onto a one way road. If the business you are doing is on the opposite side of the road, you continue going the wrong way until you come to a u-turn lane under the next overpass, reverse direction and return to your destination, dealing with other people on the same street trying to get on to the freeway from entrances located along the way. One only has to remember to go past the business you wish to visit before exiting the freeway. Once you get acclimated, it really is pretty efficient, just different that what we are used to.


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