The Dips of West Texas

April 22, 2010

It’s been about twenty years since I’ve been to West Texas. At that time I remember driving in the family car as my dad read to us about the Dips of West Texas. Apparently the hard, dry ground of the region cannot absorb the torrents of rain that at times thunder across Texas. Over the years Dips have been created, which are alterations between high and low areas. The water collects in the lows, while the high ground stays dry.

Why is this at all relevant to my current trip? Because here I am again in West Texas, and Dips are much less amusing when you are constantly climbing them. It was clear today that we have transitioned into a much more lush and fertile part of the state. Gone is the feeling of being in “No Country for Old Men” or “There Will Be Blood.” In fact, I was not aware that Texas could be this beautiful.

The whole world around us is dripping with green. In spite of the wind that constantly tries to knock you back, it is impossible not to enjoy the pleasantness of biking past countless wildflowers, grasses and trees. Quaint towns litter the landscape, and occasionally a train rolls by, reminding you of its presence with each blow of its whistle.

I’ve spent my life travelling the country by car, and in that time I’ve seen things most people never get to see, yet traversing this nation from the saddle of a bicycle is an entirely new experience. When you’re on a bicycle you smell the scenery: the sweet smell of flowers, the sulfur smell of oil wells, the decay of road kill. You pass through countless small towns, and see the devastating effects of a Wal-Mart nation that places its emphasis on getting more goods faster and cheaper, instead of maintaining the charm and personality of rural America. On a bicycle you get chased by dogs (a good source of exercise!) and talk to people. When a stranger rolls through town on a bicycle, people want to know why.

I wonder what our country would be like if every senior graduating from college had the opportunity to explore America from a bicycle and learn about America. The education they receive would surpass their four years of traditional baccalaureate studies. Perhaps then our nation would begin to realize the power that exists in the family farm, the small business owner, the middle-class of America and grass-roots politics.

Abilene to Ranger by embricate at Garmin Connect – Details.

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3 Responses to “The Dips of West Texas”

  1. […] The Dips of West Texas « Continental Drifter by Andy I’ve spent my life travelling the country by car, and in that time I’ve seen things most people never get to see, yet traversing this nation from the saddle of a bicycle is an entirely new experience. When you’re on a bicycle you smell … […]

  2. David Bayly said

    Andy,

    I’m enjoying your writing. Especially the atmospherics of west Texas–makes me want to go ther5.

    Got a new-to-me road bike the other day–a 2009 Cannondale Six Carbon 5 off Craigslist. Riding’s a blast again.

    Love you.

    David

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