Into Texas: Day 8

With some cooler temps this morning, we left Rosewell, NM – it was all of 72 degrees and it felt positively chilly!  This was our first overcast day.  That made a difference for about four hours and then things started heating up again.

It was a day of changing landscapes – first clouds on the horizon, and then flat, flat, flat ranch lands as we exited New Mexico and made our way into Texas.  The first thing I noticed was the change in crops.  Texas grows oil.  And memories of my childhood in Oklahoma came flooding back to me.imageimageAs we passed miles and miles of lands without a shrub taller than two to three feet – and most lands with nothing even that tall, I started to notice a very curious thing.  The telephone poles along the roadside provided a great place for birds of the air to nest – Texas style.  And this wasn’t a occasional occurrence.  We passed by miles and miles of nests in every pole.  Where would the birds have made a home if we hadn’t needed telephone poles?  Then I began to wonder where they might nest when the wireless phenomenon comes to Texas.

A couple of hours later, we passed the most lovely grove of trees. It was an orchard of some kind.  I think that there is a market for spotter books for “Crops of the U.S.A.”  I am always interested in what THAT crop is beside the road I am traveling.imageOur destination for the day was Midland, TX and when we arrived we found some wonderful nourishment at a lovely Italian restaurant on the edge of town.  Following our early dinner, we drove past the George W. Bush boyhood home here in Midland.  He went to elementary school the years that he lived here.imageAnd from the George W. Bush boyhood home we drove out to the airport and found the Commemorative Air Force Museum.  The museum houses the largest known collection of “Nose Art.”  During WWII, men who flew the planes would often paint the noses of their aircraft with pictures of “pin-up girls” or cartoons or anything that gave the men confidence or was thought to bring them good luck.  The actual pieces of the fuselages of 36 planes and their original nose art is here in this museum.  Pictures remain of many of the planes and their art, but these are actually the very sides of the planes with their art painstakingly restored.  Pretty unusual.  And very neat.  Pictures were only allowed without flash – so I offer you the lovely tile motif in the entryway of the museum hall.imageAnd, the last landscape picture to remind us we are in Texas – bushes of cacti.  Bushes!  That make shade.  Of CACTI.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was stunned at this vacant lot next to the hotel filled with huge prickly pear cactus.imageWhat an amazing country we live in!  In the past week we have traveled from the lush Pacific Northwest through the Rockies; amazing rock formations; desert lands of New Mexico; to vacant lots full of cacti.  Isn’t creation wonderful?