Friday, January 2, 2009

Tennesse to New Mexico, or, Why Is Everything So Flat?






In the past two days, Josh and I have driven from Nashville, TN to Gallup, NM. They have been two very long days, during which I have made a few observations. First, everything is FLAT. From western Tennessee, to Oklahoma, to the Texas panhandle. We can see just about as far as the horizon allows, our view not being obstructed by hills or trees. Just grass. Grass and cows. And more grass. It makes me miss the hills, mountains and trees of Maine. And water. One would think water to be a pretty universally present item, however the west proves otherwise. Rivers are scarce and lakes are as foreign as Democrats in this area. Yesterdays (1/1) trip was rather uneventful. We spent most of our time staring out the window, marveling at the flatness of the area. Today's (1/2) section was much more interesting. We stopped at the 19-story cross just before Amarillo, TX. It was massive. We could see it on the horizon from roughly 20 miles away. However, it is surprisingly only the 2nd largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. I believe the behemoth cross in Rio Di Janeiro is the largest. We then stopped at the Cadillac Ranch, a true American icon. Located along Rt. 66 (which we are traveling on by the way), it is a series of 10 Cadillac cars, buried upside-down in the middle of a corn field. Over the years they have been painted, graffitied and drawn upon, amounting to a coating nearly a half an inch thick of paint, a collaborative piece of roadside Americana. I found a can of bright pink spray-paint and decided to throw the old Springfield College "Spirit-Mind-Body" logo on one of the cars (I figured Ruth would like that, I know how much she loves the SC triangle). From there we then traversed the remainder of Texas, and the majority of New Mexico. Upon entering New Mexico, we were greeted with a rather surprising piece of signage; Speed Limit: 75. Oklahoma and Texas had both been 70mph. But 75mph? Yikes. This meant an actual effective speed of 85-90mph for most motorists. Needless to say, we made good time. The climate also changed dramatically, leaving the flat grasslands in Texas, and giving way to more of a chaparral environment. Thick shrub growth and wind-blown hills shaped the countryside, providing a lovely scene at sundown. That's another thing about the west. The sky. I have never seen a bigger, brighter sky in all my life. Well tomorrow we arrive in California, at long last! Our route will take us through the remainder of New Mexico, all the way across Arizona, and down to sunny Southern California, where we will stop just an hour or so outside of the city.
Thanks for reading.


Here is a video of me painting the SC logo on a Cadillac. Enjoy.

9 comments:

Mrs. W said...

Hey guys and good morning!Your narrative of the mid-west to southwest was excellent. Being a mid-western girl, I could relate to the flatness of the land, cows and the fact that the area is pretty much "landlocked" --no water. New England is indeed a beautiful place. I'm proud of you and how you are moving through this experience seamlessly. Again, great pictures and the logo on the caddie was a priceless idea. Keep going and be safe.

MrT said...

Great photos of your journey. Are you taking any as textures and 3d references? You could build an impressive library of source material along the way. Are you using a SLR camera?

I bet Flynn will love the logo!

The Sickels said...

Mornin'Guys, I loved reading your narrative and it was good to see you, Matt, in the spray painting video. We miss you, but are so thrilled that you are having such an awesome experience. Everyone needs a great adventure to remember, and you two certainly are in the midst of a grand one. Have fun and stay safe.

The Masses said...

Matt you are a great writer, AAA travel will be calling you soon. The photos are great and the videographer is doing a fine job.
LA or bust!!! Have a great day!

Matthew R. Dale said...

Thanks for your support everyone!

Elliott- Yeah I am using my SLR, but no textures yet. I will be doing a lot of that in LA however. And I'm hoping Flynn will like the logo.

chrisparent said...

Hey Guys - Looks like your making good time! Looking forward to reading more of your posts...

J.Winkfield said...

good job making good time guys. Plus that spray paint idea is sick. See you Monday!

J. Masse said...

We just drove across the entire United States..........what did we come here for again?

fluxist8070 said...

Nice! It looks like you guys are having a blast! I was envious about Gnomon, but I think I am more envious of the journey. Nice Pics BTW.
I think you guys can see why I moved back east. I think it all comes downto what prople relate to their notions of "home."
The west is amazing, though. Enjoy it!
Have a great semester guys! Keep posting! This should be linked to the Springfield College website...
i will check back later.