On Thursday and Friday, I headed with some friends to Mount Pleasant on an errand. It has been a while since I headed into east Texas, and I had forgotten what a different world it is from much of the rest of the state.
On Thursday night, we stayed with Peanut's folks up in Fort Worth, giving us a good jumping off point for the next day's journey. By 9:00 a.m., we were on the freeway heading east... through midmorning DFW traffic.
I spent 20 years navigating Austin's traffic messes, and I don't miss it at all. Though we were skirting the city areas, we were still having to deal with erratic drivers, bad signage and a police force that seemed to be stationed every half mile to catch violators. By the time we got around Dallas and headed up I-30, I could feel my head throbbing and my neck was tight.
And then it got easier.
East Texas is the green version of west Texas. The people tend to be mostly rural; but, they have lots more water than our neighbors out west. And trees,,,, lots of trees.
From the time we crossed Lake Ray Hubbard, the landscape changed and became more welcoming. Now, admittedly, the interstate highway system is not a great way to see the countryside. The view from a freeway is not intended to entice motorists; but, rather to encourage them onward to their destination. Still, there were actually trees in the highway right of way, which is a pleasant change from the expanses of grass usually seen from the window while we're heading down the road.
Mount Pleasant was a particular surprise. I learned later that it was the location of the first Wal-Mart built in Texas, which tells you it was ahead of the game for burgs. Driving through town, there were pine trees, landscaped lawns, neat store fronts, and a lot of industrial development. We were headed to Priefert Manufacturing, far on the south end of town from the interstate, so we got to see a good deal of outer edges of the city.
The folks over at Priefert were as friendly and helpful as the folks at the feed store in Mason. They chatted amiably, asked questions about Mason, and generally were just good folks. They even gave us some great caps, and talked about the National Finals Rodeo out in Vegas in December. Needless to say, we got along well.
We had plenty of lunch options to choose from, and by 2:30, we were back on the road heading home. Though I had enjoyed the brief visit to Mount Pleasant, I was not disappointed to see it receding in the rearview mirror.
Of course, that put us going through downtown Dallas and Fort Worth just prior to Friday afternoon rush hour. We got to Cisco by 6:00, turned and headed south (meeting all the folks from Early headed up for a football game), and finally landed in Brownwood just after 8:30 and grabbed a bite of supper.
The interesting thing about road trips in Texas is that you go through so many geographically diverse areas, with so many different types of people, and yet, you're still in our big state. When I'm in New England, and equivalent trip would have taken one from Boston, Massachusetts, up into New Hampshire, and half way up the coast of Maine. The landscape would have changed only a bit, and the people would still be, in Texas viewing, Yankees.
I'm glad to be back home, and the next time I decide to go to another country, maybe I'll try the Texas Gulf coast. They don't have strict visa requirements and they speak the language!
It’s all just my opinion.