After five thousand miles on the road, we feel we have seen enough driving to know the good from the bad. Washington drivers, if not as skilled as some, are laid back. We haven’t much to say of Oregonians as we didn’t see too many while we were driving through the state. Californian’s get a bad rap, but on the whole proved to be pretty competent. It doesn’t really matter how you drive in Arizona and New Mexico since there’s never anyone around to see.
But now we are in Texas. We entered this great state in El Paso, which has a wild reputation and so when we were cut off by someone in a large white Texas Edition Ford 750, we weren’t surprised. After all, living across the border from Juarez, perhaps you really do need all that truck.
As the long roads stretched out past El Paso, looking very long, and feeling even longer, we began to notice a lot of tire shreds on the side of the highway. We were used to seeing retreads from semis and the occasional leftovers of a blowout, but not at this frequency. Pretty soon we were weaving and dodging through what felt like the tire graveyard of America.
Somewhere past the mile post 2001, we began to see mysterious scorched patches on the shoulder of the highway. These blackened, rubble strewn, piles of ash sometimes even extruded into the lanes of traffic. They looked for all the world like an incident of the famous Texas temper mixed with the famous Texas love for large caliber weaponry. Someone seemed to have been targeting cars with a howitzer.
In the month of driving pre-Texas, we did not see a single car pulled over to the side of the road with a flat tire. Once we entered Texas, we not only saw innumerable cars with flats; we saw cars with broken axles, cars with tires that seemed to have detonated with the force of a small nuclear bomb, cars with all four windows shattered and scattered across five lanes of traffic, cars with their wheels rubbed to tiny amputated stubs, and cars sunning themselves belly up.
On our way out of San Antonio there was work being done on Interstate 10. We had not yet merged onto the freeway and were traveling parallel on the frontage road. We were treated to an excellent vintage of Texan driving when a stampede of white Texas Edition Ford 750s rumbled across the grass median to avoid the slowing traffic on the interstate. Not surprisingly, traffic on the frontage road also began to slow. Equally unsurprising: the stampede of white Texas Edition Ford 750s rumbled back across the median to the freeway. The median continued to serve as an on-ramp, off-ramp, and passing lane for the next seven hundred miles.
Another signature Texan maneuver involves using your large white Texas Edition Ford 750 to push the car in front of you so that it will go faster. If the car in front of you happens also to be a large white Texas Edition Ford 750 which is too big for your V37 engine to push, you whip over to the right and try to drive over the smaller vehicle in that lane. We would not have believed such a maneuver possible (or legal) had we not seen it with our own eyes…every two or three minutes.
Luckily, our vehicle is nimble and we have managed to survive this far. Pray for us.