Saturday, September 29, 2007

Son Volt said it best ...

One of my favorite bands, Son Volt, has a song called Looking At The World Through the Windshield. The first part of the chorus goes like this ...
Oh I'm looking at the world through a windshield
Seeing everything in a little bit different light
Watching it fly by me on the right

And that is what this post is. A mostly pictorial view of my trip home from Norman, Oklahoma. Only the pics were to my left and they are of limited quality since they came from my cellphone.

This first shot is just outside of Weatherford, Oklahoma. There are probably sixty or seventy of these wind generators alongside I-40.
It is windy all across the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma more days than not, and wind power is the latest greatest thing. Although I haven't noticed our electric bills getting any cheaper despite the free natural resource. And when I say windy, I mean windy. Thirty and forty mile an hour winds are commonplace.

Which is exactly why I choose to live in the bottom of a canyon. Sometimes it is eerie to hear the howl overhead and not be able to feel even a breeze. Especially at night.

The above shot are of the giant cross at Groom, Texas. The billboard claims this is the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. It stands 190 feet tall and can be seen from twenty miles away. You can click to find out more. So I've been told Zach Thomas a middle linebacker for the Miami Dolphins had a lot to do with the construction. Rumor has it he fronted the money for the project. Zach Thomas grew up in the small town of White Deer which is nearby and played college football for Texas Tech.

This was my view for much of the trip home.

I got behind this cattle truck who was doing about eighty five and together we ate up the miles.

For those of you who've never followed a cattle truck let me tell you there are a few drawbacks.

Inside there are two levels and both of them are crammed full of living, breathing -- crapping, hamburgers on the hoof.

The truck in vented so they can breath and stay cool. Those same vents let out a hearty aroma along with various body fluids that squirt right out. Following too closely can lead to an extremely filthy windshield. I only pulled up this close to snap a couple of pics and then I backed away. But not because of the smell. Here in Texas we refer to the earthy scent of cow shit as the smell of money. We are used to it for the most part since there are some massive feedlots in the area. The wind has a tendency to carry the smell for miles.

If you'll notice there is a tuft of brown hairy cowhide sticking out one of the holes at the top of the trailer. I tried to snap a pic of one particular cow that kept sticking its tongue out a hole, but getting a picture, holding my vehicle straight, and not running into the back of somebody else proved to be too difficult. I also skipped taking a picture of the large green stains down and back a bit. I figure most of y'all have imaginations strong enough to paint your own image.

Yeah I know. There's not much exciting here, but then again there's not much exciting along this particular stretch of I-40. By the way much of this was also part of the famed Route 66.


Katrina said...

Yes! Cattle truck are a daily scene here in the Texas panhandle and most of the drivers are gritty, no holes barred type of guys that demand their place on the road. On my daily drive to work I get to experience the stupidity of these guys. Just yesterday on Hwy 60 I watched a truck loaded with cattle blast through a red light at 70 mph and barely miss a couple of cars. Unfortunately this is almost a daily occurrence. This intersection has been the scene of several fatal wrecks. Our wonderful highway dept. plans to make an overpass at this hazardous intersection--problem is they won't start it for a couple years!

I told my husband I want two things for my birthday. A wind turbine and a producing oil well in my front yard. Now is that asking too much?

jjdebenedictis said...

That first picture is beautiful!

And thank you kindly for not giving us a shot of the green stains, which would not have been beautiful. Poor cow-beastie.

Brooke said...

Ok..."hamburgers on the hoof" has to be the best line I have ever heard in my life.

B.E. Sanderson said...

We get similar trucks and smells in eastern CO. Nothing quite like being stuck behind one of those things on a two-lane highway under construction on a hot day. There's nothing you can do to breathe good air. Ack.

And when the wind blows from the direction of the feedlot, the whole town smells like over-ripe cow pies. Unless it blows from the pig farm.


Jason said...

I moved to Kansas City thinking "big city" and our first house was as far from a herd of cattle as the houses Travis and I grew up in. I couldn't believe it. No matter if I'm in lil' Amarillo or big ol' K.C... I'm still only a block from the walking Big Macs.

preTzel said...

There is an e - mail circulating about Iowa right now and this is #3 on the list:

3. They are cattle. That's what they smell like to you. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-80 goes east and west, I-29 & I-35 go north and south. Pick one.

LOL! I've also heard of the "hamburger on the hoof", the "porkchop on the hoof", and a sundry of other little sayings. LOL! I grew up on a farm and lived just south of a pig farmer so that smell is nothing to me. My boys? When we drive out in to the country they say things like "What the HELL is that stench? I'm going to PUKE?" I say "That's fresh country air boys." LOLOL!

Charles Gramlich said...

And to think, I'd planned on having hamburgers for supper.

Travis Erwin said...

Charles don't let my psot stop you. They'll run me right out of the state if someone thinks I've ruined beef's good name.

I do live in the town that sued Oprah for that very thing.

And in truth I don't care if my cows are mad, happy, or sad as long as their tasty.

Design Goddess said...

That's not the only ginormous cross in the US. I passed a couple on my way to Atlanta from Ohio and one was located right beside "Adult World!" Seriously, you can't make up stuff like this!

Glad you got back safe and sound!

Tena said...

Travis, honey, I once spent the weekend in Norman and it was three days too long.

Your photos are nice, though.

:P fuzzbox said...

Nothing quite like getting stuck behind a shit hauler.

Appletini said...

Thanks for the warning about following a cattle truck. There aren't many of those around here, so I have never had the opportunity.
Now, if the opportunity arises, I never will :)

LiSh said...

Love the wind farms.. but I get kinda hypnotised by them, way too easily distracted I know.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


Say what you will, I assure you that you will never get between me and my hamburger.


notsostonecold said...

I hope you didnt get any of that @#%$ on my truck!