The Waltz has Ended
May 9, 2010
|After two months, our waltz across Texas has ended. We didn’t think we would spend so much time in Texas but it just worked out that way especially with our one-month workamping stint in San Antonio. So, what did we think about Texas and would we go back? Well, we have mixed feelings.
First, the good. In the areas that we traveled, nearly all the roads were in excellent condition. This was such a contrast to some sections of the highways in California such as I-5 and I-680 which need major repair. Texas also has an interesting history because of its proximity to Mexico and its land grants from the 1800’s that still have an impact on the state today (more on that topic later). We enjoyed our visits to the Alamo and the surrounding missions, and various museums such as LBJ Ranch, The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg and the museums in Lubbock. We were lucky to be in the state when the wildflowers were in full bloom. The Hill Country was just bursting with magnificent colors partially due to the seeding from the Texas highway department but mostly from the winter rains (Texas had been in a two year drought). We enjoyed delicious BBQ dishes of pulled pork, brisket and beef. Good thing we had our cholesterol checked before our visit! Plus, except for the relentless wind, the weather was good.
Now, what we didn’t like. A couple of things stand out in my mind and I touched on two of them briefly in a previous blog. The state is far too conservative for us and the further into the state we traveled, the more conservative it got. We had more than one person call us “tree huggers” when they learned we lived in California and the conversation turned interesting afterwards. People were polite but not overly-friendly to us former Californians.
Secondly, the lack of public land, due to the land grants from the 1800’s, has an impact on outdoor enthusiasts (that include us Rvers). As was pointed out to me, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Texas. Think about it – not too much public land or parks to drain the budget! The impact, however, is admission to state parks is very expensive – generally $5-$6 per person per day. We bought a yearly-pass for $60 which helped but the daily rate is a lot of money for entrance to a state park.
As former Californians, we are used to pedestrians having the right of way when crossing a street. In Texas, pedestrians are obstacles to cars! We almost got ran over by a driver making a left hand turn so we learned really fast to watch out for cars.
Would we travel and stay here again? Well, if we head east, we wouldn’t have too much of a choice but to cross Texas. However, I don’t see myself “wintering” in Texas. Right now, Arizona seems like the most likely place.
So, can you tell from the pictures where we are right now? Yup, we’re in Roswell, New Mexico home to numerous UFO sighting back in 1947. The International UFO Museum and Research Center is a unique museum that chronicles the alleged incidents. The museum gets a lot of visitors, both nationally and internationally. The city also has a number of other free museums which we didn’t expect.
The Roswell Museum and Art Center was one of these museums we visited. This museum was a mixed-bag of exhibits but I liked the exhibit on Robert H. Goddard’s collection of liquid propelled rockets and a replica of his workshop. Back in the 1920s, Mr. Goddard felt that it was possible to build and propel a rocket into space. At the time, he was ridiculed for his ideas. His original testing area was in an orchard in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was later forced to move to another location (Roswell) after one of his rockets blew up and caused a fire. The local citizens in Worcester were not very happy. In Roswell he continued to build and test rockets. Mr. Goddard is credited with building the first liquid-fueled rocket and is considered the father of rocketry. Interesting side note, the Germans during WWII copied Mr. Goddard papers to develop the V2 rockets.
Roswell also has an interesting zoo. Animals that can not be returned to the wild (due to injuries) can be found at this zoo. Local residents ‘sponsor’ an animal so it reduces the maintenance costs for the city. We have mixed feeling about this zoo. Eagles are supposed to fly; bears are supposed to roam and hunt themselves and should not be in cages. On the other hand, these wildlife were saved from certain death. Is this zoo a good quality of life? I can see both sides of this issue.
We are looking forward to less windy areas. Stay tuned to our next adventure.