The thoughts and reflections that come up as you drive in the vast openness of the West has always fascinated me. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, the landscape always gives me time for pause. Today on our two-day jump to Phoenix we go from the Texas Hill country, just about the most beautiful part of Texas in my opinion, to the gentle shrubbery carpet plateaus and then finally to the rugged bare rock and desert appearance that is the far reaches around El Paso and beyond. This is a most fortuitous time to travel in the Hill Country because it’s the month of April and that means wildflowers will be in bloom and lining the rural highways and county roads. Especially the Bluebonnets; the state flower. Oft you will see a field of bluebonnets and it gives the impression that a bluebonnet comforter or duvet has been laid out there in a grand size fashion. Throw in a variety of other wildflowers of yellow, purple, pink, white and red and it’s just hypnotizing as you drive by. Primroses and Indian Blankets, Mexican Hats, Buffalo Bur, Silver-leaf Nightshade, Plateau Skullcap, Antelope Horns, Yellow Flax and Drummond’s Phlox to name but a few. The sky is open and wide too and today it is showing off. A rich blue above our heads and in the distance on the horizon the colors of land and sky meet in a dazzling eye-pleasing canvas. We get a good display of nature at the onset because we take US 290 West out of Austin that will eventually hook up with I-10 and then the race is on with the now high speed limits that Texas has. I will admit there was one stretch of I-10, probably in an economically deprived county, where the road was a bit unsafe to travel on at such a high rate of speed. Both lanes were showing wear and tear with pock-mocks and fair size depressions that sent even the stiffest shocks to react like a boat on rough seas. If the state wants high speed rates to further commerce and be pragmatic about traversing these large swaths of miles between cities and towns, then the roads have to be made safe for such allowances. Thus is the responsibility of government no matter how small and unobtrusive some factions of groups advocate for. This is for everybody’s safety. Personally I get burned out after traveling at such high speeds so much, also it makes that gas just evaporate away at a rapid pace. Maybe if I had a nice comfy coupe or sporty little ‘mean machine’ to cruise in I might think otherwise but the scenery is so gorgeous and I’m in no exceptional hurry to get where I need to be. Deming, New Mexico is our first stop to rest and recharge and after spending a quiet night there we continue on to Phoenix. Arriving in my former hometown from way-back, it’s the usual; check into our hotel, chill and practice a bit then get down to the club for load-in and stay for the duration. We have us another good crowd in Phoenix for a Tuesday night and we’re not sounding too bad for having so many miles under us the past two days. Phoenix has and is still very good to me and for that I am so grateful. Like I’ve said before – No matter how big or small I get, I’ll always come back to Phoenix. Our next stop is Laughlin, NV. I’ve passed by it many times on the way up to Las Vegas, but this time we make that right turn off US 93 and we go there. We’ll be there for 11 days playing two festivals that run consecutive weeks. This should be an interesting time.
Till then. – chris duarte