Sunday, March 22, 2009


We are in Snyder arriving in west Texas this past Wednesday. As is usual in this part of the state in the spring, it has been very windy and today they are forecasting gusts up to 40 MPH. But, it is a warm wind and we are experiencing some increased humidity (as compared to AZ or NM) and it was 60’f when I got up at 5:30 am. We’re staying home today after several days of exploring the delightful spider web of highways around Snyder from Lubbock to Midland. Our travel east from Lakewood, NM on US 62/180 was not without incident. The last 30 miles Penny started doing her thing—dying when we slowed down or stopped at a light. She started back up each time and if Phil kept the RPM’s up she would run, so he would put her in neutral and keep his foot on the gas when we had to slow down or stop. Our sweet girl has an appointment tomorrow morning for diagnosis (Phil is pretty sure it is the alternator) and repair. Through these trials and tribulations, we do our best to keep our minds in a positive place because we know “this too will pass!”

This is NOT Verizon country! We have been on “extended network” for almost two weeks and it has taken a toll on my phone and it won’t hold a charge longer than one day if it is turned on. Yesterday, I charged it and turned it off so if you call, leave a voice mail and I’ll get back to you ASAP. For some reason, Phil isn’t having a similar problem with his Verizon phone … odd? This too will be resolved when we find a Verizon store!

When you hear the term, “flatlander” what do you think of? There is a Flatlander Festival in Goodland, KS and it is also the name of a country music band. Actually, this idiom originated many years ago as a derogatory term used by people from regions in Appalachia—primarily people from Vermont describing anyone from outside the area and I have decided it totally describes my mindset. I love this country! Take any highway and you can see for miles in all directions as you ride along. On the red and blue roads you will see farmlands, ranches, cattle, oil wells, old barns, antelope, and very few big trucks. Best of all are the small towns and I collect pictures of U.S. Post Offices so looking for them, we drive through and take a good look around. Phil always drives and he can wander all over the road and sightsee to his hearts content without my having anxiety attacks as happen to me on the interstates. We can see oncoming traffic miles in advance!

Did you know? When Texas was annexed in 1845, a resolution gave it the right to fly it’s flag at the same height as the national flag; Texas ranks number one in the U.S. in production of oil, natural gas, cattle, sheep, wool, rice, watermelon and cotton; Texas leads the nation in most farms (205,000) and most farmland (130,900,000 acres); Texas boasts 100 species of snakes, 16 of which are poisonous (southern copperhead, broad-banded copperhead. Trans-Pecos copperhead, Texas coral snake, western cottonmouth and 11 kinds of poisonous rattlesnakes)! Texas ranks first in the U.S. in highway mileage, with over 70,000 miles; Texas leads the nation in the sale of pickup trucks and this final factoid: along with birds that flock to the south in the winter, so do 100,000 or more retired folks, affectionately known as Winter Texans. They reportedly add $250 million to the Texas economy each winter. Phil and I are certainly doing our part LOL!

Lots of pictures this week—we have been on the go just about every day. Oh, and BTW, when I said, “I don’t do caves,” I should have listened. After everyone telling me I would be “just fine” down in Carlsbad Caverns I decided to go. BIG mistake! About three fourths of the way through the “Big Room” I was nearly felled by a major anxiety attack. I all but ran for the elevator (nearly 15 minutes away) and once I was at ground level, my nausea and shortness of breath disappeared. My funny man, Phil says, “No matter how bad you want to go, I will never take you into another cave!”

Until next time,


  1. enjoyed your pictures. thought it was funny though that you had it labeled "entrance" at Carlsbad instead of EXIT!!!! i went into Manmouth (sp?) Cave one time and was definitely ready to leave! i did enjoy the pictures of the planes---and tribute to Viet Nam vets.................

  2. enjoyed all of your pictures and esp. the tributes to the Viet Nam vets. thought it was funny though that you had the Carlsbad ENTRANCE instead of calling it the all important EXIT. i have been in one cave (Manmouth Cave in TN?) and although I enjoyed it THAT time, i don't think I have a need to go into another. sort of like river rafting---once was enough. :)+

  3. Anonymous1:31 PM

    Hi Aunt Joy,
    Regarding your cell phone: it's unlikely that being on "extended network" would overly drain your battery (and it doesn't seem to have had that effect on Phil's phone). How old is your battery? The ability to hold a charge deteriorates as the battery ages. I see the effect when my battery hits about 2 years old. Oh well, you were going to the Verizon store anyway, so they'll diagnose whatever the problem is; good luck with that!


    P.S. Thanks for all the pictures; the CAF looks similar to one we saw in Mesa, AZ in January, which was *extremely* interesting.

  4. Anonymous3:21 PM

    Hi Guys,
    Where the heck is Sydney Texas??

    Looks like you are having fun! Too bad about the cave experience. Did you enjoy it before the attack?

    Glad you saw the "alien" and the rinky dink museum in Roswell.


  5. Bruce and Carol: I knew better than to go down 750 ft below the surface of the earth, so I got what I deserved! Phil ia a Viet Nam veteran and we have seen some really nice memorials around the country. This one was especially nice.

    Julie: You may be right, my phone will be two years old in June. The CAF began as the "Confederate Air Force" (referring to Texas's cessation during the Civil War)but changed the word to "Commemorative" to be more politically correct. They have 120 aircraft hangered around the country so there may very well be a similar exhibit in Mesa.

    Sydney is a little over 200 miles due east of Artesia, NM on highway 62/180. The cave was awesome until I started feeling sick!

  6. No caves for me either cuz. I got talked into one ONCE thats all. Love your pictures. Glad its warm - NOT here. I have been in Albany, OR since last Thursday but am home now safe and sound. It was very fun.

  7. Carlsbad was a walk in the park compared to a cave in Montana once. Got way back in there with a guide and the electricity went off. Thinking about that to this day makes my stomach jump. You talk about claustrophobia setting in fast. The guide did have a flashlight but he went to get help and left us there in the dark. And hey! It was BLACK. Black is actually putting it lightly (no pun) as to how dark it was. Never again.

  8. You folks hang on to the good attitude. Nobody is entirely comfortable with everything, so stick to what you do enjoy, and just nibble around the edges of anything new until you find out!

    We enjoyed Carlsbad Canyon five years ago, and Roswell just last year. Nice to see those places again through your eyes!

  9. Please excuse my senior moment above! I have corrected the blog but will also correct my comment here!

    We are in SNYDER, TX not ... Sydney, TX.

    So sorry about that but hope this clears up the confusion LOL!

  10. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Hi folks,

    Enjoyed reading your blog. I always wanted to do what you're doing but never got around to it. Now that I could, I can't. But I do enjoyed reading of other's travel and experiences while on the go. You've got a good blog going here and I've enjoyed the read. Keep it up and keep on keeping on. Good luck.

  11. What a fun blog to follow. So glad I found it. It will be fun to see all your adventures. My husband and I can only dream about that until we can retire in a few years.

    Happy Trails