Archive for September, 2012

Do Mess with Texas!

Jeff and I recently left home and garden in the capable hands of friends and took off on our vacation. Part of that vacation had to include my attendance at the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference in Dallas, so we camped our way to New Mexico and then traveled to Palo Duro State Park near Amarillo.

Palo Duro is called the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” and it runs Arizona’s Grand Canyon a close second in rugged beauty. Spectacular place. I even submitted to a two mile hike before breakfast one day so that I could see more of the sights–and that’s saying something!

The Texas I’ve discovered on this trip is much more beautiful than I expected. I’ve only passed through bits of the state previously, so this longer stay has been a revelation. Texas–at least this part of Texas–is gorgeous.

But, I want to register a complaint about this state: what’s with the bathrooms? All along Texas highways, you find lots of clean, shaded picnic areas–with no bathrooms. Really, folks? This seems practical to you?

At the state park, we were given a pleasant site in a cluster of a dozen tent sites and guess what? No bathrooms at the site. You have to get in your car and drive to the facilities, which are definitely not close.

And what happens if you need to get up and commune with nature during the night? I’ve hidden behind a bush many, many times over my sixty plus years of life, and in principal I don’t object. But the first night we stayed at Palo Duro, an enormous tarantula who was dragging a large locust strolled past the picnic table where Jeff and I were playing pinochle. And when I say enormous, I’m not kidding!

The next evening, we saw two more, though thankfully, they were smaller. Tarantulas are far, far larger than spiders, and goodness knows, they’re fascinating enough that I like to watch them. But the point is, I don’t want to lower tender portions of my anatomy into close proximity with the ground if there is any chance at all that one of these hairy-legged critters is nearby. Perish the thought!

So, if I were to mess with Texas, which I widely encouraged not to do, it would be to suggest more bathrooms–and perhaps fewer tarantulas! Other than that, it’s a great place!