Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Driving from Calgary to Dallas

You may wonder why an LSP should break with protocol and head North to Canada every once and a while. The answer's simple, to see two junior LSPs and this time to take them to Texas for a summer of swimming, shooting and riding. So, after the deerstruck car was fixed, which took three weeks, I loaded up the mileage vehicle and got on the road for the Lonestar State.

on the way to Helena

It's a long journey, though easy enough. We drove from Calgary to Lethbridge and entered Montana on Hwy 2, which turns into 15. Normally you head cross country to Billings from Great Falls, but the route was under construction so I stayed on 15 and went through the mountains to Helena/Butte before going East on 90 to Billings. A longer way to go, but worth it, I think, for the views.

awesome Ranchester

From Billings you pick up 90/87 and drive South through Wyoming and Colorado. I'd hoped to make it to Casper but had to stop in Ranchester because I was paranoid about hitting another deer on the pitch black roads. We stayed at old style motel.


Then it was time to get back on the road and take 25 through Denver, ending up at Raton, the City of 21 Motels. I liked Raton, in a 'small town in the mountains with endless motels,' kind of way and after breakfast we pushed on to Texas via 87 to Amarillo then taking 287 to Dallas/Fort Worth, where we were met with a rain storm and oddly nuclear blast-like clouds.


It's a good journey and not hard if you do it in three days; it certainly gives an impression of the sheer size of the country and a little of its variety. America isn't just an endless suburban subdivision bisected by strip malls, though it can give that impression, but a huge continent with vast areas of wilderness and open country. Much of this has been settled recently and the newness of the enterprise is striking; altogether different from much of Europe and the East Coast, for example.

I like it, but here's a question. Why is it that the country towns you drive through in Southern Alberta seem prosperous and well put together and then, in the space of miles, you cross the border and things get pretty ramshackle? For that matter, why should so many small Texan towns, in the Panhandle for example, seem like rural versions of Detroit when their Alberta equivalents don't? 

A mystery to me, no shortage of oil and gas in either place.

Drive safe,



bluesun said...

I thought those pictures of MT looked familiar... Butte's where I went to college!

My only theory for the decrepit appearance of the towns in northern MT is that there are quite a few reservations up there. Don't think that would hold true for Texas, though...

LSP said...

I like Montana - not that I had a chance to see much of it. I think it'd be neat to go hunting there for a week or so.

But as for the falling down towns... a phenomenon.

Silverfiddle said...

We've still got lots of wide open spaces here out west.

LSP said...

I have to say I really liked the look of it, Silverfiddle. Great place to ride, I'd imagine.