Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fourth of July

I took a drive through East Texas over the fourth of July holidays. Texas highways are looking good. The popular motorcycle route down the Montgomery Trace on highway 149 and through the Sam Houston National Forest was very nice. Everything was very green and the roads were smooth and traffic was light. On the leg between Huntsville and Crockett on highway 19 they have completed construction over the Trinity River near Livingston and all the way north to Crockett. They are working on highway 21 between Crockett and Alto. It was unfortunate to see they had trimmed the canopy along the route in the Davy Crockett National Forest, but I am sure it will grow back quickly. I was happy to see they did not disturb the peculiar "Pepper Tree Planted in 1868" during the road construction. It was fenced off with the orange netting they use during this type of work to protect sensitive areas. Driving past Rusk State Mental Hospital always gives me the creeps, but the crepe myrtles in the easement on highway 79 between Rusk and Jacksonville were in bloom with spectacular color.

All of the world politics of oil aside, it was encouraging to see the oil patch towns like Kilgore and Carthage on the upturn. The roughnecks, machinists, electricians and mechanics who support their families probably don't give much thought to politics, only worry about how they can give their families a better lifestyle. The dusty oil wells had fresh new
gravel pads, access roads, and new fences, and the equipment to pump oil from the ground, once still, was bobbing slowly up and down. These remind me of those funny little Bobbing Drinking Bird toys that appear to have solved the problem of perpetual motion. I even saw some locations flaring off natural gas. These towns looked alive again, with new home construction, fewer boarded up buildings, and new infrastructure. Everything seemed to be opened up, washed clean and freshly painted. The people in these towns seemed more friendly somehow, maybe a little less leery of strangers, less suspicious that you may be one of the outsiders keeping them opressed and downtrodden - one of "them". l wondered where these people laid low during the long down time for wildcatters and how they managed to weather the storm for so long. I felt happy for them, but I still winced when I had to pay $2.83 per gallon to keep moving down the road. At least a small portion of the record profits that oil companies are making seem to be trickling down to the average Joe. It should be more for all the suffering a robust oil business has wrought.


At 10:59 PM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

Roy Bedicek, in A Texas Naturalist, wrote about the bountiful Texas coast, with fish, shellfish, and turtles to keep the Karankawas in perpetuity, despoiled for a few generations of oil wealth. As the topsoil of the entire state was washed into the gulf by a mere century of farming and ranching.


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