Oil Country

Trip Start Jun 01, 2009
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Trip End Sep 22, 2009


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Where I stayed
Sereniy RV Park

Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, September 18, 2009

September 16, 2009 (Wednesday) – Midland/Odessa, TX (300 miles)



They call it "the smell of money". I don't know who came up with the phrase but the gas wells in this area still stink.  I can remember coming through several years ago and seeing most of the oil pumps sitting idle.  Now, with the cost of a barrel of oil, I guess production is going a little better. 

There’s really not much to say about this area other than it is flat.  However, even this sparsely vegetated plain does have a few attractions.  About 30 miles west of Odessa, you’ll find Monahans Sandhills State Park with almost 4,000 acres of sand dunes.  The area was first discovered by Spanish explorers 400 years ago and now offers camping and other activities, including sand surfing.  Texas Camel Treks are also held at the park.  Yes, I said camels.   Secretary of War, Jeff Davis got Congress to agree to the $30K expenditure to bring Arabian camels to the west to advance exploration.  The first ones arrived in Indianola, TX in 1857.  At the end of the Civil war, interest in the animals waned and they were auctioned off in 1863.  I don’t know how long camels live, but I don’t think the ones in the area today are the originals.

In addition to the park, there is also the Odessa Meteor Crater and the Confederate (later changed to) Commemorative Air Force Museum.  There is also the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum that probably bears a visit too.  We have not been to any of these; I tell you about them so you will know there is something out here.  We DO plan to return, without “dawg”, and spend some time getting to know this area a little better.  Lots of history here, folks!  And it was even home, for a time, to 2 presidents and a governor. 

September 17, 2009 (Thursday) – Weatherford, TX (280 miles)



When my mother “suggested” I reroute our trip to spend a few days visiting her, I picked this stop because it was the appropriate driving distance for a day’s journey and kept us from traveling through Dallas and Ft. Worth during rush hour traffic.  Examining the map later, I discovered we would be camped a short distance from the home of my great aunt, Jean, and her daughter, Linda.  Jean was married to my Grandmother Smith’s youngest brother and she and Uncle Leonard had five children.  I always liked going to their house because there would be kids my age to play with.  I am a whopping 2 days older than Linda!  For the last several years, Linda and I have kept in contact via email and she has been following us on this trip blog, so I emailed her that I’d like to visit.  Wendell’s back wanted to relax after a day of driving, so I left him and Nitchie and drove the 20 miles to Springtown, TX.  The drive north on Hwy 51 out of Weatherford was very scenic.  At times, the elevation is such that you can see for miles and everything is very green since they’ve had good rains lately.  Aunt Jean and Linda welcomed me with open arms, telling me how much I look like my mother.  We spent the next several hours eating and talking, and talking, and talking.  Being the gracious southern hostess, Aunt Jean had prepared homemade chicken and dumplings.  What a treat!  I truly can’t remember the last thing I had good old fashioned chicken and dumplings, and they were so good, I helped myself to seconds.  I think we talked about every member of the Pennington family, plus the Smith’s and even the Fry’s and McKinney’s.  Aunt Jean is a couple of years older than my mom but they were very close in their younger days.  In fact, Aunt Jean and Uncle Leonard borrowed my mom and dad’s car to run off and get married.  And yes, my dad tied cans to the bumper. 

Extracting a promise from the gals to visit us in Spring Branch soon, I pulled myself away and returned to the RV park with leftovers for Wendell in hand.  He was already in bed when I arrived but he knows what he’s looking forward to lunch tomorrow.   I’m sure I could have stayed for days and we never would have run out of people and things to talk about.  Despite its brevity, the visit was a blessing for me…..and I hope for them, as well.  I just wish mom could have been with us, but I know she’ll be happy to see the photos I’m bringing.

Linda, and Aunt Jean, thanks for a wonderful evening.
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