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Back to the West

Friday, 17 Jan 2003
written by Teresa

Dumas sunset Our last night in the Lone Star State was spent in the small town of Dumas, where the people extend their hospitality to passing RV'ers by providing free parking spaces, complete with electricity and a dump station. The town doesn't look particularly prosperous and maybe that's partly what makes the gesture special.

We were there overnight and three things struck us about the place. The first was that this is another town that hides its supermarkets. It took us a good half an hour to find one tucked in the back corner of the only strip mall in town. We are beginning to wonder if this is a Texan phenomenon or whether we both need our eyes testing. The second was the number of police cars that we saw in a very short space of time. Having investigated the matter further, I discovered that the town only has four patrol cars so I can only conclude that either they drive about a lot or we saw them all a number of times during our supermarket quest. There was also an unusual connection between law enforcement and Chica Blanca's Mexican Grille, where we ate that evening. The proprietors have recently restored a beacon light on the roof of their building that in the fifties was used to summon the sheriff from where ever he was in town. The third remarkable feature in this town of thirteen thousand people is the enormity of the Baptist Church, which appeared to take up a whole block, and was surely large enough to hold the entire population.

Heading northwest out of Texas, elevations climb and vistas open as the outlying ripples of the Rockies make their impression. Miles of perfectly flat, straight roads give way to undulations, hills and curves as the tarmac follows the contours of the land. The high altitudes result in small pockets of snow clinging to the earth in sheltered spots, defying the weak winter sun, determined to see the spring. The land is parched yellow and it's hard to believe that the various grazing herds find very much to sustain them.

In the open wildness, the snow-capped peaks of the mountains appear in the distance. While the sun may lack in warmth, the light is startlingly clear and bright, accentuating every line of the landscape. It is beautiful in a way that momentarily stops my breathing, fills me with energy, makes me glad to be alive and gives me a strange feeling of coming home.

Denver vista So, here we are back in Denver where Sterling has business meetings for a few days. Staying in a hotel while our "house" is parked outside is a little odd but I'm definitely not complaining about the endless hot water or the shower, which seems large enough for a family of six to perform their ablutions at the same time, should they wish to. I've come to the conclusion that all cities are big metropolitan sprawls but many have redeeming features to recommend them. The Mile High City has consistently wonderful weather with more days of sunshine per year than Florida. Having said that, the temperatures are somewhat different and the white covered mountains to the west of the city are testimony to that fact, as well as providing stunning views from various vantage points.

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