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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DAY 126 & 127: SAN ANGELO - BALLANGER - VALERA, TEXAS

Has been 3 days since NO VERIZON service. How quickly I forget details of my walk of only three days ago. Looking back - West - from US 67 to SAN ANGELO, TEXAS...a modest size city of 100,000 or so with all the BIG stores and malls and what one expects of a city. I do not enjoy walking through big towns...give me the wee places any day.

Ten miles outside SAN ANGELO is another major US Highway off to ABILENE, TEXAS, about 50 miles North.

This area has many flowers in bloom...these are particularly eye catching.

US 67 is no different than other Texas roads...they go on forever. We are about 500 miles East of EL PASO, TEXAS ...seemed we just left there and already have walked just in Texas the same distance as Washington and Oregon combined. This is a really BIG place.
Not many farms out here. The hills are beginning. I am told that as I walk further East when finally reaching US 84 in a couple days, the hills really get tough. I suppose so, but so were the hills of the Oregon Coast...and we survived that. Hope the rising humidity does not get so heavy that I don't have time to acclimate my body to the new burden.

Small village of ROWENS, TEXAS...a Restaurant...where I stopped for an excellent BBQ Beef on a Bun with coleslaw and a few LARGE Ice Waters.

Outside of ROWENS, TEXAS BBQ Restaurant...was a nice place...just a bit dark inside...I like to SEE what I am eating, but could not...just shows how trusting I am becoming.
These days, I find myself swallowing things a short time ago I would NEVER put near my mouth.
BALLANGER, TEXAS is a rather large OLD town. I was so tired when I got there, wanted to hole up at Wal*Mart for the night. They said OK, but only out in the Sand Pit...a big empty dirt field full of really big pot holes and blowing sand.

Instead, I drove into the small residential district of old stately homes and park SPIA under a big shady tree next to a home's backyard fence. Nobody came told us to move...and we were gone before sunrise anyway.

Downtown BALLANGER, TEXAS...even has about 4 intersections with Signal Lights.

US 67 outside BALLANGER. Leaving the town, we climbed into a series of rolling hills...some quite steep, but thankfully less than a mile or so long...remember, if I walk DOWN a steep hill, must climb BACK up that hill to retrieve SPIA.
Lots steeper than it looks...still have not mastered the "depth / steepness" with my camera.

A bit better, but still leaves a lot to be desired.
Shock of all shocks: nearly every "Draw", "Creek", or "Wash", had water in it...not "running" water, but substantial amounts showing VERY recent rainfall activity.

This waterway is called MUSTANG CREEK...the entire countryside is deep green.

MUSTANG CREEK - MIDDLE FORK.

From inside every bridge, large and small...indeed, from inside every PIPE under the roadway comes a cloud of Sparrows...very much like Bats coming out of a cave.

These little guys fly in loose formation, diving, spinning, and twirling about 25 feet in front of me. If I move along a few feet, the entire flock moves to keep me "centered". Holding out my hand, several have come within 5 feet or so to get an up close look.
Last Summer, I experienced the same Sparrow activity walking along the Snake River.

Nearly every day or two, a policeman - usually a Sheriff - stops to check me out...mostly they already know who I am and what I'm doing out on their road. It is VERY considerate of them to keep an eye on me and on SPIA & SAM. They always accept our Business Card and say they pass the word down the line to keep an eye out for us.

This Sheriff Deputy commented on the recent rains and heavy clouding. He says they have been very lucky about Tornadoes...many have been spotted dropping down from the clouds, but none have yet been reported as having touched ground...

I have been commenting on a weather change in the making. It has become VERY humid in the past 48 hours and a heavy brown-grey mist is settling on everything about a mile out...I can feel a storm about to descend upon us.

VALERA, TEXAS. One business...a Restaurant...and a Post Office. The other two garage-size buildings are closed until September...one is a food place...the other a candy place.

The Post Office.

A Ranch House with Pickup Truck and Horse Trailer. This Pickup Truck / Horse Trailer combination is common on Texas highways. Most every day, dozens go by...one way loaded with cattle, sheep, or horses; the return trip empty. My guess is some unlucky critters have just been delivered to "market".

With all the recent rain - of about a week ago -, this part of Texas is a-bloom in color.

A common so-so plant suddenly explodes in a gorgeous blooming pallet.

Well well...that is a bit better...the photograph of a real hill. Yes, I went down it and back up it - against the 30 mph wind. That wind just sucks the moisture right of my body...then I drink too much...then I sweat from the lingering evening heat...my blanket and Pillows soaked thru in an hour. (I use three pillows...support my head on two and hug the third...kinda like my security bankie.)

Some US 67 Jigging and Jagging.

The hills are not enormous, but are steep and "often".

And, finally, Highway Art...a full 20 miles from nowhere.

DAILY REPORT: 2-Day update: Walked 70 miles or so...the humidity is not being fun.

SEE YOUR IMPACT. ORG: Credit 70 miles @ $0.02 per mile - $1.40 for the 2 days.

Tomorrow (which is today, Tuesday, May 24,), will walk from VALERA, TEXAS to BROWNWOOD, TEXAS, where we will pick up US 84, following it East all the way into Louisiana, Crossing the Mississippi River at NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI.

The locals tell me US 84 gets mighty hilly as we drop down into the Mississippi River Valley. We shall see ! !

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