Wednesday, June 4, 2008

On the Road Again: ending our tour

On our way home after we passed all of the snow-capped mountains, we enjoyed the many different sites and features of West Texas. I've often joked about the smells around the general Lubbock area (+/- 100 miles in any direction).

Smells north of Lubbock.
We passed by about a 1/2 mile of penned and packed-in cattle along the way. NOTE: If you come across this many cattle in one place, make sure you have the air on recirculate BEFORE the aromas have a chance to enter your vehicle!

Smells south of Lubbock--oil.We passed by many of these oil rigs. The field this one is standing in is probably a newly planted cotton crop. We also passed by many co-op cotton gins.

West Texas scenery--massive wind farms. Atop mesas...
...and in fields. Thousands of these wind turbines are "planted" for miles and miles, so you can't see the beginning or end of them.
To better grasp the idea of how large the turbines are, check out the barn in this picture. The turbines are 328 feet tall. I know I'm getting very obviously nerdy here, but you can click here see how they compare in size to a Boeing 747.
This broken blade will remind you why you don't see these wind farms closer to town. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near these things if one of the blades broke or flew off!
Here's the Smiling Bridge in (yes, it's true) Happy, TX. Joe calls it Smiling Bridge since it is notoriously known for its bowing precast concrete beams that turn up at the ends--like a smile! Okay, you've gotta look pretty closely. As you can imagine, this is NOT a good thing! Just remember, you really don't want a bridge to smile at you! Frowns (or arches), in this case, are better. Even with an untrained eye, I noticed it right away. This picture really doesn't show how obvious the beam is sagging.

Hmmm...I think I better check deep into my pocket protector-covered shirt pocket to find something to measure my nerd factor here! I'm wondering why I bothered to post this picture. I guess to show what life is like being married to a structural engineer. Stopping on the side of a road to take a picture of a very plain bridge is not unusual for us! Knocking on most walls and columns of ANY kind of structure is also fairly common in our family--especially if there are any visible cracks!

Just to clarify, Joe says the bridge is structurally sound and is being all who live in Happy, TX can stay happy, happy, happy!

Here's a comforting sign that welcomed us as we stopped for a break on our ride home! Can you read it? It says, "WARNING: Watch for Snakes".
The sign reminded me of Mikey getting his first snake bite earlier this year! See the bite marks on his hand?
Ahhh, now we're home again. Wait! What did that thermometer say? Near 100 degrees?


Sadie said...
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