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New Mexico to Fort Stockton, Texas…

Posted by on October 17, 2014

OCTOBER 17, 2014: “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”


Flare stacks at the refineries contribute to the rest of the pollution caused by the oil and gas work in West Texas. I guess if we want to drive fast cars or big motorhomes, this is the price we pay.

U.S. ROUTE 285 SOUTH. Today’s drive took us from the Carlsbad Caverns area in New Mexico all the way down Route 285 into West Texas, where we stopped for the night at an RV park in the  little town of Fort Stockton. There is nothing to see or do here. The only reason for our stop is that it’s another 325 miles to our destination in San Antonio…much too far to drive today. We’ve already been on the road about 5 hours. The park where we’ve stopped is literally the last one until San Antonio. Tomorrow’s drive will take us through some very desolate country.  It’s a lot longer drive than I like to make in a day. We may have to just find a safe-looking-spot and boondock it tomorrow night. We’ll see. At least we’ll be on Interstate 10, which I’m sure is a far better road than the one we traveled today.

OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION IS AN UGLY BUSINESS. Our drive through Southern New Mexico and into West Texas today was the least pleasant driving day we’ve ever had in the last 18 months. The landscape is flat, with almost no vegetation. Trees are really scarce. There are no lakes, rivers or streams. What isn’t scarce is oil and gas exploration, drilling and refining. The entire area is dirty and dusty. Flare stacks, with bright orange flames shooting far into the sky, pinpoint the location of huge refineries which spew tons of carbon dioxide and smoke into the atmosphere. Grungy looking oil well pumps are everywhere.


Oil well pumps along Route 285. An ugly sight.

A BUMPY ROAD. The section of Highway 285 we drove was a mess. It’s in complete disrepair…there are big potholes and ruts in the road. The asphalt is broken in many areas. Despite a posted speed limit of 75 miles per hour, it’s not safe to drive a rig like ours faster than about 55 on a road this bad. Even that’s pushing it. The noise in our cab as we drove down the road was the same as you hear when you’ve got a pair of tennis shoes in the clothes dryer. You know what I mean? Probably 150 huge oil tanker trucks drove past today, their diesel exhaust contributing to the rest of the pollution. It was hot. Heat waves shimmered on the broken asphalt roadway. Oil wells were everywhere. The scene was really ugly.


The oil tycoons and fat cats don’t live around here. I’m sure of it.

FAT CATS. I’m sure the Texas oil tycoons and fat cats are making lots and lots of money in this area, but I’m equally sure they’d never even consider living here. It’s too bad that the oil and gas business creates such a mess. I’m just as guilty as the next guy about consuming fuel for my vehicles, so I can’t really complain, I guess. And, we really shouldn’t be as dependent on the Middle East for our fuel as we already are.

SAN ANTONIO AWAITS US. We’re looking forward to getting an early start in the morning. Our winter home in San Antonio awaits us. There’s lots to see and do in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. We’ll see you there.

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