Mark D. Roberts

My first experiences of driving in Texas left me with the impression of an endless, flat countryside. When I was a child, my family and I drove through north Texas on a couple of occasions. It was hot, dusty, and boring. Then, when I was moving from New England back to California, I drove across the state from Texarkana to El Paso, a trip of over 800 miles. This time around it wasn’t quite as boring, because I had to deal with black ice for about 200 miles near Dallas. This kept me on the edge of my seat, and added a few hours to the trip.
texas 80 miles per hour 80 mphWhen moving from California to Texas last year, I was surprised to find that the speed limit on long stretches of Interstate 10 is 80 miles per hour. That’s right, 80 mph! I’d never seen anything like that before. (Let me add, for those of you inclined to speed, that the state troopers take 80 mph seriously. A friend of mine was recently ticketed for going only a few miles over 80. So if you’re used to driving in one of those states where the posted speed limit is 55 but everybody is going 70, beware!)
yes you drive in the river Laity LodgeDriving in Texas has given me more than just the freedom to go 80 miles per hour without fear of getting a ticket. I’ve also found myself driving through the middle of a herd of sheep. Some of the backroads of Texas go through people’s ranches, where livestock runs free. So it’s not unusual to find yourself driving alongside, or perhaps even through a bunch of animals. The other evening I was driving on a road about ten miles from my house when I found myself caught in a sheep traffic jam. Seriously, it took about five minutes to go a couple hundred yards because the sheep seemed utterly unimpressed by me and my truck. If you’re interested, you can check out this 24-second video:
drive in river Laity LodgeBut the most unusual driving I do in Texas isn’t through sheep or speeding along the interstate at 80 mph. It’s driving in the river at Laity Lodge. The only way you can get to Laity Lodge in a vehicle requires that you drive for about a half mile in the Frio River. Yes, I don’t mean you drive across the river. You drive upstream in the river. In the photo to the right you can see several cars driving in the river. Most of the time, this stretch of the Frio River is very shallow, only a few inches deep at most. On rare occasions the river floods, in which case there’s no way in or out of Laity Lodge. Don’t worry. Flooding of this sort is rare, and it doesn’t come in the flash flood variety.

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