Water Towers

The coast line from the Mexican border to Galveston is a straight highway corridor about 20 miles off the water. Yesterday was grey overcast and drizzle through farmlands and ranches. It was basically a run up the Fraser Valley minus the mountains. Farming towns every 20 or 30 miles with highway exits towards the coast and crossing underneath the interstate inland as well.

Not a very inspiring morning, but it did provide me with a new skill to work on. Since leaving California I have noticed that every new town is marked with a large bulbous lollipop on the horizon. Water towers are a fixture in the center of each town or city you enter. The name of town scripted on the side of these huge balls in the skyline. Sometimes high school football teams or a local legend accompany the name. In San Benito, Texas a huge mural of Freddy Fender is painted below the town name with the words “Home Town of Freddy Fender”. The ’70s still live in Texas.

I have never been very good at visually estimating distances. Water towers and road signs have now given me a new tool to practice gauging distances. I had been using large bridges. The span across the Columbia River mouth into Astoria is five miles. The span across the bay from South Padre Island is two miles. The problem with this method is that distances over land seem much closer. Anyway, this is something to work on as I move eastward.

Heading inland to San Antonio on Highway 181 gave me clearing skies. I chose this side route that runs parallel to Interstate 37. On paper it looked more interesting and had some turns. It was a welcome change to the ride for three hours along the coast.

San Antonio is big and connected. Every major highway and interstate runs through or around the city in concentric circles. Downtown is modern but retains old west colors. This is The Alamo of course and history is very important to the city and all of the state for that matter. With a lot to look at and a maze of elevated interchanges and cloverleafs, I did get lost. I missed an interchange and ended up heading north to Austin. I was meant to be heading north to El Paso on Interstate 10 East. See, it all makes sense? I have learned about frontage roads and underpasses which makes getting off and on interstates easy. A quick question to a motel clerk as to my present location and I was on my way again.

I will spend some time here today and do some exploring. Lunch with an old friend and a trip to the Triumph dealer for an oil change….

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