Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way, and South Texas skies

If you drive in Houston long enough, you see a lot of things on the freeways.  Women putting on makeup, guys reading the sports page; EVERYBODY with the radio going, a cup of their favourite beverage going, and their blackberries/iphones going. 

You’ll see a bit of everything.

My new blackberry (thank you, Broadspire!) has a decent camera, and over the past week (!) I’ve taken some –interesting- photos.

I drive to and from work on the Katy Freeway (IH-10).  Since they widened it, it stands proud and strong at 20 lanes, 10 on each side.  It’s an immense span of concrete, truly amazing.  There are flyovers, HOV lanes, Toll Lanes, Managed Lanes, MainLanes, gargantuan interchanges, and a partridge in a pear tree (though the partridge is about dead due to inhalation of fumes from 219,000 vehicles a day).  It’s been featured on the show Modern Marvels, and is really a dazzling display of design, engineering, and construction expertise.

219,000 is a lotta cars.

The first three pics are from my commute this week (second is a crop from the first):

One and two:



Dude, you are going to DIE.  It’s like this:  in this picture, I’m driving a 2004 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, clocking in at a modest 3,100 lbs of American Steel.  Note that next to him are a Chevy Tahoe (4,000), a Ford F-150 (about 4,000), and you can also see a Ford Expedition, another F-150, and a semi-trailer (80,000 lbs).  All of the aforementioned vehicles were moving at approximately 70 mph, and you’ll notice that there were merges from the left AND the right, with the merge from the flyover coming right up.  You should not be driving that scooter on the freaking Katy Freeway.



Oooooooh-KAY, you’re not going to see this every day, now are ya?  I have no idea what this car started out its life being, but now it’s covered front to back in purpley-blue carpet.  That is a steer skull as the hood ornament, and I don’t know what the shiny button things on top are (I was driving 70 mph on the Katy at the time).  Also, not sure about the coffin on the back.  Um, it appears to have stained glass windows.  Why do you need windows on your coffin?  Planning to look at the view?  I have seen some amazing things, but this one is pretty interesting.  (It’s part of the fun of Houston Art Cars, part of the wackiness that makes Houston…Houston.).


Anybody who’s ever spent any time in South Texas knows about the South Texas sky.  It really is bigger and better here, and it has its own particular look.  I love it; I didn’t realize how much I missed it living all over everywhere else.  It can be bluest blue with puffy white clouds, or it can be raining ferociously; it can be brassy with heat waves simmering; it can be brown with air pollution.

But sometimes, the Devil is beating his wife!  I’ve heard that one all my life; when it’s raining and the sun is shining, the Devil is beating his wife.  Poor thing, she’s worn out by now based on Houston alone.

I had been down to Clear Lake City (NASA Road 1, home of the Johnson Space Center) to the hospital to visit one of my staffers who is in for pneumonia (he called me today; he snuck downstairs in his little hospital gown and flippy flops, dragging his IV tree, and was leaning on his car in the parking lot smoking a cigarette or 20.  Gee, I wonder why he’s not better….).

Anyway, I’d been down to CLC to see Bill, and was coming home via the Beltway.  I called my lifelong friend Robert, and we were visiting.  I tried to describe the sky; Robert lived here many years, and knew EXACTLY what I was describing.  He misses the South Texas sky too.

After I hung up, it dawned on me that my blackberry takes pictures.  I tried to capture the beauty I was seeing.  Hope it comes through.

IMG00023 Stitch (2)-1





A Texas “Blue Norther” (first of the season)





  1. The thing about the Texas sky is that you can see for miles. The land is flat and the "trees" are only two feet tall, so you can see forever. That's why it looks different.

  2. No, it's more than that on the coast. We get a bunch of little white puffy clouds during the summer. I lived in Dallas and Arkansas for years and rarely saw that; either it was clear as a bell or you had those huge towering thunderheads. I know what you mean about the trees (although that doesn't work in my neighbourhood, as the trees here are about like Arkansas), as you go into the coastal plain they are scrubby. Still, the sky looks different here (it is a Gulf Coast thing, because Mom and Dad and I noticed it on all our trips to Florida--looks like that in Florabama, too).