May 19-20, 2007: DRIVE FROM NASHVILLE THROUGH TEXAS PANHANDLE Winni and I are on our own here - no buddies to visit or friendly stops to make for the next 1200 miles! We're on a mission to get to Albequerque where my cousin Shana lives. So we flew by Memphis and over the Mississippi River into Arkansas.

Me and the Mississippi River in the background!

Some green in this state...

and lots of cows...

Little Rock was...pretty little. Flew through that, too. Winni was pretty mellow!

I had intentions of camping that night, but got a little nervous as the sun set and decided to stay in a pet-friendly hotel for the evening instead. Some fearless road traveller I am!

On-The-Road Note: If you ever want to travel with your furry friends - Best Western, Motel 6 and 8 all allow animals!

We drove about 400 miles on Saturday and got up the next (Sunday) morning and decided to plow through the Dustbowl and drive the final 800 miles in one day! So Sunday was our Oklahoma/Texas drive. Flew through Oklahoma City

and the panhandle. This was it! We were finally heading into the REAL Southwest. And, boy, was it apparent! Cowboys hats and big trucks

and lots of flat expansive farmland...of course cows and horses, too. Had some unique moments, too. Passed an RV camper on fire!

Weird. Saw lots of Jesus Saves billboards.

Came face to face with an amazing Texas thunderstorm coming at us from the west - we drove right into it! Got some video footage, but no photos (my camera battery went dead). I could see it from about 100 miles away. Just took over the sky with dark clouds spewing rain and lightning. We braced for it as we headed right into it! But the storm really wasn't bad. This is tornado country, so I was wary, but fortunately it was just some heavy rain for about 5 minutes. Then it was over and we were back to sunny sky. Also saw a few oil drills and big silver windmills.

They are pretty amazing looking - so new age. I look forward to the day when we learn to embrace and harness natural power - wind, water, solar - on a national scale. I just DO NOT understand our oil addiction. It's just not neccessary. This trip has me thinking seriously about building a self-sustainable "green" home when I finally get settled. And - getting a hybrid car. I sure feel safe in my used and paid-for Pathfinder on this trip...but it's a gosh darn gas guzzler for sure. I feel a bit guilty in it - with my "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" and "Coexsist" bumper stickers on the back.

On-The-Road Note: Have you seen this bumper sticker? - "Support our troops...Donate your Hummer" Ha!

Well, anyway, there's just so much to appreciate in the vast country of ours and one thing I am really grateful for is all this earth and land we have at our fingertips. And I believe it's our responsibility to work with it and always keeping the earth in mind in all we do - SUSTAINABLE LIVING. I want my kids and grandkids to live in an even more amazing, more advanced and cleaner country than I did. There should ALWAYS be forethought in the decisions we make - it's not just about our's about all of us...our earth...our kids...our past and present and future. It all matters and it's all connected. Whatever we put out there, is what's going to come back to us - a big And it can only start with me. So...yep...gotta get a hybrid and think GREEN LIVING :) Saw two men cycling down historic Route 66 (which sometimes ran parallel to I-40 - which was the Interstate I travelled). They were all equipped with overnight bags and gear. Probably cycling the WHOLE thing. Now THAT'S the way to see the countryside. Forrest Gump had it all right.

Nest stop? NEW MEXICO!