Saturday, May 29, 2010

Miscellany: I-10 Musings

The last time I traveled on I-10 to Houston, I was in grade school, and I was obviously stuck in the back seat. Driving the whole way is a different kettle of fish, and you notice a lot more. Here are some of the impressions I received from that long, strange trip:

Cash Magic truck stop casinos -

It was probably the case when I was a youngster, but there are a ton of casino resorts in Louisiana. "Burma Shave"-style billboards extol the virtues of steak buffets, live entertainment, and 24/7 craps. On the other end of the spectrum, though, are the "Cash Magic" casinos, where tourists, truckers, and people so addicted to gambling that they'll do it at a gas station can get their video poker on:

Wetlands -

In terms of the landscape, the first few hours out from the Florida panhandle look like north Florida. Once you hit the heart of the Gulf Coast, though, you're cruising through miles of picturesque wetlands and swamps. There's enough bayou here to get anyone talking in a crappy Cajun accent. Zydeco music springs into my head, unbidden.

The Road -

When you finally arrive in Houston, you don't just see it, you feel it. After miles of well-maintained highway asphalt, the bumpy drive through the city center feels like you've just been thrown into a rock tumbler. I'm not sure if it's the weather extremes (100 degrees in the summer and occasional freezing temperatures in the winter) or poor funding, or what.


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