To give you a bit of an idea what it’s like driving to the family farm, I grabbed a couple of videos during the final leg of the journey. These show the small, one-lane road that carries visitors from the small, two-lane “highway” that represents the last visage of civilization before entering the heart of East Texas’ second growth. The road is a wonderful journey to nowhere, a claustrophobic’s nightmare often blocked by fallen trees after severe weather. I find the little path of roughly paved roadway a pleasant and otherworldly experience given that I’ve spent most of my life in the city. At the height of spring and all through summer, it’s a doorway to another world surrounded by lush greenery, verdant forest, and the occasional ranch or farm tucked neatly behind a wall of elm, oak, and pine, not to mention thick brush and a litany of other flora.
Although there are none to be seen in these two captured moments, it’s quite common to run across a wide selection of wildlife, from white-tailed deer to rabbits to bobcats to coyotes to a laundry list of other beasts. Certainly in the warmest months, you’re almost guaranteed to see one or more animals traveling along or across the road. In fact, I saw several deer that evening on my way back to the concrete jungle. They leaped across my path and into a neighboring field, their bodies bouncing like coiled springs as they made their way leisurely into the dense undergrowth and trees.
While the videos make it seem I’m speeding dangerously down a country road, that’s not quite true. The closeness of the surrounding trees and thicket only make it appear that way from the video’s perspective. In real life, it’s not wise to drive fast on this particular road since it’s full of blind curves and hills that easily can hide oncoming traffic. It might be in the middle of BFE Texas, but that doesn’t mean no one travels this path. So it’s always wise to drive at a safe speed and to slow for turns and the fun ups and downs that define the trip.
The second video picks up shortly after the first one ends and leads us from one tiny road to yet another, the private drive that leads from one backwater alley to another, the one that travels to the family farm and some other private residences on the bayou.
I can’t tell you how difficult it was to drive this road while holding the camera. The road is and always has been in terrible shape, so I was getting bounced around with one hand on the wheel and one on the camera. Holding the vehicle steady was much easier than keeping the camera from rebounding all over the open cabin. For that reason, these aren’t award winners. They are, however, representative of the very different place to which I go when I visit there. Compared to Dallas, these might as well be captured moments from Tasmania. I also find them more than a bit fun. I love road trips and this is one I especially enjoy.
[the song playing on the car stereo is “Solsbury Hill” originally by Peter Gabriel; this particular version is by Erasure and is include on Other People’s Songs; I hadn’t thought about it at the time, but it certainly fits the spirit of these videos and the trip they document; I began filming the moment I turned off the highway, and that also happened to be when the song started; I couldn’t have planned that better if I had tried]