When you drive in Texas, you get the impression that Texas is ready for you to leave. Road signs proclaim “Drive Clean Across Texas,” “Don’t Mess With Texas,” and “Speed Limit: 80.” Texas is the only place I’ve been driving 75 mph on a side road — not a divided highway — and been passed by every car that came up behind me. There’s something about seeing a car, head on, racing towards you at 75 or 80 mph (while you’re going 75 or 80 mph too) that takes some getting used to.
But it’s not just the speed limits that are bigger in Texas. There’s the 72 oz “free” steak advertised on highway billboards anywhere within a 250 mile radius of Amarillo, the home of the Big Texan. There was a walking stick the size of my hand just chillin’ by the ladies’ room at a park outside Austin. There’s the state itself. Texas is BIG. Past Austin, it seems like they’ve run out of things to do and people to populate the land. The cities thin out and you can drive for miles without seeing any signs of human habitation other than the road and a fence or two strung along each side. This would be cool, if there were anything else to look at. It felt like Texas had had enough of us, and we’d had enough of Texas. We drove clean across the state from Austin to Guadalupe National Park in one grueling 9 hour shift, only to show up on the doorstep of New Mexico, our next contender for least favorite state.