Roadtrip Stories: Texas

Road Trip Stories:


One of the most surprising “first impressions destroy preconceived notions in a flash” experiences I’ve had. I never thought much of Texas. An easy target when making fun of conservatives. Like a less camo, more cowboy New Hampshire; passionate about freedom and Jesus, ready to fight you for your fingernail clippings, and overall not worth stopping for. 

But that was before I learned that one of my number one most wished for Route 66 destinations was in the heart of Texas. Well, at least, the heart of the northernmost tip of Texas, which we would have to pass through anyway to get to another number one most wished for destination, The Blue Hole in New Mexico. Both were free and impossible to resist. So it was decided.

  Cadillac Ranch

To this day, I think of this place whenever I’m in a “take yourself to a place where…” or “select a memory of a time when…” situation! None of the pictures or other visual representations could evoke the feeling you get when you actually see the neon skeletons of those cars being carved by the wind. Scrappy metal curves, spinning wheels, layers on layers of paint, and relentless uni-directional wind boring holes into the side of your head and the space between the hub cap and the tire. The cars are stuck in the sand so well you can clamber all over them, and it’s not even frowned upon but encouraged. Nothing like the guarded stalactites and stalagmites of Missouri caves. 

We spray painted with more abandon than ever before, at once secure and elated in the knowledge that our work would soon be obliterated. Better used as a highlighter canvas for new masterpieces than a permanent installation. 


Cole kissed me at the top of a car and I shook with disbelief while telling him again (for the hundredth time since we’d started our trip and driven away from our Chicopee apartment last week) how I never thought I’d see a place like this. 

I had tears streaming down my face by the time we left, and it wasn’t just because of the dust and wind smoothie blender I was in. 



The people were extremely nice everywhere. Nicer than any other state we visited. Even to us as queers, they were very nice. We loved it and talked about it often during our time there and then continued to talk and tell people about it after we left. We were, and still are, in disbelief over this pervasive niceness. Same can’t be said of certain folks in Oregon and of course Utah.

Nicest Motel 6 Ever
This place really sealed the deal on our whole Texas takeaway. When we called ahead to announce our anticipated arrival time of 2am, they didn’t miss a beat. This came after six states' worth of waiting in parking lots for morning when we could start calling and checking into campgrounds or motels. Then we got there and saw this elegant motherfucker and thought we must be in the wrong place!

Going inside brought a rare instance of feeling even better about our sight-unseen motel selection than before. It was clean, spacious, and equipped with all-hours amenities. The lady at the desk let us know that since we were probably wanting coffee (we were, but how did she know?), there was a Keurig we were welcome to use after settling into our enormous SMOKING room. Since when is purchasing a smoking room at the same price as non-smoking still an option? Since being in Texas, that’s when. Quickly becoming our favorite southern state. The room also featured a huge mini-fridge, clean microwave, comfortable king bed, and other similar anomalies. 

The lady at the front desk was on our same sleepless schedule, and was also very cool. We chatted over coffee and she told us where to go for the best time when we got to New Mexico. It was nice having someone who seemed genuinely caring and friendly towards us, after the vague hostility of Oklahoma and cloaked disdain of Ohio. 

Free Knife

Anyone who checks into the Amarillo Motel 6 should know that the stay also comes with a FREE KNIFE for each member of your party. Found in the tourist pamphlet section standard to any motel lobby. Coupon redeemable at a knife store inside the local mall, you won’t be disappointed by this deal. 

Cole with his free knife pamphlet outside the mall

Amarillo Skies 

Just an opportunity to blast this classic throwback to middle school, turn up the country accent, and bask in the memories. In fairness, you will totally understand the inspiration for the song after seeing Amarillo. Wide open fields and gaping tie-dye skies and lonely windmill roads. Truck stops and beefsteak cows and blinding sunbeams on every grain bin roof. 


This was the only bad part about Texas. Don’t get out of your car when you see the rolling grassy plains and think about running through them like Little House on the Prairie. I whined and whined at Cole until he agreed to let us get out for one selfie stick moment at the very edge of such a situation. 

Sunbaked walks over the knoll and soft wheat grasses tickling my ankles? More like the unmistakeable hiss and rattle of my least favorite animal! Cole heard and saw it before I did and sounded the alarm to run. But as soon as the sound processed in my ears a split second later, I knew deeply and precisely what it was from. 

I screamed louder than Cole would two years later, while encountering brine fly larvae together in Utah. I screamed so loud I wouldn’t have heard a second rattle anyway, even if I did “back away slowly” like I was supposed to instead of high-tailing. But at least we both made it back to the car unscathed. I did not ask to stop again until we were safely in New Mexico that evening. Every sidewalk’s edge at the gas stations lurked with the possibility of another rattlesnake. Something I knew existed, but never thought I would meet. 

New meaning to “snake in the grass,” and new appreciation for the importance of safety. I still tease Cole all the time for being Cole “Safety” Roman, but ever since this day I don’t mean it as much anymore. I’m glad he keeps us safe. I want to encourage that. After all, if I’d been alone on this trip I might have made it through other obstacles, but I’d have been dead by this rattlesnake over and over again. 🤍🤍