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For as long as I can remember, ever since I got my driver's license, I have liked to drive. That little plastic card with my picture on it opened up the world beyond where my Schwinn bike could take me. Where my dreams had been constrained by the energy in my legs, vast horizons were now in my thoughts.

It was nothing to jump in my car after school on a Friday and drive as far as the money my friends Why and I could gather, would take us. We would raid the pantry in each home and off we would head. Those were some interesting trips. We never knew where we would end up, nor what we would be eating. But driving there was the fun. The world was ours, one gallon of gas at a time.

My first deer hunt was in Wyoming. At the time I lived in California. I drew the tag and on a Friday after school, my dad and I headed north to my grandparents. I had only a learner's permit at the time. Somewhere along interstate 15 in Utah, my father relinquished the steering wheel to his newly permitted son. I chugged and ground my way through the gears and was soon flying down the HWY!

Several months ago, I came up with the idea of driving to Texas for a wild hog hunt. Everywhere I mentioned driving there, people would ask why not fly? "How can you drive that far?" they would ask. It never occurred to me to fly. Part of the adventure is the drive. Part of the reason for going is bringing the meat home from a successful hunt. Try bringing home a few hundred pounds of meat on a plane. That is not a viable option with my wallet. Not to mention a lot is missed when you are 30,000' in the air.

So it is that my daughter and I left home with the intention of driving to Texas by way of St George Utah. And as in the past, I also turned over the wheel to my newly permitted daughter. Well that was the plan in the beginning, but due to important tests she would miss at school, we bought her a plane ticket, so less school would be missed.

I would be solo for the first portion of the trip. I ran into some weather I did not expect, making the roads less than enjoyable to drive on. A bathroom break turned into a bit more when I plowed through a "small" snow bank to get off the road. Nothing 4WD could not handle but still I was stuck in the middle of Nevada, even if only for a few minutes.



As I closed in on St George, I passed by a National Monument of significant family history. I will not go into what happened here, but my Grandfather was the only person hanged for the events, some 20 years later. And then only after he turned himself in. Lee's Ferry along the Colorado River was his. A lot of family history can be found in this area.



My dad and I had time to meet with some of his friends for dinner, while we waited for Steve, a friend from California to arrive. They are big into shed hunting and I just had to show you pictures of the unusual shed he had found. He was chomping at the bit to get back out there in the hopes of finding the matching side. The same snow storm that I had driven through had chased him out of the hills.







Early the next morning we were off on the final leg of the trip to Texas. so off to the nearest Maverick to fill up!



It's a long drive and you have plenty of time for your mind to wonder. Here you can see we picked up a homeless guy and were letting him drive. Actually he is my friend Steve. We have known each other for 25 years. Steve always wears clothes that will never make it home after a trip. They are to be thrown in the camp fire to be sacrificed. It's why he is always looking a bit ragged. Well that and the wild beard and wild hair.



New Mexico is the land of enchantment. It seems to go on and on. And on and on! During this drive through New Mexico, I took a nap. Steve took over the driving chores. You know it was not a long enough nap when you are still stuck on the southwest circular track called New Mexico when you awake. I had hoped to see some longhorn cattle and some wild pigs, instead. New Mexico was just not that enchanting.



Like passing through a door, Texas appeared as a green line up ahead. The dry headland escarpments of New Mexico gave way to green flat irrigated fields. The speed limit turned to 75 mph and stayed that way on most of the roads, whether two lane desert trails, or four lane, wide shoulder launch ramps, straight to the horizon.





2037 miles after leaving home, I arrived in Turkey Texas. We met our outfitter and followed him to the ranch we would be hunting. My son and daughter showed up later that night. Both had flown into Oklahoma City, and drove down.



On the drive home we stopped at a place in the middle of Arizona called, Knife City. From the everyday Buck knife to custom Mastodon Tusk Buck knifes, and every brand in between, we spent an hour looking. At last my daughter picked her "Trip" knife. (She has started getting a knife on each annual hunting trip) Yep, pink! She is getting a nice collection of pink knifes.



You have lots of time to think while driving and during part of this time, my friend Steve came up with a "Text" he sent to my wife about my daughter. My wife had not been happy about my daughter flying by herself nor my plan to let her drive while I slept. The following "text" was Steve's attempt to lighten my wife's mood!

Hi this is Billy Bob Jones, and I am in luv wit ur datter, She is a little old fo me but she got all her teeth. We get hitched on weaday, can u get heer fo da partay? Does she have any sisters as my daddy wants a new wife. Luv ur new son n lauw, BB

I did not know what the wife would think, but the laughter with in the truck lasted for a long time. Billy Bob Jones will forever be a part of this trip and a memory not to be forgotten.

Sometime after St George on the way home, I turned over the driving to my daughter. She happily pushed the truck up to the speed limit. Nearly three hours later I awoke! I had fallen asleep and she had seen no reason to wake me. She was on course and had a great time telling me about what she had seen and about the Semi-trucks she had passed. She complained about the overloaded motorhome, and about the drunk driver who had passed her. She had been introduced to a world she had not seen before, as only a driver could be.

It was one heck of a drive, where we passed through National monuments and National Parks. We saw Deer, elk and Antelope. We traded with Native American Indians. We arrived home with a sense of accomplishment, and with a knowledge we would not have gained 30,000 feet in the air!
 

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Great read. I think your daughter and my daughter would get along pretty good. They both have similar interests

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