Journey / Destination

The journey is the destination. Or as the long-sleeve tee says, which I’m wearing from Life is Good!

That partly depends on your company and how you travel, but some of that is being open to what your roadtrip reveals. I drove to and from Hobbs, New Mexico to give a presentation at a mini-conference. From 2/25/2014 and 3/1-2/2014 –

On my 4 hour drive to Hobbs NM, I could no longer hold back from stopping for photos! A stand of Palmilla or Soaptree Yucca / Yucca elata in gypsum sand dunes…Texas’ high point, 8,751′ Guadalupe Peak…

barbed wire in the sand, the wild west lives…
and under some of those Palmilla plants, …
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New Mexico’s state grass, Blue Grama / Bouteloua gracilis…sorry on the blur…
even a Sporobulus species under another yucca…Sand Dropseed, or some gypsum-endemic Sporobulus?
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all those Tobosa grasslands in the distance, but…
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1877 must have been tough…and I thought in the dry west, that whiskey was for drinkin’ and water was for fightin’…salt war? What we take for granted today.
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a divider in the room I finished speaking at, a panorama of southeastern NM…

When looking at a potential project on the college campus, two college personnel told me the story of the Hobbs area is “oil, cowboys, and water.”

This panorama tells some more fine points – Apache or Comanche people, Yucca campestris (denizen of the dry SE New Mexico high plains), a roadrunner, New Mexico’s famous Zia Symbol, plenty of cattle, cowboys and bucking horses, and so on. No wonder there are so many Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos fans in New Mexico…

In Hobbs, you’ll most likely hear west Texas accents, and the land and town look and feel like west Texas. Yet, it’s in New Mexico.

Unlike El Paso, where most people speak English and Spanglish like New Mexico, and the land and town look and feel much like it, too! Yet it’s in Texas.

Onward, back home to the west…4 more hours…sigh.

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about the only remaining natural bit of Hobbs’ “Southwest Plateaus and Plains Ecoregion” in town…
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it was 81F the day I spoke in Hobbs, the next morning it was freezing rain and 28F…Carlsbad was near the change between cold and warmer, drier air…what a sky…but what else did I see?
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plants! Some decent Pinus ponderosa / Ponderosa Pine trees in the lawn…
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and the usual winter-damaged fronds of Desert or California Fan Palm / Washingtonia filifera, which will green up in April…

That’s just how they grow back where equally pushing its limits, such as in Albuquerque and central NM. But conspicuously absent from town are any of the less winter-hardy Mexican Fan Palm / W. robusta, from those silly Phoenix-pushers…any alive in 2/2011 are long gone.

my turning around for lunch before the drive home, reminded me to check out this planting…
clearing on blustery winds, the brighter light shows off some righteous specimens of local Chihuahuan Desert plants…
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I wonder how old some of those are?
especially this Beaked Yucca / Yucca rostrata…that’s my car…

A friend in Albuquerque once commented on some of my photos, how only in New Mexico, the plants look to be worth more than the dilapadated buildings they are near!

…not as beefy as the now-AWOL national champ Y. rostrata in Fort Stockton TX, but this stunning specimen is nothing to sneeze at…
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the security cameras could even be there for the yuccas, including about the largest Y. thompsoniana I’ve seen…and I’ve seen and used many…
I seem to recall this Opuntia before the 2011 uber-freeze, surviving a decade from my memory on numerous trips to Carlsbad Caverns…it was big…
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so were the pads…but this one is at it’s bitter end…
but this sign is probably not right…it looks to be another species from Mexico, where winters don’t have “mood swings” like SE NM…
Guadalupe Peak and the Guadalupe Mountains, the icy storm clouds (but without much moisture)…Chihuahuan desert grassland in front
those folks who trash our highways seem to drink this beer the most, at least from my roadside photo stops…no insult to kinder people who also drink Bud Light…
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now this is the real Opuntia engelmannii, AKA Desert ot Engelmann’s Prickly Pear…in the foothills of the Guadalupe Mtns…just like those where I now live and once lived for 21+ years…
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taking a nap at this rest area, this is what I awoke to…
cold clouds swirling about, and the tawny desert grassland below…familiar climate belts and life zones, or land appearances, to me…
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El Capitan is a fitting name…
Palmilla amidst dormant Black Grama / Bouteloua eriopoda at my next napping spot…New Mexico’s famous Otero Mesa in the distance…
clumps of Datil or Banana Yucca / Yucca baccata…
…nearing El Paso’s far east side, the place I’ve seen listed but had no clue where it was…Loma Linda…a good name (pretty knoll)…
limestone ledges and hills, and suddenly its…
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Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum…green like Texas Sotol but larger like Dasylirion wheeleri…hooked spines along the leaf margins pointing downward further into the plant’s foliage rosette, is another identifying feature to me…
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…but not so much like home, yet…the more delicate form of Beargrass or Sacahuista / Nolina texana, found further east…
I never get tired of these rocky hills and our plants…well, maybe I would in summer without shade or AC…
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…back in El Paso, on the far east side of endless salvage yards…and aggregate mining for some of what I design…this reminds me of the pitted-out west mesa where I lived 21 years ago, yuccas and sand sagebrushes, human detritus and potential meth lab real estate, cock-fighting…Chihuahuan Desert sand scrub
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5 Replies to “Journey / Destination”

  1. I agree with texasdeb….I like long shots. Sometimes those close ups, don’t show what a plant can do.
    Nice photos of your journey.

    Thanks, am happy to find interest on that drive without time to hit one of those National Parks. If only I could figure out my handheld’s macro setting…

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  2. I’ve noted that when I travel, I never see “weeds”, just plants. I’m grateful you stopped and snapped and shared what you saw. Your images provide a nice break from the more typical close ups of specimen plants in bloom. I appreciate the longer views (which I mean literally AND figuratively).

    Thanks, I agree on weeds vs. plants…since my hand-held camera’s “macro” feature is so tempremental, I try to compensate! And we have the long views…

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  3. Texas is a big country David! Wonderful landscape at the National Park Office! Great pictures!

    And that’s just a small sliver! Had I not turned around, I may have missed it again.

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  4. WOW, you have such a wonderful life and get to see so many interesting things. I am so happy you share them! Thanks for doing this!

    You’re welcome! I need to remember that, as there are some nice diversions in my path. Now to sketch some of them…

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