What I did on my fall break  

PillsburyCodeBoy 60M
479 posts
10/17/2005 7:37 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

What I did on my fall break

I'm back.

I spent two of the last four days in Odessa, Texas (pop. 91,000), staying with my girlfriend's family. The other two days were spent driving there and driving back. It's an eight- to nine-hour drive from where I live, not counting various breaks.

Even if you've never been to Texas, you may have heard of Odessa. It was the subject of both the book and the movie Friday Night Lights. The book stirred a lot of controversy in Odessa when it was first published. Even by the standards of football-crazy Texas, high school football in Odessa is ... well, crazy. By the time the movie came out, a lot of people there had decided they liked the book, even if it wasn't exactly flattering to local residents. I guess it's sort of the old "any-attention-is-better-than-no-attention" school of thought. Or maybe it's the newer "it's-better-to-have-Billy-Bob-Thornton-play-you-in-a-movie-than-to-be-your-boring-old-self-in-a-book" concept. Whatever. (Disclaimer: I haven't read the book or seen the movie.)

I had an opportunity to experience the "Friday Night Lights" phenomenon for real, as Permian High was playing Friday night. But I didn't. For one thing, I'm not a big football fan. (Texans are nice enough to let me live here anyway.) If you've read the "more responses" part of my profile, you know I think there are more fun things to do at a sporting event than watching whatever's going on down on the field. Also, my girlfriend went to Odessa High, Permian's crosstown rival, and in true OHS fashion, she doesn't give a rat's ass what Permian does.

Odessa is about 20 miles from Midland (pop. 95,000), and the two of them are considered sister cities of sorts. Midland is famous as the hometown of ... oh, what's his name? ... current president of the United States ... I'll think of his name in a minute ...

Odessa and Midland are located in a region called the Permian Basin, so called because millions of years ago, in the Permian era, it was a sea. Today, water is just about the last thing one associates with the Permian Basin. The area is flat, windswept, semi-arid, and comes complete with cacti and tumbleweeds. It's what a lot of people who've never been to Texas think of when they think of Texas, especially if they've seen Giant. It smells like petrochemicals--or, as the old knee-slapper among the locals goes, "Son, it smells like MONEY!"

It's also, as it turns out, a perfect place to bicycle.

I took my bike and rode 16.5 miles the first morning there, a new personal best. When I go back at Christmas, I'm determined to ride from Odessa to Midland and back, which would be about double that distance.

I had a great time overall, and I'll have more to say about it later. For now it's back to the old grind!

rm_jayR63 59F
1884 posts
10/17/2005 8:47 pm

Isn't Midland where that baby fell in the well?

PillsburyCodeBoy 60M

10/18/2005 4:51 am

Yes it is, jayR. Last I heard, she graduated from high school last year and is living a normal life.

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