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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lubbock or Leave it

(That's a title from a Dixie Chicks song written by Natalie Maines, the lead singer and controversial band member who's spoken openly against the president).

It's gotten cold here. It was 30F this morning and it's not expected to warm up more later on today. It's even colder in Lubbock, of course, which seems to have temperatures consistently ten degrees colder than here. I'm on the verge of regretting my desire to drive up north in this cold for a canyon hike. Really, what was I thinking?

Freezing rain is also forecasted for tomorrow moring, which will make the work commute very treacherous. the world of outdoor enthusiasts, it's never the weather that's crummy, it's just the equipment you have that make the experience crummy. I should have enough fleece and Gore-Tex to keep me comfortable.

Meanwhile, I am researching everything there is about South Texas aka The Valley aka Brush Country. The research alone has turned into an obsession of sorts. There is so much to learn about that place. I've checked out six travel books on Texas and the Valley, bookmarked at least three newspaper websites from Corpus Christi, McAllen and Brownsville (, and What I want to find now are personal blogs from people who actually live there and could give more personal advice.

There's also enough to be careful about: the border town of Reynosa has had a few very bad killings recently that are drug cartel related. A few bigwigs were recently caught on the US side, including Carlos Landin-Martinez, second in command of the Mexican Gulf drug cartel and Tamaulipas State Police Commander. He smuggled cocaine into the US unabatedly from 2005 through 2007. It would be frightening to be in that neighborhood, among Winter Texans, and witness a cross-fire of some sorts.

I won't let the drug smugglers ruin my plans for my time down there. I will, however, be extra cautious. Right now the balmy 50F-degree mornings in the Valley sound rather pleasing. It can reach in the upper 70s/low 80s down there in February.

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