I'm still not used to the Texas "rest stops." They need a new name. They usually are just not that "restful."

Maybe it's because they are spread out so much that you are absolutely desperate by the time you finally arrive at one.

Maybe it's because there are so few trees, you are forced to stretch your legs in the blazing sun or back in forth in the shifting shadows of one of the three trees.

Maybe it's because the drink and snack machines are encased in thick metal bars as if they are imprisoned.

Maybe it's because there is so little parking, you don't feel welcome.

Maybe it's because the bathrooms don't have windows, but gaps in the wall, that give the impression that you aren't quite alone - as breezes and voices and birds drift in.

And all of the above describes one of the nicer rest areas. There's also something called a "picnic area" with no trees, no view, a table or two, trash cans, and a road lined with tractor trailers. (Not exactly what I think of when I imagine a nice picnic spot. We were just too spoiled in North Carolina.)

We saw some construction when we stopped at one of the "nicer" rest stops that looked like they were trying to create a bigger, better, perhaps actually restful, area. We saw a small playground and an attractive building that looked promising.

But I have to wonder why they chose to build this rest stop behind another, already established one, when there are so few rest areas between Dallas and Austin. Wouldn't it have made more sense to add another new, convenient location, so we travelers wouldn't have to arrive so desperate?

Still, I look forward to a rest stop that might actually inspire restfulness - in humans.

killdeer in grass

The birds I saw at one of the areas seemed completely content in the 100 degree sun...

killdeer in grass

...or the branch of one of the rare trees.

scissor-tailed flycatcher in tree

They don't require as much to rest. They aren't coming from air conditioned cars where they have been sitting with cramped legs for hours on end.

Their legs don't need stretching. Their snacks don't need restraining. They can park themselves anywhere. They aren't modest. And if they feel the need to go, well, they always have the windshields of our comfortable, restful, air conditioned cars, don't they?

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)


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