Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Wild Road

On our last 2 trips east -- to Conroe in May and more recently to Shreveport a week or more ago -- we have started our journey by taking a "road less traveled".

FM 765 heads due east from San Angelo and continues in more or less a straight line until it ends at Ranch Road 45 about halfway between Richland Springs and Brownwood.  A short jaunt north at this time takes you over the Colorado River before turning east again on FM 574 for the final 25 miles or so to Goldthwaite. Total distance for this route is 122 miles. Along the way, there is not a single town over 200 souls. In fact, the only towns are Eola and Millersview.

For the first few miles, this is a good road. The road is straight, the surface is good and the shoulders are generous. After passing through farmland of the area known as Lipan Flats, which includes northern portions of the Wall community, the quality of the road begins to deteriorate. The shoulders give way, the road begins to curve and dip a bit, and the clean farmland is replaced by trees, grass, and other vegetation that creeps up to the edge of the road.

On our trip in May, we saw countless deer and turkey along the roadway, and birds were everywhere, even causing us to slow down a number of times as they swooped in front feeding on insects after the recent rains. On the latest trip, we didn't see as much wildlife, but we saw enough.

I've never hit a deer in all my years of driving, and I've spent lots of hours on back country roads. I'm usually pretty good about spotting deer far enough away and then slowing down. On this trip, though, the grass was very tall next to the road. A doe was feeding near a small bridge as we approached. When I saw her, I immediately slowed, but it was too late, I suppose. She spotted me, froze for a moment, then made a mad dash across the road in front of me. Because of the small bridge, I was unable to veer off the road. I braked as quickly as possible and eased as far as I could to my right, but she continued on her suicide run.

I didn't actually hit the deer. She ended up right in front of me, on the front right of our truck. By that time, I had slowed enough that I actually more or less pushed her for several feet, then she somehow freed herself and got away. I was unable to see where she went, though she was not in the roadway. We pulled over as soon as we safely could and inspected the truck. We found no damage whatsoever.

That was enough for me. I'll not drive this road again, at least, not early in the morning. But if you want to see lots of wildlife, lots of uninhabited country, and little traffic, it's a good east/west road.

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