10 Reasons Why

10 Fascinating Exit Signs on Highway 20 in West Texas

1. White Flat Road

Really? They couldn’t think of anything else to name this thing? Granted, there are not a lot of inspiring natural landmarks around here (after all, the cows move around from time, causing locals to lose their bearings), but even the most unfocused, dust-coated civil engineer should have been able to come up with something better. Like “Squashed Armadillo Boulevard”, “Tumbleweed Terrace” or even “Unwashed Yokel Peeing by the Side of the Road Road”. Use some imagination, folks. Dream big.

2. Stink Creek Road

How can you put this address on a letter or an application and still feel good about yourself? I mean, if you were born on this little stretch of nothing, you might not realize that there’s a better life out there. But to purposely move here, or even look for an antique shop on this road, well, then you deserve whatever might happen in the dark of the night. (Fair warning: The cows have moved again, so you might not find you way back out.)

3. Old Lamesa Road

This implies that there must be a “new” Lamesa Road somewhere, but I sure didn’t see it. And what was wrong with the old one? Why was it necessary to build a new one that people can’t find? Are we supposed to just avoid Lamesa entirely, due to sordid and shocking past events? Was there an incident involving whiskey, ill-advised couplings, and accusations of livestock malfeasance? (For some reason, those three things instantly come to mind in certain parts of rural Texas. Maybe it’s all the blowing dust.). What the hell happened in Lamesa? So many questions, so many miles between exits to think about the possible answers.

4. Whorton Road

You know this road originally led to a collection of bordellos named Whoretown back in the day, but then the Baptists showed up and made people sanitize things, like they always do. Whoretown itself is now probably a Bible Camp run by born-again descendants of the original love-for-sale lady founders, with the town now rechristened “Jubilee” or “Jedediahville”, where they serve S’mores around the campfire instead of cooter.

5. Blackland Road

Three guesses on who used to live on this road when the creativity-impaired street-naming committee came stumbling into town. Because people were so subtle in the days of segregation and racist real-estate zoning decisions. Just ask the Native Americans.

6. Dick Ware Unit

Not making this up. This little exit supposedly takes you to some aspect of the local correctional facility, named after a guy that was probably a mayor or football star or really successful used-car salesman. Clearly, somebody wasn’t thinking when they made this naming decision. And still not thinking when they made a big-ass sign by the side of Highway 20, with a pointing arrow, not realizing what people would think. I’m sure the harlots from Whoretown were totally surprised by what they found after driving their horseless carriage down the exit ramp.

7. Noodle Dome Road

No idea. But if I had to guess, I’d surmise that Noodle Dome was a cousin of Dick Ware.

8. Haytor Road

Visions of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter living in a cul-de-sac, handing out miniature hooded robes and “My First Gay-Bashing” primer kits on Halloween. Next, the Unholy Trinity attend PTA meetings where they remove the phrases “progress”, “independent thought” and “all men are created equal” from school textbooks. Then they go burn something.

9. Desdemona Boulevard

Wow. Is this a Shakespeare reference? Maybe. After all, the plotline of “Othello” involves poor choices, perceived infidelity, and murder, which are the exact things that can happen in West Texas if some fool makes the brazen decision to not attend the high-school football game on Friday night.

10. The George Bush Highway to Heaven between Midland and Odessa, TX

Okay, this one doesn’t actually exist (not yet, anyway) but it might as well. These people worship the Bushes. WOR-SHIP. There are giant billboards with Bush the First, Shrub the Last, and Laura the Ineffectual all over the place. Billboards. With bible scriptures, halos, and no black people. (Local restaurants have menu items like “The Obama Roadkill Pulled Pork Sandwich” and “Pulverized Pelosi Potato Salad”. Of course, the Lord’s Prayer is also on those menus. The definition of hypocrisy is not.)

This is not just a nexus of conservative thought, but something far beyond that. It’s a way of life, with strict rules and regulations. You must have Fox News playing in the background at all given times, lest you forget who you’re supposed to demonize today. If the police pull you over and there’s not a copy of George Bush’s “Talking Points” book somewhere in the vehicle, you’re probably going to jail.

And the traffic signals in town? The three colors are red, red, and red. Because yellow and green are too close to the socialist color of blue. And we can’t have that….

 

Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 11/28/10. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

Story behind the photo: A relatively benign snap from a rest stop on Highway 20. This photo is somewhat of a subterfuge, in that it belies the flatness that you are going to encounter for most of the journey on this highway. No wandering cows were harmed in the capturing of this image.

 

25 replies »

  1. OMG – I can no longer count how many times I have driven I20 from Dallas to Midland. I certainly recognized many of your exit signs. In case you did not know, I was born in Odessa and raised in Midland – lucky me. Thanks Brian for another funny post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, I remember your connection, so I tried to throw in a few bits just for you. And as you know, there’s not a lot to look at for long stretches of the road, so I wrote this blog post out of sheer boredom one time while my partner was driving… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like you need to move to Austin.
    Arizona has some great names too, especially for gulches – Dead Man Gulch, Dead Horse Gulch, Dead Skunk Gulch. Apparently lots of things die in gulches. My favorite town name is Nowhere, Arizona. It’s in the middle of… yeah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, that’s the second intriguing book title that’s been suggested in the comments so far. I can just see the display in a bookstore: “Lots of Things Die in Gulches: The History and Hard Times of Nowhere, Arizona”.

      Liked by 1 person

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