State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

own

by Natalia

Texas has some wonderful laws: when you own the land you can pump out as much groundwater from underneath as you want. Comes really handy when your land is arid but you desire to grow some water thirsty lettuce or pecan trees. If that dries wells of your neighbors so be it. It's about who has the biggest pump after all.

Or when you don't feel like farming at all, you can simply find a city in need of water and export water from the desert. Just invest in a diesel pump and some piping and the money will flow your way. Ingenious, huh?It doesn't hurt to have a river or a stream flowing through your land. Just make sure you are upstream. In the case there are too many claims you have a better chance to use the water before the river dries up downstream.

Once you acquire a ranch you can use it as you please. First cut the few remaining trees for lumber, then start raising cattle. When they eat all the grass, move onto goats. They will clear the vegetation real good leaving only creosote bush behind. Overgrazing is not against the law in Texas.

At this point you can prospect for ore and oil - there is a good chance you'll find one or the other. With oil you'll put few rigs and crisscross the surrounding terrain with roads to haul it out. If you discovered ore then you simply start digging here and there. Et voilá, in a few short years you've turned arid but green ranch into a desert. As an owner you are perfectly within your rights to do so.

I like that: nobody, not even the state, can curtail my right to turn my property into my wasteland. Freedom at its finest. I wonder why I haven't moved to Texas yet.

frontier

We've gained some notoriety. Or at least our truck has. We stop at a roadside exhibit and a lady and her granddaughter are asking us if we were in Langtry 2 days before. We strongly suspect ours is the only truck with Vermont registration plates here. It's easy to spot us. People remark we are far from home. They have no idea. A border patrol officer at the checkpoint - yes there are checkpoints in US - seems confused. Is it Vermont or is it Poland we are from? But he stays polite. Looks at our Vermont driving licenses as if they were not real. I cannot blame him. They don't look real to me either. We try to produce passports but he doesn't want to see any other documents and waves us through.

chisos

We decide to spend couple of nights in the Chisos Basin in the Big Bend National Park. It takes us almost 2 days to get here and we are not leaving without having a closer look. The park stretches from Rio Grande north. There is a desert here, but there are also very picturesque mountains. Chisos Range is the highest and the most beautiful. And since the park was created by the CCC it's all about public access: there is a road leading to the basin, a hotel and some cabins. The lack of the Internet is more than made up by the sunsets views and night sky full of blinking stars. We try to sleep with our windows open but unfortunately some people insist on using AC despite the fact that we are over 5500 feet above the sea level and temperature drops comfortably at night. I suspect many guests have absolutely no idea that one can open a window.