If a person was to travel from Jacksonville, Fl. to Los Angelos, Ca by automobile; they most likely would use Interstate 10. I-10 is the fourth longest highway in the United States behind I-90, I-80, and I40. It stretches just over 2460 miles passing through eight states. In Texas I-10 is 881 miles long and is the longest stretch of interstate highway in a single state. In western Texas it passes through some of the most barren land in the nation.
It got me to thinking about how important our automobiles are to us. We can make the journey from coast to coast in 3-4 days today. Before modern transportation including trains and automobiles the majority of travel was by horse or wagon. With the average of only 20 miles traveled in a day the journey would have taken 4-6 months of travel. Often the travelers would have to stop and winter-in. They would either continue their journey at winter's end or decide to settle where they stopped. Often these settlements were at locations having resources needed to sustain life, so others would stop and the settlement grew into a town. As transportation modernized and resources were depleted some of the settlements slowly died as folks moved on. These ghost towns are scattered throughout the United States.
I recently read of an archaeologist who was excavating old outhouses in some of these ghost towns. It sounds gross but the scientist has found some interesting clues to how the settlers lived. In fact in one town that was the site of a massacre they found a leather bag with several gold coins and a parchment note explaining how the town had been over run by banditos from mexico. It was originally thought that the people had moved on further west. The archaeologist upon further excavation in the area of the horse corral found the remains of about 30 bodies that are thought to be the townspeople.
We have it easy today when it comes to travel. Trips that used to take days now take hours. Just maybe it would not hurt us to slow down, get off the big highway, and have a little adventure. We have a great state full of history and beauty.