Take me where the pavement grows

Oh East is east and West is west, take me where the pavement grows…Buttons and Bows with Bob Hope


If I have no other impression of the West, it’s that it isn’t the East.  There’s a reason most of the population lives on the two coasts and it has to do with water.  But more of that later.

When the Spanish found what we easterners call the West, a century or so before the Northern Europeans (forget the Vikings, they only visited), they thought it looked like home.  As one who has traveled in Spain, I must agree there are strong similarities, perhaps these days beginning with the windmills.

Many of the place names in the West are Spanish. As are many words in the American lexicon.  Rodeo, corral, mesa, ranch, lasso, rio, chaparral, canyon, coyote.  Some of the words we think of as Spanish are derivatives of American Indian words…like Ouchita, for example.  When the Spanish arrived, they asked the inhabitants who they were and their tribal names became place names.

When I worked in the race and ethnic area of the Census Bureau, I had a coworker, who was irritated by the persistence of the use of Nez Perce to describe her people.  Although they no longer pierced their noses, the name the French had given her people had persisted.  She told me her tribal name, but I can’t remember it.


Connie reports that as they progress in a southwesterly direction, the country is becoming more and more Spanish.  I remind her that it has been thus for over 500 years, and that we have Spanish-American cousins in New Mexico. When they get home I will lend them my copy of William Prescott’s History of the Conquest of Mexico.

They have left the green behind.

So the second thing that hits you after you enter the West is how dry it is.  Later today, they will find the major source of water because they are on their way to the Grand Canyon.

Meanwhile,below are the photos from their journey through the Ute reservation. What strikes me are the magnificent land forms.

Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies

Sand Dunes National Park, created in 2004

Sand Dunes National Park, created in 2004

Driving through Mesa Verde Colorado

Driving through Mesa Verde Colorado


Ute Reservation

Ute Reservation



22 thoughts on “Take me where the pavement grows

  1. Interesting observation about the Spanish applying tribal names to places. Tribal people also left a major legacy in the travel area. A great many of the major transportation routes now in use in the West follow traditional trails the tribes used when they moved about either on foot or horseback..


  2. I have been enjoying the photos of your family’s trip out west. Interesting about the names in the beginning of your post, and thanks for visiting and telling me about your memories in DC. All very interesting.


  3. The University of Utah has permission from the tribe to use the title Utes. It used to be used interchangably with the words Redskin…and that’s the slur. The university no longer uses the name Redsikins.

    You are welcome. LOL


    • All water has trace elements of minerals. Our water is sweet loaded with calcium and lime. I have read forensic scientists can tell where a corpse lived by the mineral deposits in the teeth. Also, the NYC water is supposed to be better than bottled water. I guess it’s like anything else beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


  4. Wonderful photos – it must be an incredible experience to travel from East to West in the States. So much land and such variety.
    Blessings from Dalamory


  5. What amazing scenery. Not hard to imagine all sorts of history here from prehistoric to the Native Americans, to present day. Great pictures.


    • No label works well. However, When I worked there, the Census Bureau did not use the term Native American because it stirred up too many political issues.

      ‘American’ is derived from an Italian name.

      Anthropologists used the phrase Amerindian to distinguish the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere at the time of the European discovery of the Americas from people from Europe and other places.

      Indian is the name for Asian Indians.

      These days, I believe most historians use the tribal names.


  6. Thirteen dogs? Oh My…….

    Uintah Reservation? G’s brother is a 911 dispatcher there. I fell in love with the Green River Valley outside of Vernal. Then there;s all those dinosaurs they can see too. Then again, they are already in Arizona. Almost here just before two or three rain drops descend on us. LOL


    • Thanks Al. I will relay that to my kids.

      BTW. The photo in my header comes from Humpback Mountain in VA overlooking Charlottesville. Two of my kids, one of them a student at UVA the other at Tech were hiking and got a photo of the sunrise.


      • That’s also a great shot. BTW, her’s a joke for the girls out west: A dog with it’s front right leg bandaged up goes into a saloon in the old west. The bartender demands to know what he’s doing in there. The dog replies “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw!”


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