THE BEST OF THE WEST...TEXAS

I flew pipeline out of Midland, TX for a year and a half, which granted me the rare opportunity to see the town and its (150 mile radius) surrounding area from a bird's eyes view. I can personally vouch for what a surprising & fantastic part of the country it is: a little rough on the outside, but warm and hospitable once you give her a chance.
  1. Cork & Pig Tavern: This is by far the number one reason to come to west Texas. From the wood-fired pizzas to the mouth-watering ribs, sandwiches, and other signature entrees, this restaurant is phenomenal.
  2. The I-20 Nature Preserve: I call it, 'The Oasis in the Desert,' a nice juxtaposition with the barren desert landscape
  3. Pump Jacks: Can't get enough of 'em! Midland/Odessa is oil country, which includes everything from batteries, pump jacks, swd's, separators, flow line leaks, injectors, submersibles, to drilling rigs and pulling rigs. The very first derrick in the Permian Basin, the Santa Rita No. 1, is still standing in Texon, about 50 miles to the south.
  4. The Odessa Meteor Crater: Don't get too excited, this 63,500 year-old crater was once 100 feet deep, but time and erosion have done their part and now it has a depth of only 15 feet. Still...go see it!
  5. Stonehenge: No, not the British one, silly. Located just outside the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, I've flown over it countless times. It's pretty cool.
  6. Cigar Frogs: Arguably the best bar in Midland, despite serving only craft beer and wine. The cozy lounge chairs and fire pits in the back add to the chill atmosphere.
  7. CAF: The Commemorative Air Force closed their museum last year, but you can still see warbirds flying throughout the West Texas skies.
  8. Tumbleweeds: Where the wind will blow, they will go...
  9. Odessa's indoor ice skating rink in Music City Mall: It's in the middle of the desert. Need I say more?
  10. Horny toads: Amazing little critters that puff up when threatened and have been known to shoot blood out of their eyes. Also an endangered species.
  11. Big Sky Drive-In Theater: As long as your truck has air conditioning and comfy seats, this theater offers an awesome movie-going experience. Plus, every night is a double-feature.
  12. George W. Bush childhood home: Good historical experience. You will learn something. Only $5.
  13. Further down the road: Definitely recommend the 3-hour trek to Big Bend State Park (and Boquillas, Mexico). You can ride a donkey, hike the Chisos mountains, and go off-roading. Just don't run out of gas.
  14. National WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater, TX: A very historical hangar commemorating the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the first women to fly military aircraft and an inspiration to all women in aviation.
  15. Balmorhea: The world's largest spring-fed swimming pool...with a big crack in the center. You can swim with the little fishies and feed them Vienna sausages.
  16. Monahans Sandhills State Park: I used to fly over these at least three times a week. You haven't truly experienced the sand dunes until you've tried 'sandsurfing.'
  17. Carlsbad caverns: Only a 3 hour drive from Midland, in the Guadalupe mountains of southeastern New Mexico, these caverns stay at a cool 56 degrees F year round. Don't miss the bat display!
  18. Marfa Lights and Squeeze: Whether you're an alien aficionado or not, it worth a shot looking for the historic mystery lights off of highway 90, just 10 miles east of Marfa. In the morning, you can recover from your long night of searching with a stop in the swiss café, Squeeze, and treat yourself to some real swiss chocolates.
  19. Mags! The most ferocious dog in all of west Texas. She hunts and kills bunnies half her size.