~ Dallas & Denton ~
While I have not had the pleasure to explore Dallas and its suburb of Denton at my leisure, I have been through the area on two occasions. The most recent time was way back in 1993, when I was a teenager returning from a family road trip to Colorado with my parents and brother. We had just spent the previous night in Wichita Falls and were en route to our next destination, Houston. We set out in the early morning darkness across the North Texas prairie. Traveling by way of US Route 287 and US Route 380, we reached Interstate 35 at the city of Denton. Denton, located to the north of Dallas, is a bustling suburban hub of mid-rise office buildings with a busy freeway.
We took I-35 south just as morning rush hour was getting into gear. While there was a lot of traffic, which was slow at points, my curiosity and wanderlust kept me content watching the busy metroplex outside the window. Before reaching Downtown Dallas, we could see Texas Stadium, the former home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, situated to the west in the city of Irving. A little further down the highway we entered Downtown Dallas’ forest of striking and distinctive skyscrapers. Amidst the towers we changed course to Interstate 45, which snaked through downtown offering views of the skyline from northern and eastern vantage points. Some of the icons travelers see include the sphere-capped Reunion Tower and the red Pegasus atop the Mobil Oil building. Suddenly, the city faded away. With the skyline still looming large out the back window, the landscape south of Downtown quickly became quite rural. I also don’t remember seeing much traffic heading the opposite direction at this point. The terrain remained flat and rural for most of the duration of our trek toward Houston.
This strange abrupt transition from urban to rural actually reminds me of the first time I came through the Dallas area in the 1980s. That time we were arriving from the east by way of Interstate 20 and Shreveport, Louisiana. We were crossing the wide open plains of East Texas when up ahead the skyline of Dallas emerged like a mirage on the horizon. As we closed in on the city, we took the Interstate 635 beltway around the eastern periphery. Of course, it was afternoon rush hour that time, so we had to deal with a lot of traffic. Finally we reached the aforementioned city of Denton, which served as our hotel stop for that day.
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