Setting out on the road each day in Houston brings a mixture of anxiety and ambition. You have to mentally prepare yourself for a road rally but at the same time it's a bit of fun, like Grand Theft Auto gone live (well, without the gangsters). When we found out we were moving here the first thing I did was started shopping online for a big car. Well, not a massive car, but at least one that was a bit high off the ground. Because one thing I do know is that the term "Don't Mess With Texas" is for real, and you do not want to be the smallest car on the road.
Of course, the drivers of the little cars have the biggest cojones around here. When I see a car speeding up behind me and then proceeding to weave in and out of traffic like a squirrel with a death wish, it's pretty much always some tiny, old car that would be no match for the beasts that patrol the Texas streets. And I'm not even talking about the Hummers and Escalades.
No, here we have little baby monster trucks. The biggest ones come in a few different varieties. First you have the extra-long pickup trucks, which are great fun to navigate around in the parking lots here in Texas. Quite often I see people who look like they might live on a farm or ranch getting out of these so I try not to judge. Then you have the extra tall, unnatural pickup trucks. These have hydraulics and other elevation mechanisms installed to ensure that the driver is sitting high above the minions below him. Finally, you have the truly ridiculous trucks. Like everything else, I guess they figure go big or go home.
I wish I'd had my camera handy on the day we encountered the largest of these that I have seen. We were walking from our car to a store and heard a loud crunch behind us in the parking lot. It startled me and I turned to see an enormous white truck pulling out of its parking space. His massive tires had just flattened a glass bottle, and between the cab and the flat-bed a tall vertical exhaust pipe was exhaling smoke as the engine growled like it wanted to eat the little Hyundai compact parked next to it. I'm not sure how this thing passed its inspection but I guess it was within the acceptable boundaries (whatever those may be). All you have to hope when you see one of these is that the driver doesn't get behind the wheel after a kegger and take some unwitting family out. Because sadly we heard our first drunk-driving-in-a-pick'em-up-truck story within the first month after we arrived - from the surviving idiot back at work to tell the tale (note he did not kill anyone, just had a near brush with death himself).
No, unfortunately I have not captured the largest of the trucks that I've seen on the roads here, but be sure to be prepared for them should you foray onto the Texas roads. Bonus extra road rally points go to all the motorcyclists out there because I have yet to see one wearing a helmet, even on the interstate. I guess it isn't a law in this state. At least all this makes for constant entertainment while you're sitting in traffic and for keeping you on your toes the rest of the time.