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On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever

There's something about looking outward from a height that's, well, different. And it's not just a difference in altitude. Somehow, your internal sense of scale subtly alters and comes into sync with the external panorama. The large no longer looms; worries no longer overwhelm. You find yourself breathing deeper, arms opening wide perhaps, lungs expanding. Maybe it's all that new and welcome oxygen getting to the brain, but your perspective shifts.

Taking the high view, so to speak, offers a unique benefit: From such a vantage point, you can see not only where you've been and where you are, but also where you're going. It's that last one that proves impossible within the confines of time. No matter how much we try, worry, or hope, we haven't found a way to see the future. Only space offers a glimpse of what lies ahead.

For their help with this photo feature, we'd like to thank the district engineers and public information officers of the Texas Department of Transportation. We asked them to nominate two favorite scenic overlooks or rest areas in their districts, then we sent our fine photographers scurrying. We hope you like the results. Even if you're only an armchair traveler, take a moment. Stop. Look. Breathe. Let those daily cares shrink. Take the high view.

Texas highways offer a plethora of scenic overlooks and pleasant rest areas. This list (alphabetical by nearby towns), sent by the Texas Dept. of Transportation districts, is only a sampling of the best.

• US 83/84, 6 miles south of Abilene

• US 271, just north of ArthurCity (near Texas-Oklahoma line)

• FM 906 at Pat Mayse Lake (southwest of Arthur City)

• US 82, a few miles east of Benjamin ("The Narrows," a Texas Historical Roadside site)

• Texas 70, north of Blackwell

• US 377, 20 miles north of Brady (Heart of Texas Park, near the state's geographical center; 5 counties visible from observation deck)

• US 180, about 5 miles west of Breckenridge (view of Hubbard Creek Reservoir)

• US 290, 7.5 miles west of Brenham

• US 90 at FM 359, near Brookshire

• Park Rd. 4, about 7.9 miles south of its intersection with Texas 29 (west of Burnet, at Inks Lake)

• Texas 207, beginning about 10 miles south of Claude (view of Palo Duro Canyon)

• I-10 westbound, about 10 miles west of Comfort

• US 90, between Comstock and Langtry (Pecos River High Bridge overlook; about 45 miles northwest of Del Rio)

• US 82, about 3 miles east of Crosbyton (Silver Falls Park)

• US 183, about 5 miles south of Cuero

• I-20 and Spur 408, near Duncanville (5 miles west of I-20/US 67 junction)

• Loop 375 (Woodrow Bean Transmountain Rd.) in El Paso, from I-10 to US 54, through the Franklin Mountains

• US 281, 8 miles south of Falfurrias (design excellence award from Texas Society of Architects)

• US 385, about 30 miles south of Fort Stockton (view of Glass Mtns.)

• I-10, about 22 miles east of Fort Stockton (overlooks Tunis Creek)

• US 67, about 15 miles south of I-10 (view of Glass and Davis mtns.; nearest town is Fort Stockton)

• FM 965, about 16 miles north of Fredericksburg (overlooks Enchanted Rock)

• US 281, about 10 miles south of George West

• Texas 155, about 7 miles northeast of Gilmer (winds to top of Barnwell Mtn.)

• US 67, about 10 miles southwest of Glen Rose (atop Chalk Mountain, near Dinosaur Valley State Park)

• US 90A at FM 443, about 12 miles east of Gonzales

• Texas 87 at Texas 124, at High Island (birdwatching site on Bolivar Peninsula)

• FM 390, between Independence (site of Old Baylor College) and Burton

• US 190, about 5 miles east of Iraan

• US 69, about 1 mile north of Jacksonville (Love's Lookout)

• FM 1431, about 1 mile east of Kingsland (overlooks Lake LBJ and confluence of Colorado and Llano rivers)

• US 83, about 12 miles north of Leakey (Horse Collar Bluff; view of Frio River)

• FM 337, west from Medina to Vanderpool

• Texas 214, about 3 miles south of Needmore (about 18 miles south of Muleshoe, at Muleshoe Natl. Wildlife Refuge)

• FM 32, between FM 3424 and FM 12 (Devil's Backbone highway; area is about 15 miles north of New Braunfels)

• Texas 290, about 30 miles west of Ozona (overlooks Fort Lancaster)

• FM 1283, about 2 miles south of Bandera/Medina county line (FM 1283 begins 9 miles east of Bandera, at Pipe Creek)

• Texas 16, about 12 miles north of US 180 (about 1 mile southeast of Possum Kingdom Dam)

• US 84, 1.5 miles northwest of Post (atop the Caprock Escarpment)

• FM 170 (The River Road), between Presidio and Study Butte

• Texas 35, between Rockport and Fulton (site on Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail; observation deck, pond, and demonstration garden for hummingbirds and butterflies)

• US 83, about 5 miles north of San Ygnacio (site is a historic landmark; overlooks the Rio Grande and Mexico)

• Texas 256, beginning about 3 miles east of Silverton (leaves the Caprock and goes through the canyon)

• Texas 71, east of Smithville (first roadside park in Texas)

• I-10, about 5 miles west of Sonora

• Texas 37, about 7 miles north of Winnsboro (picnic area with artesian spring)

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From the August 1998 issue.

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