Journal

Imperial to Pecos

IMPERIAL, TX –  June 3rd. Embarked at 4 PM passing an abandoned gas station which stood beside a quiet intersection. A stop light blinked red. Temperatures neared a hundred degrees. Dust rose from a nearby field. I proceeded west over Farm to Market Road 1053 toward the town of Pecos.

Ruins stood beside the road. Mesquites swayed in the wind on each side. A garage accepted its rust with ease. A house stood in the distance; its roof sagged in the middle from withstanding time. A portion of its wall lay on the ground creating a hole broad enough to enter. A chair, silhouetted, faced outward from the darkness. I snapped a picture and continued west. A blue shotgun shell rested in the sand beside fresh tracks.

A caution sign shouted, “Rough pavement ahead.” as the car dipped and lurched rightward beside an open sinkhole. It is my understanding that a dry oil well, left unplugged for decades, had collapsed inward on itself pulling surface area downward into the earth. The state had added a south lane to the highway to counter the pavement’s bend.

Fresh pavement continued northwest on FM 1450 beside the river Pecos. A flat landscape spread outward in all directions. Barbwire marked the edge of the public easement. Oil drilling rigs stood above the horizon. I stopped to watch pumpjacks as traffic increased. To the west, a thunderstorm approached bringing gray clouds and colder temperatures.

Reached Pecos. Interstate Twenty bustled. I passed a new hotel and pulled into the parking lot of a truck stop. People came and went, some needed to stretch while others purchased gas. I reviewed my notes.

Eighty pictures of Palo Duro Canyon shared

CANYON, TX – Palo Duro Canyon is Amarillo’s playground. While living in the area, I visited the landmark to hike, see nature and renew my wellbeing. I love the ruggedness and warmth of the landscape. Here are eighty pictures of those adventures available for download and reuse including images of cliffs, trails, vegetation and more. View Flickr album: Palo Duro Canyon.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park | (CC BY-ND 4.0)

Western Frontier Days 2018

SHEFFIELD, TX – Quiet Fort Lancaster came alive for Western Frontier Days. On the third weekend in May, we visited and saw a variety of presenters and reenactors. Friendly camels stole the show.

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Staff from Fort McKavett gave an overview of the signal corp and the telegraph. Before the advent of electronic messaging, the Army used a signal method called wig wag, the waving of red and white flags to communicate binary messages over long distances. Railroads used telegraphy before the army. However, US troops installed transmission lines to Forts Concho, Stockton, and Bliss before trains reached El Paso.

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Sahawe Dancers of Uvalde performed Native American dance on Saturday. Organized by a scoutmaster in the 1950s, they brought a sixty-year tradition with them. The troop gave a detailed description before each dance.

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Visitors encountered a variety of gentle creatures from horses to cattle. However, the camels stole the show. We learned they are stronger than horses and have an energy efficient digestive track. Used on Lower Road as pack animals before the Civil War, they disappeared from service when US troops returned to Texas.

Fort Lancaster is a window into the history of transportation and the settling of the southwest. The annual Western Frontier Days is a great time to visit.

Fort Lancaster

Travel Texas Pecos Trail

MIDLAND, TX – We went to the Petroleum Musem to see a presentation on the history of the Pecos Trail. As part of HemisFair ’68 held in San Antonio, the state of Texas established ten driving tours to promote tourism. Govoner John Connally championed the project. Pecos Trail links forts, state parks, historic homes, museums and more.

texaspecostrail.com