Larry Hesketh of Kerrville continued his second week of solo travels to drive around the border of Texas, this segment his route from the El Paso area and turning north into the Panhandle to find the northern-most town in the state.
He said he found the most western town in the state at Anthony, outside El Paso on the border with New Mexico.
He noted the time zone changes west of Van Horn, creating a little confusion.
But on the bright side he found the Little Bavarian Restaurant that’s been popular in El Paso for 10 years; and had a very good meal there.
At Anthony on the border, there’s a small bridge right at the state line, and Hesketh said it has two colors of pavement, showing some differences between Texas and New Mexico paving materials.
“When I was leaving El Paso, I passed a group of 12 Border Patrol vehicles, part of them going in one direction and the rest going the other way. Something serious was going on there, somewhere,” Hesketh said.
He said he was headed for Guadalupe Mountain National Park but it was only 40 degrees with strong winds. And his Plan B was the Carlsbad Canyon area to see the bats. But it was cold and raining; and the bats weren’t to be seen that day.
So he stopped at McKittrick Canyon’s visitor center – which was unmanned when he got there – and took a short hike instead of about 1 mile.
“I met a guy there who also missed seeing the bats at Carlsbad. And on the McKittrick trail, the mountains were covered by the clouds.
Overall, after visiting Anthony and on his way to Andrews taking roads numbered 62 and 285, Hesketh said there was – again – a lot of road construction going on.
One identified site he passed was a memorial to military veterans.
After a meal in Andrews, he turned north toward Seminole.
“I saw lots of pumpjacks but more than half of them were idle. And then there was a mixture of oil jacks and those big irrigation systems in field; and it was very green.”
He drove from Plains to Bronco on a highway clogged for miles with huge farming implements blocking the road. And the gravel shoulder wasn’t wide enough on either side to pass them.
Hesketh said he turned off that route at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, known mostly for its sightings of migratory birds.
Then he continued via Muleshoe and Farwell to Clovis to stay overnight. After that he took Interstate 40 into Amarillo.
“I had supper at the Big Texan restaurant where they give public recognition to anyone who can eat one of their largest 72-ounce steak dinners in four minutes. There was a photo on the wall of a 120-pound housewife who did that; and a man called Klondike Phil who ate two of them in one hour in 1963,” he said. “And no, I didn’t try that. The oldest person to do that was a grandmother and the youngest, an 11-year-old boy.
“I was surprised by the number of railroads all over the Panhandle,” he said.
He drove from Amarillo to Vega to stay overnight.
And that’s where he found the new Wilderado High School that has its own agricultural company, and was featured on Texas Country Reporter before, like the previous ladies’ group trip around Texas that inspired Hesketh to do likewise.
“The high school students at Wilderado take pledges to have no limits on their boundaries.”
His next stop was the Cadillac Ranch, with its 10 vehicles planted tailgate down into the ground, and painted a big variety of colors.
In fact, there are more vehicles “planted” there now, he said; and visitors are invited to do some painting on a few of them, too. Large placards depict Elvis, Willie Nelson and John Wayne; and there’s a huge statue of a cowboy, too.
Next Hesketh visited West Texas A&M University near Canyon, including its on-campus museum that exhibits archeological items such as ancient camel tracks. He said it made him think of Kerr County’s Camp Verde and its tie to camels.
“They also displayed a lot of firearms and halls of different artists’ works. It was very impressive.
Then at Buffalo Lake Wildlife Refuge, “all the trees are bent to the north because of the constant winds,” he said. “And they say, ‘Nothing comes easy except the wind.’”
He stayed in Vega overnight before going to Dalhart and Texline, and ended at Perryton on Friday.
“I visited Texhoma, both the Texas and Oklahoma sides. It’s definitely the most northern place in Texas with half the town in Oklahoma. But I checked latitude and longitude to define the most north and west places.”
He said his next planned stop after that was to visit the actual unpopulated crossroads in the Panhandle used at the end of the movie “Castaway,” when the Tom Hanks character stopped to decide where to go next.
“I’ve gotten a suggestion to end my trip at the geographic center of Texas; and I’m considering doing that, after I get around the whole border, back to Anthony.”