May 22, 2010

Travelogue Day 2

Kansas - Oklahoma - Texas - New Mexico

Four states, two panhandles, and one time zone change! We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, and today's scenery was right out of the movies. We had another beautiful travel day. It was hot, 95 degrees at one point, but it really is true that the lack of humidity makes a big difference in your comfort level. Tomorrow will be another big change, but this time it will be a temperature change!

Our first little stop was a classic Wild West legend site. The Dalton Gang were notorious train robbers. It was mostly a group of brothers that started off on the right side of the law as deputies, but somewhere along the way things went awry! This house in Meade, KS belonged to their sister and brother-in-law, and during the height of their robbery streak, they came here to hide out. They went so far as to build an underground tunnel from the house to the barn so that they could come and go without notice. Naughty, naughty boys, and it didn't end well!

Right at the border of OK and TX is this little town. You could probably figure out where it's located without my help! In both the OK and TX panhandles, there is a lot of vast space, a lot of cattle, a lot of wheat fields, and plenty of oil drilling. This Texhoma establishment boasts holding the World Livestock Auctioneer Championships!

As the saying goes, everything in TX is big, including this Texhoma wheat elevator. You can see the dwarfed Texas border sign in the bottom left of the picture. It was astonishing!

Once in TX it was lunch time, and since I am totally driven to eat the indigenous food of every area, it was only natural that we found a TX barbeque spot. We have recently gotten new phones, which have resulted in big learning curves and a temptation to pitch them in the trash a few times, but the ability to get on the internet as we drive down the road has been fantastic. I Googled, "best BBQ in Dalhart, TX", and found rave reviews for this place...

Three different online reviewers claimed they made a special point of picking the route that would lead them past Hodie's for lunch when they traveled from other states - and we believe them now! Just delicious!

Dalhart is also the site of the once famous XIT Cattle Ranch. In the 1880's this 3 million acre ranch was the largest fenced ranch in the world and spanned across ten counties. I read about this ranch and it's cowboys in a fantastic book about the Dust Bowl - "The Worst Hard Time". This monument is hard to make out, but it's called the Empty Saddle Memorial to the XIT Cowboys. It was really interesting to see where all this history took place, and a little haunting as you watched little dust clouds billow around with the high winds that lasted most of the day.

On a side trip for gas, we ended up on the once famous and thriving Route 66. We'd heard about it and watched travel shows dedicated to it, so it was fun to see it!

The common slogan was "Get your kicks on Route 66". This website tells the fascinating history of this road and has some wonderful pictures as well. There's a lot of nostalgia here, and you can imagine that a lot of families came through here on very exciting vacations. Now however, there is a new highway nearby that took it's traffic away, and there were mostly abandoned businesses in the section we visited. Click on this picture to enlarge and you'll see that many of these business names would not be PC today!

Today was our one long travel day, an eight hour trip, and we ended up in Albuquerque, NM for the night. Quite a change of scenery from Iowa and Kansas! This little stretch of mountains is just outside our hotel.
We drove around the area just a little and gathered local food for a Southwest style picnic at our hotel. We found an amazing fruit market! Albuquerque has a very pretty Old Town area with plenty of Southwest architecture. This is a church and convent in the middle of Old Town. Tomorrow we head to another western state and climb a bit in altitude! See you there.


  1. Hey this is fun! Thanks for sharing your trip, you really know how to find the fun and interesting in an otherwise known-to-be-boring trip. Take me next time!

  2. Thanks for taking us with you guys. I wish I was physically there, although this is pretty cool. Can't wait to hear and see more.

  3. It would be great to have you all along! Glad you're enjoying it vicariously.

  4. These little stops you're seeing are my favorite parts of traveling! You miss so much on the interstate and by plane. I love these lost bits of history!

    Blessings for a continued safe trip!!

    ~Kelli @ Smidgens