Written by Texas Highways
In the January issue, writer June Naylor digs into the Glen Rose-area restaurant scene with a story on Loco Coyote, a barbecue restaurant that draws crowds as much for the ambiance as for the topnotch food. Here are some ideas to round out your Glen Rose weekend.
There are times when the highways of West Texas seem to go on forever. Small towns and rest stops flash by with seemingly little to differentiate one from another. However, each highway exit offers a call to discover something distinctive, which is exactly what happened when I pulled off into the desert oasis of Monahans.
Few things evoke the romance of the Old Southwest more than adobe. Houses made of earth seem timeless, older than the river that flows between Texas and Mexico. They appear to have simply emerged from the landscape as naturally as ocotillo and agave.
On a 1709 expedition into the unsettled territory north of the Rio Grande, Fray Isidro Espinosa of Nueva España wrote in his diary about the springs and river that later gave rise to the city of San Antonio, noting that the river could “supply not only a village but a city” and that “we called it the river of San Antonio de Padua.”
At 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, my husband and I turn off US 67 onto twisty, narrow Somervell County Road 1004 southwest of Glen Rose. About a mile down the way, we come upon a ramshackle barbecue joint where pickup trucks, SUVs, and an assortment of Harleys and other motorcycles are parked beside a cedar-post fence.
Halfway through a pumpkin porter and a bluegrass song, my Thursday night is humming along nicely. I’m sitting outside at a long wooden table at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in the heart of Austin’s Rainey Street.
Each visit to Buffalo Gap proves more rewarding than the last. This tiny burg (population about 460) sits in a woodsy hollow less than 10 miles south of Abilene, and reassures me that there are still places whose charm stems from old-fashioned simplicity. Equally removed from modern-world worries is a refuge known as Perini Ranch Steakhouse, the primary reason I bothered to find Buffalo Gap in the first place.
A guitar-brandishing fiberglass jalapeño beckons from the sidewalk in downtown Irving. Walk a few paces more and you’ll find a keyboard painted on the walkway, and beyond that, a glass door etched with the names of famous songs, from “Tumblin’ Tumbleweed” to “Wooly Bully” and “I Want to Take You Higher.”
There’s a new sense of energy and possibility on the streets of downtown Waco—not a boom, exactly, but a steady drumbeat led by some determined entrepreneurs whose vision of the future is infused with an affectionate regard for the city’s past.
How can one explain the neon magnetism of Route 66? Before this summer, I could quote a few lines of the famous 1946 Bobby Troup lyric, but if pressed, I had trouble pinpointing on a map precisely where you could “get your kicks.”
Stylle Read took an interest in re-creating old-time Texas with colorful artwork while growing up in Lufkin in the 1950s. “It was the decade of Davy Crockett on TV’s wild frontier and the John Wayne Alamo movie,” he explains. “I was hooked on history from a very young age.”