Each time I visit the West Texas town of Albany, it seems that the locals mistake me for a resident. I’ve finally realized that the historic frontier ranching town, just a two-hour drive west of my hoame in Fort Worth, is renowned for a welcoming atmosphere that envelops even folks stopping in just for the weekend.
Route 66 first enticed adventure-seekers on a transcontinental journey from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1926. Ever since, cross-country travelers have heeded the call to hit the open road in pursuit of freedom, new beginnings, and the rewards of a fresh experience.
At first glance, Youngblood’s Stockyard Café in Amarillo appears to be your everyday rural coffee shop. If you spend a little time here, however, you realize that the unassuming café is the heart and soul of Amarillo’s legendary stockyards, where more than 300,000 head of livestock are bought and sold each year. And the food here is a cut above what you’d expect to find at a restaurant attached to an auction barn.
When settlers began pushing into the Texas Panhandle in the late 1870s, the town of Clarendon was not like most Western frontier villages. It had no saloons, gambling dens, or bawdy houses, but rather, was populated by farmers and businessmen recruited by a Methodist minister. The county seat of Donley County was nicknamed “Saints’ Roost” by the cowboys and frontiersmen who passed through. These days, the moniker remains a source of pride to many of the area residents.
NO B.B. KING or Beale Street here, but this Texas Panhandle community projects its own kind of harmony between two forks of the Red River. In fact, Memphis has become a family favorite during our frequent trips up and down US 287, offering both a change of scenery and a place where we can relax and recharge before continuing on our way.
Although dust storms were common across the southern Great Plains in the 1930s, the spring storms between 1935 and 1938 proved especially violent. One of the most notorious “black blizzards” occurred on Palm Sunday, April 14, 1935. Originating in South Dakota and pushing southward, it affected portions of five states, including the Texas Panhandle. It hit with such intensity and suddenness that many people believed the end of the world had come. The phenomenon inspired Woody Guthrie, who lived in Pampa at the time, to compose the song “The Great Dust Storm,” which described the approaching cloud as “deathlike black” and “the worst dust storm that ever filled the sky.”