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your luggage, have a bite of truck stop breakfast, and most importantly, be ready to roll just before the sun rises. Leaving Shiner, we turned north to La Grange, again crossing the Colorado River just north of town. We continued to shun the wider highways, driving on roads that most people probably don’t know about, even if they live there. We zigzagged north, going through little towns every few miles, most with a population now under 3,000, many originally established by the railroad. I was happy to be driving through Rockdale, home to some of my relatives, and Rosebud, birthplace of the Chargers’ LaDainian Tomlinson, according to the billboard at the edge of town. We came across the Brazos just south of Calvert where we and the river both veered west. At Temple we crossed I-35 with no fanfare, sitting on the east side of the highway until all the stars were aligned and the escort vehicles were able to halt traffic long enough to get us through the intersection. In those few days we got to know something about the people we were traveling with—it seemed important to do that—we were a team. And the morning Suzee and I were awarded purple t-shirts with the KENCO logo on them, we were much more than proud, we were accepted. We felt

“I am a regionalist. My world centers in the Southwest, and it does not extend very far away. I find in it enough material to delight and inspire me not for one lifetime but for several.” - Peter Hurd comfortable standing in that circle that forms on gravel parking lots or by the sides of the highways where people stand and talk and tell jokes and stretch stories. We passed through towns that not a lot of people have heard of, towns like Moody and McGregor, and some they have, such as Crawford. (Mr. President, you sure have a pretty place there.) Local law enforcement would join our dwindling caravan to help direct the traffic. Stop lights tilted up as the crate slowly eased under them; long strips of wood protected the top of the crate and helped keep wires from snagging on the metal box. We waited for almost an hour outside the city limits of one town that does not permit traffic such as ours to pass during the lunch hour—a midday curfew. People notice when you are hauling a 15 x 50 x 12 foot crate. Grown men, teenagers, women with their babies would all come to a standstill after a first glance. They’d stop for a longer

look and then wave and wonder what could possibly be in that box. Even the livestock would look up in mild amazement as we barreled past, tossing the tree limbs and blowing up dust. We went through Hico, where my grandfather had been postmaster in 1880, and on up to Stephenville, home of Tarleton State University and Ty Murray, champion pro rodeo cowboy. Skirting around the south edge of town, we made a rare stop, filling up with fuel and answering questions about what we were hauling. There we turned almost due south, driving down to Dublin, pausing long enough to stock up on their special recipe of Dr. Pepper. It was prairie with bluebonnets, pastures with scrub oak, but very little livestock—it was dry in that part of the country, too, and some of it was on fire by then. From there we dipped further south to Comanche, so named because it had once been their land, then back up to Rising Star, where the city hall is built

FALL 2013 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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Focus on Artesia Fall 2013  
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