of stone from a buried petrified forest. Turning north just south of Baird, we stopped for the second night. That day we made about 350 miles. I don’t have a recommendation for an interstate motel along that stretch of road—I can advise you to pack your own coffee filters if you don’t want to use a paper towel. On the other hand, one of the best restaurants in the state of Texas is in Clyde—“Bon Terra Blu.” According to our desk clerk, it’s “one of them high dollar fancy places up the road a’ ways”—believe me, it’s worth your time and money to find it. Just as the sun was rising, we continued on north to Albany, where there’s another fine example of the type of magnificent courthouses that are common in that part of the state. We turned due west, crossing over the Clear Fork of the Brazos more than once between Anson and Snyder, passing cotton fields, oil fields and wind farms. On this side of Gail, we drove up onto the Caprock, the rolling hills flattening into plowed sandy fields, the sky open and empty. Then the country changed again, this time to ranchland and oil fields with drilling rigs, pump jacks and storage tanks. We approached the Midland airport from the north, other vehicles still pulling over, some practically in bar ditches, to watch this
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2013
giant truck make the sharp turns to get in through the gates. After we’d finally reached the airport, again we waited. Air traffic had to be considered; the route to the hangar included an overgrown field with no visible tracks. And as the trucks pulled into position preparing to unload the crate, pilots taxiing down the runway craned their necks the same as farmers had, wondering at that huge box. Unloading and storing the mural was a long, hard day’s work. It was spring.
The wind threatened to pick up to the point that the crane could not even be extended. And, there was a large grass fire just to the south of the airport, smoke billowing up to the point that some flights were delayed. A wild day, but the men kept on working, and finally, using cranes, riggings, fork lifts, chains and a lot of elbow grease, the mural was maneuvered into the rear of the hangar. Dinner that day was 10 boxes of pizza from the backend of an SUV. And then, there she sat, literally cooling her heels (a climate system had been installed around it) waiting