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  Title Date Document
  Go back to the News List! Texas is different but it's home 07/22/2005 Document  
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Texas is different but it's home

After a few hectic weeks of moving my wife's boss to a new office in which I was enlisted as a labor technician (fetch and tote), we got the job done. I was ready for us to relax with a fishing trip on Texoma, always a good cure for a sore back and frazzled nerves.

Her idea was to get away for a weekend and relax somewhere else.

Being a nice guy I said that was fine. Where to go was sort of left hanging in the air.

As we were ready to leave Friday I suggested we go to West Texas and see Palo Duro Canyon and the play Texas. The trip started well. As we went up 287 we saw a sign that said Cap Rock Canyon State Park. Turning off we followed the signs. Coming to the park entrance a sign said Cap Rock Park was home to an original Texas Buffalo herd.

Looking off to my left as we drove toward the headquarters, I saw several Bison grazing. They looked a little funny but we drove on. As I got closer I saw that whatever they were eating was not very nutritious.

They were thin as planks. Turned out that was what they were - plywood cut-outs. They look real from a distance.

Going in the office my eyes lit up: there were pictures of people holding up fish, including some nice bass on the bulletin board. Always on the search for new water and having seen nothing wetter than a possible crawdad hole, I asked where they were caught. She pointed out the door and said in Lake Theo. I drove over the hill expecting a lake. There was a waterhole about the size of Loy Lake. Welcome to Lake Theo.

We finished our tour of the park and while interesting, it wasn't much of a canyon.

On the road again as Susan consulted the map, we found out you can't get there from where we were at. A long drive found us on the South end of Palo Duro Canyon. It was another long drive to get to the entrance.

If you have never been there, it's a pretty good size hole in the ground just out of Canyon, Texas.

It is an interesting ride to the bottom as you switch back and forth on the winding road. Getting to the bottom we looked around some, then found out the play Texas didn't start until dusk. You can get a Barbecue dinner with the fixings outside the amphitheater before the show starts.

If you every wonder how we got to be Texans and we are a little different from the other 49 states you need to watch this play. The actors and support groups are all students or former students from West Texas State University and have put the show on for 40 years continuously during the summer months.

The actors put on a show explaining the history of Texas under all Six Flags. Music, dancing and special effects keep you enthralled. As a matter of fact, one of those effects will almost make you have to change clothes. Watch the Canyon Rim as the show starts.

The show ended and since we had been driving all day, a Motel was on our minds. I know how Joseph and Mary felt about finding a room. Canyon was full. Off to Amarillo, where I tried 12 motels and they were all full. The manager of one said a Jehovah Witness Convention was taking place along with a major rodeo. At one inn that had a vacancy sign on, a little old lady got to the door the same time I did. Being a gentlemen, I opened the door for her. She went to the desk and got the last room. It was now 1:20 a.m. and I was tired and getting a mite cranky. Off on I-40 North we went. In a town named Conway I saw a sign that said vacancy. Susan said she didn't care what the motel looked like as long as it had a bed.

As I pulled in so help me God there were a bunch of horses tethered in the middle of the parking lot grazing on the lawn. I found out where some of the cowboys were staying. Going to the office I was greeted by a steel door with a porthole in it. This should have been clue No. 1. A middle eastern man buzzed me in. He was behind a thick glass window - No. 2 clue. I could hardly understand him but I got us a room. Then he asked me what was I driving - No. 3 clue. I told him an off-road pickup and he said you can get there in it his exact words.

This motel wasn't on anybody's list from A to Triple A. Inside the room I felt safe - the door had three locks. It had a bed and was fairly clean but had no TV. When I asked the manager about this he told me to quit complaining he could rent it for 30 minutes and make more than he did off me. Back to the room I went.

When Susan turned the sheets back, they had holes in them. No matter. They looked and smelled clean and we went to bed. The next morning we noticed what looked like blood stains on the mattress and box springs and a lot of it. Cautiously opening the door, I noticed the horses were gone. As Susan and I drove across the parking lot, we noticed some girls coming out of the motel rooms. Not wanting to be inquisitive, we quietly got out of Conway.

It was an interesting west Texas trip to say the least and I recommend it. It's not that bad a drive and if you make reservations ahead you should not have to go through what we did. I suggest you go see it to get a unique look on what makes us Texans. It can easily be done in a weekend.

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