Our journey began Monday morning just after dawn.
Previously, Darling Hubby had mapped our trip to Colorado. On Sunday, he decided to check for possible road construction so he went to Drive Texas, a website that shows every highway and any construction underway in the entire state.
After checking that absolutely fantastic website, he plotted a new course.
On Monday, we headed north. Our waypoint destination was Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. This was a research trip for me because the stories in my Small Town Texas Romance series are set in that region around Amarillo so I wanted more pictures.
The first book of the series, Last Christmas, takes place in the small town of New Estacado which I modeled after Estacado, a prosperous town that quickly became a ghost town back at the turn of the 20th century.
I've always liked the stark beauty of what many consider barren areas of the state. There's something compelling about the plains, mesquite, cactus, and canyons.
The second book of the series, Brianna's Season for Miracles, takes place in New Estacado and on the fictional Walker Ranch, a large property some miles from town.
I'm particularly interested in the Comanche history of the area. (I'm not Comanche—Choctaw and Cherokee instead—but all Native American history interests me. The Comanche called the December full moon, the Evergreen Moon.
Beneath the Evergreen Moon will be Book 3 of the series. I don't have any cover art yet and haven't started writing it. I'm writing Heat Kills, Book 3 of Outlaw Ridge, Texas.
Anyway, Beneath the Evergreen Moon stars Gracie, the small town librarian who appeared in the first two books. The third book is also going to be set in New Estacado, and on another property near the town. Gracie has caught the writing bug from the man Brianna married, and she is especially interested in the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, the girl kidnapped by the Comanches when she was a child.
Cynthia Ann lived on the rolling plains of the East Panhandle and grew up to marry a Comanche chief. By all accounts, she was very happy there.
Her son was the famous Quanah Parker who became a great Comanche chief. The town of Quanah, near Copper Breaks State Park, is named after him.
There's a lot to see in the Panhhandle. You'll find the remains of the stone buildings of Fort Griffin and Fort Richardson. They are state parks as are most of the forts that bordered the frontier, known now as the Texas Forts Trail. There's also Palo Duro Canyon which is the second largest canyon in the U. S. The first, of course, is the Grand Canyon.
I had created a playlist for our trip. Of course, it's mostly country music which I generally listen to on special occasions, like kicker dance halls, street festivals, and when traveling across Texas.
These are all on Amazon so you can easily sample them. If you're a Prime member, you can set up your own playlist with these. They're perfect if you want to throw a themed Beer and Boots party.
- naturally we started with Amarillo by Morning by George Strait
- Luckenbach, Texas by Waylon Jennings went there during our winery trip
- Waltz Across Texas by Willie Nelson (purists will say I should have Ernest Tubb track)
- If You're Gonna Play in Texas by Alabama
- God Blessed Texas by Little Texas
- Galveston by Glen Campbell
- Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind by George Strait
- Texas When I Die by Tanya Tucker
- All My Ex's Live in Texas by George Strait
- Girls from Texas by Pat Green featuring Lyle Lovett
- My Texas by Josh Abbott Band
- Miles and Miles of Texas by Asleep at the Wheel (the essential Texas Road Trip song)
- What I Like About Texas by Gary Nunn
- Blame It On Texas by Mark Chestnutt
- San Antonio Stroll by Tanya Tucker
- Bob Wills Is Still the King by Waylon Jennings
- Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys by Waylon and Willie
If we'd driven it straight without stopping, it still would have taken more than 8 hours. We made it to Amarillo, not by morning, but by night.