“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”
Solo motorcycle touring in vast unpopulated areas can seem daunting. The what-ifs and what then circulate in my mind.
The Machine’s sounds have become so familiar to my ear.
I find a rhythm in the ticks and bings. Then, while chugging in the jugs and pops in the pipes, fill out the rest of the melody.
We take it a mile at a time, me and the Machine. Neither expecting any more from each other than what we are.
To hell with the what-ifs, westward.
Bankhead signs aplenty.
This one is next to a cemetery on the route into Colorado City.
The Colorado Hotel, aka The Baker. While not as grandiose as the other Baker properties, she still has an attraction, at least to me.
Read more about the Colorado City Baker, Hotel here.
Outside of Colorado City, Texasradio’s KVMC radio larger-than-life mic is partnered up with a Bankhead Highway sign. Follow the link below to learn more about the history of this station and its owner.
The old Bankhead Alignment headed west into Big Springs, Texas.
Keep in mind, that if you are on the interstate, you are not on the right road.
The Hotel Settles recently underwent a 60 million dollar renovation, repositioning its status as the most fabulous Hotel between El Paso and Fort Worth.
More about the Hotel here.
Big Spring, Texas, is a nightlife town. Great restaurants and bars sit below the Hotel Settles.
I still claim that Lumbre has the best fish tacos on the planet.
A stop at the oldest Harley Davidson dealership in Texas, which just happens to be on the Bankhead Highway.
Keep an eye out for Quanah Parker Arrows along the route.
This area of Texas was known as Comancheria. The Comanche occupied this land for 100s of years.
Anglo settlers began to tame the wild west by relocating the Native Americans to reservation lands. This was a time of change for the Kiowa and Comanche.
Quanah Parker became a great Comanches leader during this transition time. Quanah assimilated while maintaining his Comanche culture. He bipartisanly negotiated with Anglos and Native Americans to develop mutually beneficial understandings.
Several of these arrows, celebrating Quanah Parker, can be found in Bankhead Highway towns.
Right off the Bankhead Highway route is the childhood home of President George W. Bush, in Midland. I guess it would have also been President Bush’s, President Bush’s dad’s, home.
I find a great one-stop shop on the route in Odessa, Texas.
Midland and Odessa are full of incredible sights. Vintage motels line the route, as well as museums and shops.
I continue on down the Bankhead.
Just west of Odessa, the Machine and I fall off the Caprock. A dramatic difference in landscape and flora.
Now it seems like a desert.
There is my sign. Right next to my tried and proper railroad track.
The Monahans Sand Dunes collect just north of my path. The sand dunes are home to the world’s largest, most minor oak tree forest.
The forest is over 40,000 acres and the trees are not more than three feet tall.
Check out the link to learn more.
Next to my route is a water tank for the old Texas and Pacific Railroad.
I stay on the service road, the original alignment, away from the motorists in a hurry.
From Pyote, Texas, I take a detour to Wink, Texas, to check out a museum.
Wink, Texas, is the hometown of Roy Orbison.
The small town celebrates its Rock-n-Roll legend with a museum right on Mainstreet.
Visitors can actually try on a pair of Orbison’s own glasses.
Back on the Bankhead, I find the Rattlesnake Bomber Base.
The second airbase we visited out in west Texas was utilized for training pilots and crew during World War II.
Rattlesnake Bomber Base was the B-17 Flying Fortress crew training base. After the war, the base became home to new aircraft, including the Enola Gay.
On December 2, 1953, the Enola Gay was flown out of Pyote, Texas’ Rattlesnake Bomber Base to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., the last time it was in the air.
On to Pecos, Texas, home of the first rodeo.
Yes, the first rodeo ever.
Big Boots in Pecos outside the museum with a bit of BH on them.
It is disheartening to find things turned to rubble. Sometimes it is Mother Nature reclaiming what is hers. Other times it is Man clearing the way for progress or removing an eyesore.
All that is left of the Boulder Courts in Pecos is the sign and arch entry.
Why couldn’t they just have torn it all down?
I will end Across the State in Eight (part 7) – A Bankhead Highway motorcycle adventure with the final pour from Cisco’s own Red Gap Brewing “Gunsight Hefeweizen.”
Stay tuned for part 8 and the end of the Bankhead Highway Adventure.