Runaway Train

Highway 287 through north central (and northwest) Texas follows a rail line.  It is also the quickest route from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls.  Only a two and a half hour drive or so, it is dotted with grain mills along the tracks that mark what was once a bustling industry.  Towns with “people names” ebbed and flowed, with most still existing – even if only as ghosts of their former selves:  Henrietta, Vernon, Harrold (yes, with two r’s), Bowie, etc.

I remember taking this drive just about every summer of my youth because this was also the quickest route to Colorado and my dad would strap me to the luggage rack of his Subaru and allow me to take in the scenery…  of nothingness.

Back in the day, every so often we would pass through a town.  The speed limit would slow down to a crawl, notated by “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs, and the vastness of the prarie would be replaced by traffic lights and brick buildings that screamed Americana.  And there was always that dreaded highway construction.  I hated it at the time because it always delayed my arrival at a mountain paradise or my arrival home.

Sadly, even though the construction is over, I hate it even more now.

Highway 287 now skirts around these little towns that have made their existence matter by offering a Dairy Queen or an Alsups or a speed trap.  And while it made my drive to Wichita Falls a little quicker, it also tugged on the heart strings a bit.

And, wow, how Wichita Falls has – well – fallen…


3 thoughts on “Runaway Train

  1. Katy

    That sounds like the drive on Hwy 34 from Italy up through Ennis, past my parents’ house and north through Kaufman county. Speed limits drop to 30mph through small towns like Italy, Avalon, Bardwell, and Rosser. Driving a road like that makes me feel like I’m at home, wherever it may be.

  2. I was so excited about coming back to the town I was born in and seeing the places my parents hung out while dad was at Shepard. Sadly, this place is the arm pit of Texas. A God forsaken wasteland. It is no place to raise children that is for sure. The Chinese food is good though, so its not a total loss.

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