Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blue Skies in Gray County

Great things are always happening in Good Ol' Gray County.  The second largest city in the Panhandle holds unexpected treasures.    It'll take some time, so be sure and plan on staying overnight at one of their fine hotels. Pampa rightly boasts of its magnificent buildings in "Million Dollar Row"...which includes their beautiful county courthouse, historic Post Office, and many other outstanding places in their downtown historic district. Take a walking tour of Pampa's unique Sculpture Tour. The White Deer Land Museum and Freedom Museum of the USA are both high quality museums full of captivating exhibits. Then you won't want to miss the Woody Guthrie Museum and musical note structure built in his honor.  Don't leave Pampa without visiting the largest mural at the Harvester's Lane Bowling Alley....and a bit at the Coney Island   Off to another site for now....Happy Trails,  Deborah Sue McDonald, Texas Plains Trail Region       Photos by Rick Vanderpool

Hail to Hale County

Hale County, pretty much placed right in the center of the Texas Plains Trail Region, is the center of lots of activities as well.  With the Wayland Baptist University, Walmart Center, beautiful Main Street shops, County Courthouse, Museum of the Llano Estacado, Abraham's Art Gallery, The Fair Theater,  Train Depot, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview Civic Center and Municipal Golf Course...there's not a question of whether there's anything to do or so....the question is when do we have time to see it ALL!   Plainview has been part of several movie sets and has claims to being the "Home of Jimmy Dean" who sad to say recently passed away.  Never the less, he will always be known as one of Plainview's brightest celebrities.Plainview hosts some really fun yearly events which include: Cowboy Day Festival, Plainview Symphony Orchestra, Fiesta de Campesina, Bar None Rodeo, 87 on 87 Garage Sales, Pioneer Days, Festival of Lights You can find out lots more about Plainview and Hale County by clicking on their links.   The Texas Plains Trail 2009 and upcoming 2010 Regional Round-Up will be held on August 17, 2010 at their lovely Civic Center.  Come join the fun!   Catch you down the road, Deborah Sue McDonald, Texas Plains Trail Region Executive Director

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Boasting & Toasting About Post/Garza County

Photos by Rick Vanderpool

I've said it before, but here goes again....when it comes to towns in the Texas Plains Trail Region that I never tire of going to....it HAS to be Post.   This community is the model for what I wish all of them could be.  The City, County, Museums, Chambers, and citizens all join together to make it the best it can possibly be.  CW Post layed out his vision, and I guess he must have known that people would come who shared his outlook.  Post's Utopia today is thriving, growing, and thinking forward into what it can be in the future.  For our 19th Stamp Cancellation, it seemed the entire town turned out to celebrate.  Pride in place oozes from each citizen.   After speaking to the 4th and 7th Graders (Thanks to Principal Marvin Self, an old crony of mine), we were all delighted to have a delectable luncheon at Tresa's, the Post City Mayor.  It takes more than a day to do it all.  With their OS Museum, Garza County Historical Museum, Ragtown Theater, and the many precious shops that I can't leave town without visiting, Post is a great girl ( or family) getaway.   They have Lake Allan Henry nearby to take in fishing/boating/or just relaxin'.   Speaking of the Ragtown Gospel Theater, Holle Humphries and I had an inspiring visit with Glen Polk.  Wow!  I left with renewed excitement for what can happen when you and God put your mind to do something. I know I sometimes sound redundant, but don't walk...hurry up and run to this fabulous city in the Plains Trail Region.  Find out more about Post here or Garza County here.  Deborah Sue McDonald, Executive Director.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gotta Go To Gaines County

                                                                                        Photos by Holle Humphries
Gaines County....a few tidbits to toss in your trivia pot.  It's the birthplace of Tanya Tucker and Larry Gatlin.  It holds the record for the coldest day in 1926 at -23 degrees...brrrr.   It's the Peanut Capital of the World.  It has a wonderful monthly Trade Days.You can be sure you'll find lots of treasures. According to some good golfers, it has one of the greatest courses in the region.  Although no one knows for sure, there's a possibility that Quanah Parker was born there, but if not, he definitely spent some time there.   Want more?   Oh, there's a cute little Feed Store that makes fresh peanut butter while you watch.  Yum.   Let's see....oh, Gaines County has 3 wonderful roadside parks that they have saved and made into great places to stop while travelling, have family reunions, or just for a walk or picnic.  Seminole has Gaines County Museum and Seagraves has the Seagraves/Loop Museum and Art Center.  Okay....forget all that....and just take a look at it as a visitor would.  A clean, busy city with oil wells pumping right in the center of town.  Yes, things are hopping in Seminole....traffic jams in downtown.  Is this Dallas? Dolores Mosser, Holle Humphries and I had lunch at the Taco Loco..mucho yummified. We stopped by the Gaines County Museum where very informed director Roy Barnes was filling students minds with the glorious history of the county.  Stop by to visit him sometime.  Check out their website to find all of the upcoming events.   Happy Trails, Deborah Sue McDonald

Excerpt from Dolores Mosser, TPTR Board PresidentThis is the largest salt lake on the Plains and the "debated" birthplace of Quanah Parker. It is in the very middle of nowhere and it did not help that the County changed the highway number on us a couple of weeks ago. But there it was, located in a sand-hill basin and gleaming white. On the west side of the lake was a factory type building and since there was not a "visitors will be shot sign", Holle and I went to see what this place was. We went to the main office and there on the walls were some great historic photos of Quanah Parker. The receptionist was very kind to explain that we were at Cooper Natural Resource salt/brime processing plant. Very technical but the basics are that the wells below the lake bring up to the plant the salt saturated water where the salt is extracted and the water recycled. This salt, I am forgetting the chemical name, sodium something, is what makes paper sacks pliable, powder detergent fluffy and plate glass strong. Just as we were about to leave we see this guy going into the visitor and research building. We asked if he was the geologist and Sid M. invited us in for a chat, needless to say, an hour later we were all parting great friends. He knew all about the history of this area and he confirmed my "How the Plains were made" speech that I love to give. We had a delightful time learning about this 24 hour a day industry. He was so very interesting, believes the Cedar Lake birthplace theory and he loves the Plains. Not an easy thing when you are from Illinois. . Oh, by the way did you know the name "Quanah" means "fragrant" or "smells?" Holli and I have a running joke that Quanah's nickname was "Stinky" because this lake reeks, at least it does now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Than Fine In Foard County

What a day!  What Fun!  When are you coming to Foard County?  Bragging once again, but what a beautiful ride down to Crowell on May 5, 2010.  Heading South out of Quanah on Highway 6, what did I find?  Bluebonnets and many gorgeous wild flowers decorating the roads. I've said this before, but when I drive into Hardeman, Foard, and Cottle County, something in my bones tells me that's where I belong.  Many of my ancestors are buried in those places.  My Grandfather Guy Easley and his family had a ranch west of Crowell, and I own a share of mineral rights.  (Not sure which minerals.)   Anyway, a special mood overtakes me when I start thinking about the land and how it once was.  
At our 18th Stamp Cancellation in Crowell (Who else can boast of being the Wild Hog Capital of the World?), the precious girls from the Three Rivers Foundation really made it special with a reception at the Post Office.  We left to enjoy a great burger, visit the 3RF Office....then made our way out to Copper Breaks State Park where Holle Humphries, Dolores Mosser, and I were awed by the flowers, Longhorns, lake, and natural beauty of the park.  Carl Hopper took us to get up close and personal with the Longhorns.  (See pictures to understand just HOW close.)  As the hour was getting late....and the road no shorter back home, we had to cut our trip short.  I did get to stop by the Rusty Relics Shop in Quanah for a purchase of some cute flowers.  They are the only kind I can grow anymore.  FAKE!  Crowell is such a truly cute place.  With the State Park, the Three Rivers Foundation Observatory, Star Walks, Fire Hall Station Museum, and Trail Rides--it's a town that surely shows its pride in place proving that, "Small Towns Don't Have to Die."  Visit soon, won't ya?  Deborah Sue McDonald, Texas Plains Trail Executive Director

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pumpkins and whole lot more in Floydada

Country singer Don Williams was one of the more famous people who was born in Floydada, Texas, but the people who reside there today, get to enjoy a great town.  Floydada, the Pumpkin Capital of the US, is also home of the highly attended annual Punkin Days in October.  It also has a great Floyd County Historical Museum, and several  yummy restaurants.  We had a tremendous turnout at the 17th (1/3 of the way through our 52 Counties) Special Stamp Cancellation. Karl Rivers with TravelHost Magazine, Eric Turner with Main Street Plainview, Charles Starnes Professor at Wayland Baptist University, Dr. Holle Humphries from Lubbock,  Rick Vanderpool, Harry Bob Martin from Dickens County, Harry Record from Post, Dolores Mosser from Lubbock.  Postmaster Mike Lange and Lenda were gracious hosts for us, and thanks to Mayor Bob Gilliand, Museum Director Dorothy Turner, and Chamber members Regina, Justin, and Carolyn for making the Plains Trail Organization feel at home.   Rick and I spoke to about 100 6th, 7th, 8th Graders from Floydada Middle School about the Stamp Cancellation and the Plains Trail Program.  They had just completed their last TAKS test and were noticeably relieved.  Thanks to the teachers and principal for making this possible.   While in Floyd County, set your radio on KFLP 106.1...that's a plug for my Cousin Tony Rickett's wonderful channel.   Well, heading down the road to put out regional brochures at Palo Duro Canyon.  See you next week in Foard County.  Deborah Sue   

Driving Downhill All the Way to Donley County

I really don't mean to brag, but when it comes to my job....what can I say?  It's a dream job.  Oh, the places and people I get to meet!  On April 20, 2010, off I went to Clarendon in Donley County.  After making connections with Chamber Director and TPTR Board Member, Judy Burlin, we made our way to the absolutely gorgeous Donley County Courthouse to meet with Judge Jack Hall and to tour the building.  If you can find one more historic and beautiful...please let me know. We had a great conversation with several folks in the courthouse, and then I made my way to visit some of the cute shops in Clarendon as well as visiting with KEFH Oldies channel. http://www.kool993.net/  I love it...one of my fav's.  Judy had put together (in her spare time) a three day tourism conference for her locals at the Library. This was an wonderful opportunity for her to use her fellow experts on regional tourism/heritage/preservation and as she said "set a fire under Clarendon!" And cooked some really good food...mmmm Barbeque!  After Nancy Cordero, Kris Alexender, and I gave presentations,  I set out for the Bar H Dude Ranch west of Clarendon to relax and get work done.  OMG-this place is a real getaway...and one of the best steaks I've ever had!  http://www.barhduderanch.com/  It was a little bit of a rocky weather night...with no tv, internet, or phone service, I caught up on some reading and rest.  I guess that counts for  R & R!    We had an excellent turnout at the Post Office for our 16th Special Stamp Cancellation. Charles Starne, Holle Humphries, and Dolores Mosser all made the trip...as did Viola Moore and the new President of the PTMC organization. Thanks to the Postmaster who served up some delectable Turkey Sandwiches, chips, cookies, and dips.  Perfect timing as I was heading to the Airport to go to Houston for the THC Annual Conference.  Clarendon....you have SO much to offer visitors....the Sandell Theater, your great Museum, Clarendon College and so much more.  Have to run.  Deborah Sue McDonald, Executive Director TPTR

Saturday, April 17, 2010

For Dickens Sake...Visit Dickens County

On a scale of 1-10...I'd give the Day in Dickens County a 10 1/2.  Good drive, great people, yummy barbeque sandwiches, fun friends, superb hospitality, smart students from Spur, unique community, and a picnic at Dickens Springs Park....what more could you ask for?   Margot Hardin, Barbara Bogart, Holle Humphries, Tai Kriedler, Dolores Mosser, Harry and Mary Martin and many more made the day a one to remember in Dickens.  While there stop in at the Dickens Museum and the historic courthouse.  You can find out more about Dickens County here.  Come join us at the next stamp cancellation in Donley County.  See pics of all of our community visits here.
Photos by Holle Humphries

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Happening in Hereford!

What a fun day in Hereford today...April 7, 2010.  Funny thing, this same week many, many, many (No more many's) years ago, I was born in this Panhandle town. My Paternal Grandparents and other relatives lived in Hereford, so I spent lots of time there as a child gathering up fond memories of Bible School at the Baptist Church, taking swimming lessons at the now "cemented" swimming pool at the Park, and walking across the not-so busy 385 to buy some candy at the market.
      Today Hereford is a busy, bustling city, "the Beef Capital of the World."   My first stop was at the KPAN Radio 106.3 with Brad and Chip.  Great fun for me.  I appreciate them letting me yak for a while.    Deaf Smith County was the Plains Trail's 14th Special Stamp Cancellation Day, and boy howdy, it was a great time at the Post Office.  Thanks to Karen and her staff for serving yummy cookies and punch. (In a crystal punch bowl even!)  We had a nice crowd with Chamber Director Sid Shaw,  Deaf Smith County Museum Director Paula Edwards, County Historical Commission President Carolyn Waters, Hereford Brand photographers, Brad from KPAN, and several other fine Hereford residents....and TPTR Groupies Danyel Parkhurst, Charles & Susie Starnes & her sister, and Rick Vanderpool.  Thanks to Sid and Carolyn for inviting us to the Lion's Club for oh-my-gosh great Chicken Fried Steak from the Ranch House.  We enjoyed the program given by the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.   Rick and I headed on out to visit Paula and the magnificent Deaf Smith County Museum---it's a very special museum. The exhibits make you feel like you are walking back into the past.  Hereford should be very proud!  After leaving, we drove around town looking at many of Hereford's sights  including the Deaf Smith County Courthouse,  E.B. Black House,  POW Chapel , Railroad Depot,  the murals on the Grain Elevators, Hereford Aquatic Center, John Pitman Golf Course, VFW Memorial Park, Spicer Gripp Memorial Arena, plus just looking at all the unique businesses and residence areas.  I'm telling ya, things are happening in Hereford.  Thanks Hereford for making the Plains Trail Region welcome.  Click to find out more about Deaf Smith County and Hereford.  Deborah Sue McDonald

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lamesa...LOVING IT!

                                                     If you haven't visited the City of Lamesa  in a while, you would do yourself a favor to do so asap.   Talk about a city with "stuff" going on!   It's not one of those slow-poke towns with boarded up store fronts.  The downtown square is bustling with businesses--all of which beg you to enter.  Some of the sights to take in are the Dal Paso Museum,  the Chamber of Commerce & EDC Office that is in a beautiful historic building, Lamesa Golf Course, a  hospital going in, and their brand new Activities Center.  All of these will wow your socks off.  It's obvious that folks in Lamesa are aiming at a great future.   Now, if that's not enough to lure you to Lamesa, here's a story that the people in the town are sticking to: According to legend (and a great little tale) Lamesa is the birthplace of Chicken Fried Steak. (Yep, just try googling it.) Now, of course, there's another little Texas town that makes claim, but again, "This is Lamesa's story, and by gosh, they're dang well sticking to it."  In fact, there "may" be a Chicken Fried Festival in the near future, so begin preparing your tastebuds for this tasty treat.
While in Lamesa, Holle Humphries, Dolores Mosser, and I had a great time visiting with Mike and Stephen at the Chamber along with Fallon- who really runs the office and is the facebook queen. Try to to take a tour of the museum.  Oh, and the greatest little (or big) road art is the giant Uni-Royal Cheerleader.  And from our visit, we highly recommend eating at the Mexican Food Restaurant. (Name later.)    Read more about Lamesa here or visit their website here.   Oh, and did I say, you'll love it in Lamesa???  You will.  Happy Trails, Deborah Sue

Exiting for the XIT in Dalhart

Dalhart, Texas...Home of the XIT Ranch Rodeo, Empty Saddle Monument, XIT Museum, Lake Rita Blanca and grasslands, La Rita Theater, wonderful eateries like Hodies, precious stores,and  exceptional schools. Put this all together and you have the perfect formula for the perfect place to visit and live. I would dare to bet that not many people go to New Mexico to hit the slopes without stopping in at one of Dalhart's many quick convenience stores for food, gas, and bathroom breaks.  It would be worth their time to take a larger break to poke around to see the many historical sites in Dalhart.    To find out more about Dalhart/Dallam County visit these places: http://dalhart.org/  and http://www.texasplainstrail.com/index.aspx?page=1190&recordid=5878    Enjoy your time in Dalhart!  Deborah Sue McDonald


Cruising around in Crosbyton

There are some places that you just feel like you're at home.  Crosbyton, Texas is definitely one of those towns where the people are friendly, the food is good, and the treasures are many.  Yes,  Crosbyton has it all.  On every occasion I visit, I like it more.  County seat of Crosby County, it's evident that their heritage is important.  Wayne Parker and his ancestor, Quanah Parker, Ranald MacKenzie and the buffalo soldiers all played a significant role in making Crosby County what it is today. Thanks to many citizens like Gary Mitchell and Verna Ann Wheeler, the Crosby County Pioneer Museum ( http://www.crosbycountymuseum.com/) tells the story of Crosby County.  Joe Taylor of the Mount Blanco Fossil Museum has pieced together a spectacular collection of fossils, dinosaur digs, and much more. (http://mtblanco.com/)  In our recent visit to Crosbyton for our 11th County Special Stamp Cancellation, City Manager Margot Hardin, Amy from the Museum,  Chamber Director Jacque James,and Postmaster Jesse Salinas pulled out the stops to make the Texas Plains Trail Region feel welcome.  Crosby County has been faithful supporters of the TPTR, and for this, and being the kind of community they are, we applaud them. Other stamp "groupies" with us were Barbara Bogart, Charles Starnes, and Photographer Rick Vanderpool.   After a yummy lunch at newly opened Charlies,  Rick and I headed out to capture photos of Casa del Sol and the million-dollar Silver Falls roadside park---one that would be hard to match.  There's so much more to take in--like the beautiful Crosby County Courthouse, Prairie Ladies Multi-Cultural Center, the Smith House B & B, Veteran's War Memorial, Swimming Pool....well, there's too much to list.  This is small town living with a big town feel.  A place where pride is evident. To find out more, visit : http://cityofcrosbyton.org/  But better than that, take a drive to Crosbyton as soon as you can! Tell em' Deborah Sue sent ya. Wanna know even more about Crosby County?   Click here:

Photos by Rick Vanderpool

Pointing out Paducah

Paducah, Texas will always have a warm place in my heart.  This is the place where my mother, Donna Janice Easley graduated from high school in 1947. The once-thriving, bustling town square is where my dad, Loyd Glass, first caught sight of her. Cottle County is also where many of my ancestors--the Drummonds, the Glass's, the Jones, the Easleys, the Yarborough's, and others I don't even know, hail from.  I guess you could say that my roots run pretty deep there.  On this day, March  10, 2010, I traipsed along rows and rows at the cemetery looking for my kinfolks who are now buried there. I have heard many a tale from Cottle County. The Cottle County Leadership Forum is making great efforts in cleaning up and restoring Paducah back to its earlier years.  The town was busy in anticipation of the upcoming Annual Pioneer Days.
The group from the Texas Plains Trail had a great time at the Stamp Cancellation.  Dolores Mosser, TPTR Board Chair,  challenged the 7th graders who attended to write to someone in Paducah, Kentucky, its namesake and also to take a field trip to the site of the historic "Tee Pee City."  At one time Paducah  had several saloons, gambling houses and a two room hotel!  We ate lunch at Crackers with  Harry Bob Martin, Holle Humphries, Nancy Cordero and Matt, and Barbara Bogart.  Read more about Paducah here: http://www.paducahtx.com/  or here: http://www.texasplainstrail.com/index.aspx?page=1190&recordid=6671   Happy Trails, Deborah Sue McDonald

Photos by Rick Vanderpool



Tales from the Plains Trail Region

My photo
Borger, Texas Plains Trail Region, United States
Striving to inspire others to travel the rugged-beauty of the Texas Plains Trail Region where the grass is greener, the people are friendlier, and the sky is blue. Wow! A great place to live is a great place to visit. C'mon visit the "Texas You Will Remember."