What do Post Toasties, Grape Nuts and a Suspicious looking individual all have in common?
Read on and you will find out.
By the time I had actually reached Texarkana I had changed my cross Texas route 3 times. I had initially planned to jet from Texarkana to Lamesa, TX via interstates 30 and 20. However the thought of having to go through the Dallas - Ft. Worth area early on a workday made me queasy.
So, I decided to ditch that idea and drive US Rt 82 and FM ( Farm Road ) 51 to the west side of Dallas and then hop on the interstate. However when I realized the speed limits on secondary routes are 65-75 mph and the roads are wide and generally flat - I changed my mind yet again and completely eliminated the interstate from my route plan.
What I came up with was this - US Rt 82 through Paris and Sherman, pick up FM Rt 51 in Gainesville, then down to Weatherford where I picked up US Rt 180 and took it all the way the to Post via Throckmorton, Swenson and Jayton. This turned out to be an excellent route suiting my preferences for scenery, small towns, ease of driving and being able to avoid congestion and stop and go traffic. In fact, there were loooong stretches where I barely saw a car or person. It was reminiscent of trips across US 50 in Nevada, the so called "loneliest highway in America"
The terrain and scenery on this nearly 500 mile drive across rural Texas was an interesting mix of pine woods, Oak savannahs , Ag land, grass lands, oil and gas fields and small to mid-sized farming and industrial communities.
I saw goat farms, cotton fields, oil wells, vast beef feed lots that stretched of into the horizon, dead and live coyotes, a road kill armadillo, fabulous Texas live oaks with huge masses of Mistletoe in some of them. Near Oak Ridge I went through a dense oak woods which flanked the road for miles. These were probably a mix of Post and Blackjack Oak. Near Gainesville the rolling hills gave way to the wide flat expanses of the Gainesville Valley. Here I saw both industrial (Brammer Pipe and Steel) as well as farm and ag ( Road sign stating "Cutting Horses for sale" ).
In Gainesville I stopped at a "Sack 'N' Save" grocery store for some fruit and munchies. I had great fun gawking at all the regional and Hispanic foods. Huge bins of beautiful peppers of all shapes sizes and descriptions, Jugo banana/strawberry fruit drink from Mexico, cactus pads, bunches of cilantro and all manner of other goodies.
Ok - enough shopping, on with the trip. I cut southwest on FM 51 - towards Decatur in Wise county to pick up US Rt 380. Rt 51 went through some hilly and sparsely settled areas with a few wide valleys and lots of oaks before I reached Decatur . It was on a road cut just west of Decatur I noticed the first cactus I had seen on the trip. In Jack county I crossed over Lake Bridgeport on the West Fork of the Trinity River just west of the town of Bridgeport. Large signs proclaiming the benefits of new home at Runaway Bay.
Further west toward near Vineyard the terrain turned hilly again and was very scenic. By this time I was just about halfway to my destination of Post, TX. When I reached Jacksboro the temp was in the 60s, and it was breezy and sunny. Nice! Around Bryson ( pop 579 ) it flattened out and the walking beams of the oil rigs could be seen dotting the landscape. Cactus became more abundant and there were still many of oaks flanking the roadway. A sudden movement caught my eye and I saw a tumble weed dancing around in a low spot along a fence line.
In the area of Elbert the land became rougher and vary sparsely settled. I saw vast areas of Mesquite.More irrigated pasture became evident as I go closer to Throckmorton, ( pop 905 ) County seat of Throckmorton county. One of Throckmorton claims to fame is being the home the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame-er Bob Lilly. Just beyond Throckmorton I stopped at roadside rest and parked in the shade of a group of huge Texas Live Oak.
Near Rule, TX I saw two pigs along the side of the road foraging. Not an every day occurrence in my neck of the woods. There was virtually no traffic on this section of US Rt 380. Passing though Aspermont was like going through a ghost town.
It's now 1:46 PM and I have travelled 345 miles. 70 degrees and sunny feels mighty fine ! I am getting close to post now and I cross over the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River. Only about 10 miles to go now before I roll into Post.
If you are still curious about what Post Toasties, Grape Nuts and a Suspicious looking individual all have in common then you about to find out.