Checking in from Idalou, Texas …
Upon leaving Dickens, Texas on Sunday June 10, I have walked through the small towns of Crosbyton, Ralls, Lorenzo and Idalou over the last three days. These towns are located on the Llano Estacado, which is the mesa extending west from the cliffs of the Caprock Escarpment. Llano Estacado, which means Palisaded Plains, is one of the largest mesas or tablelands in North American and has an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. It slopes upward to the west at an almost uniform rate of 10 feet per mile, a rate which is almost imperceptible to a human observer (unless one is walking across the mesa). The first European to see this vast mesa was Francisco Coronado in 1541, who gave the area its name.
The mesa is a rich though dry farmland with mostly large cotton, bean or grain farms as opposed to the ranches of the lower plains. Sophisticated irrigation including subterranean drip networks makes the land productive. The basically flat area is interrupted not far from its eastern edge, just past Dickens, by and area called the Croton Breaks. This scenic area is marked by colorful canyons, arroyos, buttes and bluffs. One part of the Breaks is called Blanco Canyon where white cliffs stand out against the reds, pinks and oranges of the surrounding area. Within Blanco Canyon is a small white hill called Mount Blanco, an erosional remnant that has provided a treasure-trove of fossils from eons past. Looking at the mixture of rich red-purple dirt and sand in this area, it is easy to understand that this was once the bed of an ocean.
As I approach Lubbock, a city of 250,000 plus, the media has become interested in my walk. On Tuesday, I did three television interviews with Lubbock affiliates of NBC, Fox and ABC/CBS/CNN combined. While walking down Hwy. 82/114, John Berry with KCBD/Channel 11 out of Lubbock saw me and turned his vehicle around to film my walk and thought there must be a story there. After all how many people walk down a busy highway with a safety vest on that reads “Walking Across USA”? He stopped to talk and ask for an interview. Vista Bank had set up two more interviews with David Ewerz of (CNN/ABC/CBS) and Justin Calderon with Fox News. David’s interview was focused more on the health issues of heart disease for his coverage. I always appreciate the opportunity to promote heart health through exercise and to solicit donations for the American Heart Association.
Late on Tuesday, I crossed another milestone on my journey while trudging across the Llano Estacado—my 2,000th mile. That means that this wonderful trek is approximately two-thirds complete (though I have the sneaking suspicion that the total trip is a little longer than 3,000 miles). With summer upon us and both heat and altitude ahead, the last third may be the most difficult. But Brenda and I are up to the challenge and looking forward to seeing more of our great country.
Thanks to our hosts, Kirk McLaughlin and Troy Stegemoeller of Vista Bank, for providing a parking spot in Idalou and publicity as I approach Lubbock. We will be in the Lubbock area for the next few days before heading to Brownfield and Plains, Texas and then into New Mexico.