Checking in from Seymour, TX …
All of the above in and around Olney, TX, an oilfield town of 1,400 households. Who’d thunk it?
I encountered the windmills, hundreds of them, on my walk from Jacksboro to Olney on Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd and 3rd. These are huge three-bladed wind turbines with 40-foot blades. They are located on a 33,000-acre strip of land and are owned and operated by BP (British Petroleum) Wind Energy. All around the windmills are working oil fields, grazing cattle and horses, pastures and grain crops. It’s quite a sight that would make T. Boone Pickens proud. The windmills produce enough electricity to power 67,000 homes. Lights will be on in Olney for years to come.
We’ll miss the One-Arm Dove Hunt, which is billed as “Texas Most Unusual Event.” Started as a joke in 1972 by two guys who had lost an arm in oil field accidents, the event quickly grew in popularity. Held annually the first weekend following Labor Day, the event is open to persons who are missing all or part of one arm. Activities include one-armed trap shooting, horseshoes, cow-chip throwing and a “ten cents a finger” breakfast on the day of the dove hunt. In addition to good old-fashioned fun, the event provides amputees with support and tips for living with a disability and is a revenue-generating event for Olney.
Foot-high grasses and wild oats border the roads along my path for the last few days. This is the habitat for millions, perhaps billions, of grasshoppers. It’s hard to walk on the shoulder of the road without crunching on the insects, which are everywhere, hopping and flying around and getting underfoot. I’m constantly wiping them off my legs. My lifelong friend Bobby Lee would claim that the grasshoppers had made an honest mistake—they’d simply confused my hairy legs for another patch of grass.
Just outside Olney is the site of the Little Salt Creek Indian Fight where in 1869, 57 Comanches attacked a group of cowboys at their worksite in an apparently unprovoked attack. The battle lasted until evening when the Indians retreated, taking their dead and wounded. The tally of cowboy casualties was three dead and nine wounded. Even today, the terrain looks exactly as we have come to expect from Western movies for a shootout with renegade Comanches. As I walk down the road and look pass the low grass to the yuccas, scrub oaks and pinyon pines I’m reminded of a line from Larry Verne’s 1960 comic tune “Please Mr. Custer (I Don’t Want to Go)”—“them bushes are moving.”
Thanks go to several people who have helped us over the last few days—Vickie and Larry Rogers of Hidden Lake RV Park in Jacksboro for their contribution to AHA, Jerry and Larry Gandy of Spring Creek RV Park in Olney who comped us a night and Glen and Myra Moss who likewise provided a night at their RV park in Seymour. Not only have we encountered generosity from those we meet on the road but thanks to those who have given donations to the American Heart Association through our website. Your contributions, whether large or small, comes from your heart and we really appreciate your kindness.
Over the next couple of days, I’ll complete the portion of my walk into Seymour and then head west on Hwy 82/114 toward Lubbock. As one local stated, the road gets “long” from here. With only tiny crossroad towns for the next 150 miles or so, we’ll be scrambling for places to park our RV; seeking parks with fresh water and dump stations; and propane. Just today we were extremely low on propane but Jessie came to the rescue and met us after he finished a long day of work to fill our tank. From this point into California, logistics get tough. For the next few days, we’ll be somewhere between Seymour and Lubbock. Also if our blogs get a little irregular, it will be because of lack of adequate Internet connection. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.