Last week I got to go on a super-fun 300-mile drive across southern Wyoming. Well, the week before I got to go on a super-fun 400-mile drive across West Texas. From San Antonio to Muleshoe. From actual society to a feedlot with a gas station. From a place I really like, to a place I really don’t. Muleshoe has less than 1,000 inhabitants, and is located in one of the few remaining counties in this great nation of ours that still prohibits the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Not my favorite place. By far the best thing about Muleshoe, Texas is heading to either Amarillo or Lubbock for the flight home.
But, the drive to this shithole was actually pretty interesting, and surprisingly, included some scenery worth seeing. For the first few hours I headed due west on I-10. This area is known as Hill Country, and it’s aptly named. Expansive rolling hills covered in sagebrush, prickly pear cactus, and some of the bigger oak trees I’ve ever seen. It’s another good place to take in a sunset and cuss at some semis.
After that I drove 280-ish miles northwest on 2-lane highways and byways, through the thriving metropolises of Robert Lee, Marquez, Sweetwater and Menard, among others. For the most part, it was a boring, uneventful and pensive drive. Grabbed my dinner of a corn dog and bag of beef jerky at some random convenience store on the way, and eventually arrived at my destination.
Unbelievably enough, Menard, TX was home to by far the highlight of the drive: the Pioneer Rest Cemetary. This little place was right on Highway 83, and was quite remarkable in its understatement. There is nary a sign pointing this place out, and yet as far as I could tell, it was the only point of interest within a hundred miles. I didn’t have a choice when I passed it, I parked the rental car and spent about an hour seeing what there was to see. It was chock full of the remains of confederate soldiers and plain, unintricate gravestones that looked exactly the fakes they put in haunted houses. And, in a poignant testament to modern medicine, an astonishing number of graves for infants and toddlers. The oldest gravestone I found was from 1869; the most modern from just last year. I suppose it says something about the area that most exciting thing I found was a bunch of dead people from the 19th century. But I find this shit interesting, and I’m glad I saw it, and now, you can too, without even having to make the drive…
– B. Littleton