Texas: The Beginning

When I told people I would be visiting Texas the answer usually came with raised eyebrows and some form of exclamation. “Well that’ll be an experience for you” I was told in a manner that suggested I may come to regret the decision. It was then with some trepidation that I stepped off the plane at Dallas - Fort Worth airport and, having met Dave, heading over to the rental car depot to collect our vehicle. No sooner had we turned on to the highway we came face to face with countless billboard advertisements for god and for guns; it seemed that the raised eyebrows and warnings about Texas were justified. We spent a harried night in a motel not far from the airport and awoke somewhat refreshed despite the best efforts of a rather impressive thunderstorm that seemed to sit directly above our room.

Eager to find ‘small town Texas‘ we set out North, toward the Oklahoma border, in search of two small towns, Blue Ridge and Whitewright. After several hours driving we turned off at a little place called Howe, and proceeded to get completely and thoroughly lost in the middle of the North Texas prairie-lands. A few hours later and following a close encounter with several of what looked like the embodiment of the stereotypical, pickup-driving, gun-toting Texas redneck we finally pulled in to Whitewright, Texas. The town looked deserted, it was a little after midday Saturday and there was barely a car on the mainstreet - our hearts sank. We’d come all this way looking for a thriving small town community and our best bet appeared to be as dead as any small village highstreet in the UK.

Pickup Truck in Wightwright Main Street

We were about to turn around when I noticed the visitor centre. It looked closed too, but maybe there was some information in the window that would at least offer us some entertainment for the rest of the day. Approaching the door a glimmer of hope appeared, sat behind a desk in the centre, it was here and now, as she unlocked the door that we were introduced to Cathy Pierce, an incredible woman who would change the course of our trip and make more possible than we could have ever imagined.

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