Road Warriors?

Photo: Skyline looking south from Fort Stockton, Texas
  1. Llano (3,347)
  2. Mason (2,119)
  3. Brady (5,032)
  4. Eden (1,543)
  5. San Angelo (99,667)
  6. Carlsbad (538)
  7. Sterling City (1,121)
  8. Garden City (292)
  9. Midland (131,325)
  10. Odessa (112,483)
  11. Monahans (7,498)
  12. Fort Stockton (8,423)
  13. Marathon (365)
  14. Bakersfield (30 est.)
  15. Ozona (2,731)
  16. Sonora (2,462)
  17. Junction (2,494)
  18. Harper (1,391)
  19. Fredricksburg (11,072)
  20. Hye (205)
  21. Johnson City (1,717)
  22. Round Mountain (104)
  23. Horseshoe Bay (4,490)

We took a little road trip last weekend. We headed west from Horseshoe Bay around 11:00 a.m. on Friday — into the teeth of the most brutal headwinds I’ve experienced in a long time — and were back home on Sunday around 2:00 p.m. If my math serves me correctly, that’s about 51 hours of highway driving, and we covered just over 800 miles of mostly West Texas roads. (This doesn’t count another 30 miles or so of in-town driving in Midland and Fort Stockton.)

That’s all quite uninteresting, you’re thinking, but what’s that list of what look like town names? I’m glad you asked. That’s the list of towns that we drove through over that 800 miles, and it’s an indication of the sparseness of the population of West Texas (and the western part of the Hill Country).

The numbers in parentheses are the latest population numbers, according to Mr. Google. They total ~400,500, which I guess is sort of impressive, until you take out the three biggest cities (Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo), and the total drops to just under 57,000. That’s a lot of land and not many souls.

There were two primary motivations for this quick trip. The first was to attend a 50th wedding anniversary dinner and dance honoring friends in Midland. That event was almost like attending a family reunion, as we got to visit with at least twenty couples that we hadn’t seen in years. And the next day, we made time (briefly) to drop in on more friends and family before heading to Fort Stockton.

That drive, by the way, requires one to spend an eternity on I-20. OK, it’s only a fifty mile stretch, but the traffic makes it seem like longer. The saving grace was knowing that we’d avoid that interstate when we headed home.

Visiting my brother and his wife in Fort Stockton — his current and my former hometown — was the second reason for the journey. We drove to Marathon Saturday evening for dinner, and met them again Sunday morning for breakfast at a Mexican restaurant (Pepito’s, if you must know).

We were back on the road, which was I-10 — which, by the way, should be renamed the Texas Autobahn, as the 80 mph speed limit is but a laughable suggestion — by 9:30, and arrived home in time to unpack and relax before attending the concert I wrote about yesterday.

I didn’t take many photos on the trip — too busy driving — but below is the view from the middle of US-90 in downtown Marathon at sunset, following an excellent dinner with my brother and his wife at the 12 Gage Restaurant. (The photo at the top of the page is the skyline looking west from the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Stockton.)

Incidentally, in a “small world coincidence,” the band that played at the anniversary party in Midland on Friday night was playing at a wedding in Marathon on Saturday night. We thought about crashing the party (the bass player promised us on Friday that he could sneak us in), but frankly we’re old and tired. Maybe next time, when we’re still old, but possibly rested.

Photo: Downtown Marathon, Texas, at sunset
*yawn* Just another typical West Texas sunset


  1. Headed on a similar path soon, as our 50th anniversary is coming up in May. We went from Houston to San Antonio to Chandler Ranch to Marathon to Ft Davis and back on our honeymoon trip. So we are going to retrace that trip, 50 years later. Fun times!

    1. Robert, that sounds like a great trip (except for the Houston part); congrats on your 50th! Ours is coming up in July. We went from FS to Del Rio to San Antonio and back for our honeymoon, but we don’t plan on retracing that journey. 🤣

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