The Road To Nowhere

South of Childress, US-83 passes through a magnificent landscape of rich red and gold canyon lands covered with vast groves of trees. Paducah, 30 or so miles south of Childress at the junction of US-70, is a modest cotton town proudly arrayed around an art deco central courthouse modeled after an Egyptian temple. Brick-paved streets front abandoned stores and the huge old Cottle Hotel, which stands as a dormant reminder of better times, when harvest season or roundup would bring hundreds of transient field hands, cowboys, and card sharps into town. Nowadays Paducah offers little in the way of restaurants other than Double G (1112 Easley St., 806/492-3171). You can find a room at two motels west of US-83 along US-70; other options will require more than an hour’s drive, so if it’s quitting time, check out The Town House (1301 Easley, 806/492-3595), the better of the two.

West of Paducah along US-70 spreads the Matador Ranch, once one of the largest in Texas, with acres of hunter-friendly pasture and thirsty gullies amid semiarid canyons dotted with cedars and mesquite.