The Road To Nowhere

South of Shamrock, US-83 passes over the Salt Fork of the Red River, which definitely deserves its name, running a muddy red throughout the rainy season. West of the highway rise the Rocking Chair Mountains, named after a large cattle ranch established west of here in the 1880s by a group of aristocrats, mainly younger sons of noble Scottish families. The only visible sign of their Scotian legacy survives in place-names like Aberdeen, Clarendon, and Wellington (pop. 2,189), which is 25 miles south of Shamrock. The center of Wellington is west of the highway, where a nifty 1920s Ritz Theatre (902 E. Ave., 806/447-0090, $7) has been brought back to life, but the US-83 frontage holds all the gas stations and cafés.