Stranded in the Middle of Texas

Today we have randomly chosen Fort Stockton, Texas as the place we will stop for the night. It is a shorter drive, just over four and a half hours. The land becomes quite desolate. This is definitely Texas desert: sand and rocks and dry brush with small touches of green. Not much to tell about the journey.  It really feels like the road trip is coming to an end as the whole highlight of the drive, at least for Rudy, is a stop at a Dairy Queen for a stretch and a strawberry chocolate Blizzard. I feel like an old woman. My hip is still bugging me and is exacerbated by sitting long hours in the van. But finally we make it to this desolate town of Fort Stockton. We have booked into the Deluxe Hotel and is is fabulous. It’s a family run business and boy do they take pride in this place. Everything is spotless and the woman at the desk is so nice. Her young children play in the courtyard on their trampoline and with their bikes. But the town itself is a wind blown nothing place.

I have researched that there is a historic fort here. We walk out onto the blazing hot asphalt and head down a couple of blocks to the Fort. We are the only visitors although Rudy says that there is one other name in the guest book from today. We learn that in 1866, Congress established six all-black regiments (consolidated to four shortly after) to help rebuild the country after the Civil War and to fight on the Western frontier during the Plains Indian Wars. It was from one of these regiments, the 10th Cavalry, that the nickname Buffalo Soldier was born. According to sources Native Americans (I am not sure which tribes) called these Black soldiers Buffalo Soldiers because their hair reminded them of Buffalo fur found on the shoulders of American Bison. Hmmm, this term rings a bell. Rudy googles the song by Bob Marley and here are some of the lyrics:

Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock RastaThere was a Buffalo SoldierIn the heart of AmericaStolen from Africa, brought to AmericaFighting on arrival, fighting for survival
So basically the US government at the time used these newly freed slaves as cannon fodder in the Indian Wars, a no win situation for both the American Indians and the Black people of America. And here at Fort Stockton this bit of history is polished up and presented as something seen through the lens of Colonial America.

For supper we head to one of the two restaurants that are open in Fort Stockton. It is a Mexican place and not exactly a place where you get great service. We had to get our own menus, practically go and get our own drinks and definitely had to ask for cutlery so we could eat our meal. The meal, however, was delicious so that was good and the clientele is just what you would expect. In fact almost looked like a characters in a movie about the Wild West (as seen in this sneak picture that I took) but certainly a fitting bookend to our day.