Travelblog: Lubbock, Texas
People have me wrong about my attitudes toward Lubbock, Texas. I always speak favorably of Lubbock. I always enjoy going out there for a ballgame. But it’s not like I advocate vacationing there. It’s not like I’m claiming there are a million things to see or do.
I just enjoy going out there for a game, because it’s so different. It’s the South Plains, which are not the desert but aren’t far off. It’s got an old-West feel, not in terms of building decor, necessarily, just in terms of terrain and open spaces.
Case in point. Late Saturday evening, must have been about 7 p.m., the sun’s going down, and we look up out of the pressbox, and a horizontal strip of sunlight stretched across the big Overton Hotel, which sits 2-3 blocks east of Jones Stadium. The sunlight went beyond to, towards downtown Lubbock. Just a strange strip. Medium blue, the color of dusk, sat above and below the strip. A unique scene. Not sure that I’ve ever seen anything like it.
Anyway, like always, I enjoyed my trip to Lubbock. Just an usual place to be. Lubbock, Texas, and Morgantown, W.Va., are in the same conference. It’s a great big wonderful world.
So here’s my latest travelblog from the college football road.
We went through Wichita Falls this time, after several years in a row of going through Amarillo. Maybe the most picturesque part of the trip is about an hour east of Lubbock, just east of Crosbyton. You go through a stretch of canyons. Makes you think of a Western film.
I got to look at the canyons a little bit more than usual. I got pulled over. A Texas patrolman stopped me for going 79 mph in a 70 zone. Wrote me a ticket. Total bummer. I would complain if I had a defense, but I don’t. I was speeding, for no good reason, really. We didn’t have a deadline Friday to get to Lubbock.
The peace officer was totally no-nonsense. He asked me two things: 1. Any reason you’re driving so fast? 2. And, can I see your license? He was gone about two minutes, came back, handed me the ticket and told me what number to call in Crosbyton to take care of things.
I haven’t gotten a ticket in awhile. Not on the interstate in 15 years, not since visiting Grambling State to do an Eddie Robinson story in 1997. Somewhere between Shreveport, La., and Ruston, La., a Louisiana cop nailed me. I’ve had a couple in Norman in recent years on city streets.
Anyway, my pal from the San Antonio Express-News, Tim Griffin, told me the next day that in Texas, you can get the ticket wiped out if you agree to take a defensive driving class. That didn’t sound like fun, but neither did a high-priced ticket. So I called the Crosby County Courthouse this week, and they said no, you’ve got to be a Texas resident to get that bailout.
The ticket was $139 — I was expecting more — but if I paid $239, I could get some kind of judgment where the ticket wouldn’t go on my record. Sounded like a scam to me. So I called my insurance agent, Ed Preble, and his office told me that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the ticket shows up anyway. So I’m going to pay the $139 and live with it.
And drive slower next time through the rugged canyons of West Texas.
As you know, I love going to Cagle Steaks in Lubbock. It’s an old-West steakhouse, great setting, great food, cool experience. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t bore you with a repeat. But a strange thing happened. I ordered my steak medium rare. And it seemed like it was medium well. It was labeled medium rare, so I kept eating, think it would be less cooked in the middle, but it never really got there.
It still was good, so I didn’t sweat it.
But it just so happens that on Sunday night back home, some friends of ours took us to another one of my favorite places in the world, Cattlemen’s Cafe in Oklahoma City’s Stockyards. I love Cattlemen’s. And I ordered another medium rare steak. As always at Cattlemen’s, the waitress asks you to cut into your steak, make sure it’s properly cooked. I did, and it looked medium rare. So I was set. But the more I ate, the more I realized it was not so medium rare. More medium to medium well.
Just like Cagle’s, still great. Still enjoyed it. But it left me with a question. Is the whole danged world cooking steaks different these days? Was there a memo? Was there a declaration from the health department? Do I need to start ordering my steaks rare if I want them like I used to get them medium rare?
LUBBOCK OR BUST
The Wichita Falls route has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: it’s quicker. I’d guess 30 minutes quicker from Norman, maybe 5-10 minutes quicker from OKC. Also, you get to go through small towns — Seymour, Ralls, Crosbyton, Idalou — which I find charming though I understand if you don’t. Also, you get to see a decent chunk of southwestern Oklahoma, which I’m always up for.
Disadvantages: Four toll booths to Wichita Falls, totaling $5.30 one way. And it’s not like the old days, when you had a portable PikePass. So if you’ve got a company car or a rental car, like we always do, you have to stop. Your options for stops are much smaller past Wichita Falls. Between Wichita Falls and Seymour, there are only two towns with a Sonic. That’s a long three hours.
The scenery is a wash. The canyons east and south of Amarillo are cool, but you get the same thing around Crosbyton. Driving at night, you’re better off going through Amarillo, where it’s interstate all the way.
So clearly, the best way is to mix it up.
My may Carey Murdock of SoonerScoop.com went a way I’ve never been. He drove to Lawton, then went west on U.S. 62, through Altus and Hollis. I’ve been to Hollis for a Darrell Royal story, but I’d like really like to go back. Especially on an OU football trip. Seems fitting to drive through the hometown of the likes of Royal and Leon Heath to go see the Sooners play.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 81703Oklahoma tornadoes: 'It took it all'
- 31891Oklahoma State football: Limiting Wes Lunt's transfer options makes Mike Gundy look bad
- 29684Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 24698Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 8257Bounty hunters look for bail jumpers, fugitives on the streets of Oklahoma City
- 7616Oklahoma City Thunder: What could Serge Ibaka learn from Hakeem Olajuwon?
- 7442Severe storms possible in Oklahoma again Monday
- 7342Oklahoma football: Jay Norvell working on luring a tall group of wide receivers to Norman
- 7328Oklahoma tornadoes: Several homes damaged by tornado, but no injuries in Edmond
- 7268Oklahoma storms: 2 Shawnee men victims of deadly tornado
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients