September, 7 2013
As usual on my rides I wake up the rooster and lay in bed waiting for the sun to make its appearance. On the road with a light motel breakfast by 7:15am motoring almost due north. Couple of hours later I'm approaching Crosbyton, TX just east of Lubbock. When you say Lubbock to me I think of cotton fields...immediately after flashing on Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, and Lloyd Maines...and flat land. But it's not. Like the grand canyon it gets "hilly" downward.
About twenty miles from Crosbyton I see my first "down." It's called "Putoff Canyon" after an early settler. It was known for its abundant fresh water "strong enough to swim a horse."
Further on you start to see where the water runoff that created Putoff Canyon has joined with a larger stream to form yet a larger canyon. This is Blanco Canyon.
It's the Plains Indians we're interested in...specifically at this stop, the Comanches. It was here in 1871 that Col. Ranald Mackenzie led his San Angelo-based troops. The battle fought here barely deserves the name "battle." Mackenzie lost one trooper and reports indicate a couple of Comanches were killed. But the significance of the encounter is it was the first real move against the Comanches after the Civil War. Setting up a supply camp at the mouth of the canyon Mackenzie essentially served notice that the war was on. Three years later he caught the Comanche, Kiowa, and some Cheyenne north of here in Palo Duro Canyon. He captured their entire herd of horses (some 1100) and destroyed their tents and supplies...in September, just before winter set it. It forced them into reservations to survive.
An interesting note, at least to me, is Mackenzie seems to be able to get a lot accomplished with few casualties. He lost one man at Blanco Canyon and one at Palo Duro.
But, time's a-wasting so I head north with the intention of revisiting Palo Duro Canyon. I made a trip there back in 2009 because it always intrigued me. But it got so hot by the time I was fairly near I decided to move on north looking for relief. Didn't get it, though. But I ate miles of road until reaching Lamar, Colorado about 5:30pm (our time...they're "behind" us you know).
Took one of those "road showers" I harp about so much. Seriously, one day I will write the definitive "Ode to the Road Shower." It will be in iambic pentameter and explain, as only poetry can, how absolutely wonderful a long, drenching shower can feel after 8-10 on the road on the back of a motorcycle.