9.18.2009,8:53 PM
Have Cup Will Travel: Part Four

We charted a course north, into the unknown. Well, partly. A place I wanted to share with the others was one where I had been before. Another ghost town: Hood. I don't know why I like ghost towns. Maybe because they seem to have more character than most other towns. Maybe because they are full of 'ghosts' and to really learn about the town requires immersing oneself. Which requires a basic degree of receptivity and interest.

I had passed through Hood last year on the Sherpa while trying to follow the Butterfield Trail through the northern half (quarter?) of Texas. 'Try' is putting it mildly. Hardly any traces of the Trail remain, but if one is diligent enough, small pieces can be found. Trying to string the pieces together is the real challenge.

A box of jumbled 'facts' allowed me to trace a hypothesized line of the trail. Let's make that plural: trails. It did change a few times, and in several places. From Gainsville to a station near Jackboro, the trail is uncertain. I did know of a station that was kept by two men -Ball and Connelly- and called the Connelly Station. It was purportedly somewhere between two creeks and in the northwest corner of the LBJ Grasslands. Another station was near the now small town of Sunset.

Regardless, two gravel county roads probably follow (for a distance) the old Butterfield Trail. One of those county roads gradually ascends a high plateau which is now covered with grasslands, mostly pasture and hay fields. Cotton was probably grown there, or attempted, at some time earlier. It seems that most of Texas was cottonized for a duration of its history. It was probably grown there, too.

Approaching the crest of the high plain, one is struck as if by lightening by the openness. Only a gently curved horizon and the big sky dominates the landscape. Some people don't feel comfortable in such open places, many think it is too flat -no punctuations of tall tress, giant structures, pointy church needles, the usual tall things that break up the horizon. But I like it. There, you feel like one of the ants that happen to be there. Maybe I don't mind being dominated by wide open country. I really don't know. But I sure do like it there.

The population is barely over 25, if that at all. One common building remains as the community meeting center. And, like any present and former place occupied by humans, it has a cemetery.

We tried to avoid riding on tarmac as much as we could on this venture. We pretty much did, except for a few miles here and there. Which was good for me, because the DR is geared low; it doesn't like going at highway speed and I don't either. Besides, sometimes you just don't want to see any tarmac and all its modern accouterments. So we entered the little ghost town of Hood by way of winding gravel.

I knew where the cemetery was, so we headed there and parked the bikes in a row like horses lined up at the hitching post. One curiosity that I wanted to show the others was the large headstone of Mr. Davidson, who was proudly buried with the insignia of the KKK.

We noticed that one or two other Davidson's were buried in the cemetery, but far away from Mr. KKK. I wondered if B.C. Davidson's public affiliation with the non-politically correct organization embarrassed other family members and wished to maintain their distance. Even in death.

A common tribute to another organization is predominate in Texas: Woodsman of the World. Thus far, I've noted three patterns, or molds, of headstones. Considering the time period of many of the deceased, it appears that the headstones may have either originated from the same carving outfit, or members are limited to only a few styles of headstones, if they wish to die with their public affiliation to the WoW. The commonalities are: they are tall, they are carved to resemble a tree or log.

Someday I will find the history of this organization. I'm curious what they are, or were, and what their common philosophy is (or was).

It was time to gear up and wander further north, this time near the Red River to explore two areas that captured my attention some time ago.

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posted by Macrobe
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