Friday, November 23, 2012

A Road Few Travel, But Most Should!

Hwy 54 looking west, about 30 miles north of Van Horn
From the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum,
the R.P. Bean Ranch, c. 1910
On what is now Hwy 54 about 18 miles north of Van Horn
Part of the original historic driving loop established in the 1960s
to promote Texas during HemisFair '68,
Texas Mountain Trail,  Hwy 54

Hwy 54, connecting Van Horn to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of the most scenic drives (auto, bicycle, motorcycle) in the state.  Nearly untouched by man, the road still has the same "feel" it did in 1940, when this description was included in the WPA Guide to Texas, though it was called Hwy 90 at the time:

"US 90, rounding the northeast shoulder of the Baylor Range, heads north up the broad arid valley that lies between the frowning rampart of the Sierra Diablo (6,513 alt.) on the west and the Delaware Mountains (5,670 alt.) on the east, traversing one of the most desolate yet weirdly beautiful stretches of country to be found in Texas. The view sweeps almost level reaches, gray-green with sage and greasewood, dotted here and there with prickly pear, yucca and ocotillo. Beyond the middle distance a streak of blazing white gleams (R) like a hazy silver ribbon. It is the crystal-encrusted shoreline of a salt lake. On the horizon the ragged crest of the Delawares loom stark against the sky. Closer at hand, the sheer wall of the Sierra Diablo rises (L). Somewhere in the tangle of ridges and deep narrow canyon of this range are mines, lost and active. Gleaming white salt lakes appear. Far ahead lifts the blunt nose of the Guadalupe Range where it shoves its triangle of lofty peaks across the State Line from New Mexico. Higher and bolder loom the broad cliffs."

Read more about this stretch of road on our "El Capitan to El Capitan Heritage Bike Route" page, here.

1 comment:

lphilpot said...

I love that drive! We did it once when going to Carlsbad from Fort Davis. Much better than the return route through Pecos. :-)