I must admit I’ve been to my share of desolate places and small towns. This didn’t, however, prepare me for my latest adventure to West Texas and a 20,000 acre ranch right outside of Dryden, Texas, population: 11.
And, there’s no public restroom in Dryden, so don’t even ask. Well, you can ask, but the answer is a resounding “no.”
Meeting other members of the Rock Art Foundation and our guide out of San Antonio, we set off to Meyers Springs Ranch, home of Fort Myers and a National Historic Landmark. Bouncing down a series of dusty roads, and scaring off a couple of jack rabbits, we arrived at Fort Myers, the remnants of the only fort occupied by the Seminole Negro Scouts. Their job was to defend the nearby Meyers Springs from the native peoples, thus helping drive the indigenous Native Americans off this land. We then drove to a scenic overlook, peering down on a rejuvenated solar-powered windmill, and spotted the pictograph panel with native drawings dating back some 4,000 years.
After lunch, we trekked to a canyon near Meyers Springs, where we were treated to a sweet sighting of a mother hummingbird tending her eggs. Bidding adieu to our tour guide and traveling companions, we bounced our way back to Dryden and then headed for Del Rio. Looking for a cup of coffee, we stopped in Langtry to discover the Judge Roy Bean Museum and adjacent cactus garden. This museum houses one of the best collections of Texas Department of Transportation brochures I have ever seen! I collected at least 40 brochures, watched the panoramic stories of the “Only Law West of the Pecos,” learned of the Judge’s unrequited infatuation with Lily Langtry, for whom he named the town, and enjoyed the cactus garden right up until the moment a torrential thunderstorm sent my companion and I racing indoors and then to our car.
We never did find that cup of coffee, as the town closes up at 5:00 and we showed up at 5:15. Nevertheless, we were full of stories of West Texas at the turn of the nineteenth century into the twentieth and happily headed back to civilization. Tags: Dryden, Fort Myers, Judge Roy Bean, Lily Langtry, Meyers Springs Ranch, National Historic Landmark, Rock Art Foundation, Seminole Negro Scouts, Texas Department of Transportation