We sailed into Dalhart, Texas in the late afternoon. Dahlart and Boise City are at the heart of “The Worst Hard Time” book, and this is why we were here.
Warmer than we’d experienced this spring, we wandered around the tree-lined sidewalks with Fritzi. Just past 5 p.m., everything in downtown had closed and parking spots and silence were plentiful.
After our flat tire fiasco, documented in this post, we were hungry. We were living off of pistachios, cheetos and beef jerky like 21-year-olds, and we are not. With no restaurants in historic downtown Dalhart, we headed to X10 in Texas.
This restaurant, on the edge of town, is Texas through and through. Decked out in Texas ornaments like horns and Dallas Cowboy jerseys, I thought it was a chain, but it is not. A guy sitting at the bar had a tattoo of the outline of Texas on his left calf. You can’t make this stuff up.
As we ordered drinks at X10 in Texas we were asked if we were members. Now this is a confusing question for those of us who 1) have been traveling all day 2) got a flat tire 3) haven’t eaten real food since breakfast toast, and 4) live in Northern Colorado.
After some discussion with the waiter, we discovered that X10 in Texas is located in a dry county. I am originally from the West Coast and thought dry counties were something that died out when prohibition was overturned. Obviously, I have not traveled widely in the southern part of the United States.
According to Wikipedia, Texas has 5 entirely dry counties and 198 partially dry counties. However, the Dalhart counties of Dallam and Hartley aren’t listed so my bewilderment continues. The point is, Ryan had to buy a $3 license to drink alcohol, and I could drink under his license.
The restaurant was buzzing. We could hear a band warming up on the patio and a lady at the bar leaned over to tell us about them. They are young, talented and named Monarch. The X10 in Texas gets busy when they play.
Coloradans have a lot of stereotypes about Texans, and those stereotypes aren’t all nice, but the fact is, Texans are nice to visitors to their state. Really nice. We could learn a thing or two about being friendly from Texans, although not about being dry. That’s just crazy.
By the way, the food at X10 in Texas is delicious. I had brisket tacos and Ryan had a plate of barbecued meat. It might have been because I hadn’t eaten a real meal in 12 hours, or these might be the best brisket tacos I’ve eaten (and I have had brisket tacos because… tacos). Either way, they were so good. By the way, XI10 in Texas also has jalapeno creamed corn that is almost worth driving back to Dalhart to order again.
We drove the short distance (40 minutes) to Dumas, Texas, where we decided to stay for the night. As we drove through town, I spied a Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store. The blog writers from Small Town Plus Size and several friends had told me that Braums is a tradition in this part of the world, and I needed to go. Don’t mess with tradition, that’s my motto.
“I have to stop there,” I said frantically waving at the building. Ryan made such a quick left turn that our new tires may have squealed.
After checking into our hotel (yes, this was a long day) we loaded up the dog once more, and headed up to the one and only brewery in town, Toppled Turtle Brewing Company. It was only about 5 minutes from our Days Inn ($125 including pet fee).
As we drove towards the brewery this was what we saw:
A real dust storm was rolling towards us. You can imagine our surprise. We’d come to Texas inspired by reading about the Dust Bowl and now a wall of dust was rolling towards us. It was surreal.
We got to the Toppled Turtle just as grit began hitting the windows. I hadn’t realized that the area still gets dust storms, but it does, and in fact, there are also tornadoes here.
We both received “dust storm” alerts on our phones, after the storm had already hit Dumas. My favorite part of the message is “Stay Alive!”
We did not need a license to drink at the Toppled Turtle, although Ryan showed it to bystanders anyway. Those beers were delightful, and it didn’t take long before we were chatting with other patrons, petting their dogs and generally having a great time. I think breweries are the American equivalent of a British pub.
Turns out, this one used to be Dodgeton Creek Brewing Company in Trinidad, Colorado, and we had been there. They eventually closed it and opened this one. Small world.
Back at the Days Inn, the hotel wasn’t fancy, but the bed had great pillows and we slept like logs. It had been a long, long day.