South of Tucumcari, at the edge of the desolate Llano Estacado that stretches south and east across the Texas Panhandle, the city of Clovis is a large railroad and ranching town that has two unique claims to fame. It is the site where some of the oldest archaeological remains ever found in North America were unearthed: In the 1930s, archaeologists dug up bones and arrowheads that proved human habitation dating back as early as 11,000 BC. Some of these artifacts, belonging to what archaeologists have dubbed “Clovis Man,” are on display at the Blackwater Draw Museum (575/562-2202, Tues.-Sun., $3), on US-70 about 20 miles south of Clovis.
Clovis also played a part in early rock’n’roll: Buddy Holly came here from Lubbock, across the Texas border, in the late 1950s to record “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be The Day,” and other early classics. You can tour the restored Norman Petty Recording Studios (1313 W. 7th St., 575/356-6422), open only by appointment. Buddy’s contributions to western culture are also well documented in his hometown of Lubbock.