Road to Nowhere

Cutting across America’s heartland, US‑83 remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Childress

A vintage Texas town built around an old Spanish zócalo (town square), Childress (pop. 6,674) is an important shipping and supply point for surrounding grain and cattle ranches and serves as the market town for area cotton farmers. Located at the junction of US-83 and US-287, Childress was named after George Childress, the principal author of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

The once-picturesque downtown still houses the small but engaging Childress County Heritage Museum (210 3rd St. NW—follow the signs, closed Sun.-Mon., free). The downtown is one short step from dry, depressed implosion—the result of every business relocating to the congested, annoying, fringe highways—but the elaborate 100-year-old facades provide ample opportunities for nostalgic photography and aimless wandering. Depending on your time of arrival, the brick-cobbled streets and empty shells of formerly grand buildings smack more of a ghost town, but there are a few good antiques shops taking advantage of the historic charm.

Virtually every motel in town lines US-287 (Avenue F) east and west of the junction with US-83, but thanks to their highway-side location (“Midway between Amarillo and Wichita Falls”), they all suffer from a lack of quiet
and privacy.

Childress
Childress County Heritage Museum (210 3rd St. NW)