South of Childress, US-83 passes through a magnificent landscape of rich red and gold canyon lands covered with vast groves of trees. Paducah, 30 or so miles south of Childress at the junction of US-70, is a modest cotton town proudly arrayed around an art deco central courthouse modeled after an Egyptian temple. Brick-paved streets front abandoned stores and the huge old Cottle Hotel, which stands as a dormant reminder of better times, when harvest season or round-up would bring hundreds of transient field hands, cowboys, and card sharps into town. Nowadays Paducah offers little in the way of restaurants other than a doughnut shop and Double G (1112 Easley St., 806/492-3171). You can find a room at three motels west of US-83 along US-70; other options will require more than an hour’s drive, so if it’s quitting time, check out The Town House (1301 Easley, 806/492-3595), the best of the lot.
West of Paducah along US-70 spreads the Matador Ranch, once one of the largest in Texas, with acres of hunter-friendly pasture and thirsty gullies amid semiarid canyons dotted with cedars and mesquite.