This morning, before we left Wichita Falls, I managed to remove the Crossfire pressure equalization device from my driver-side rear duals. The outside dual was in good shape, no loss of air pressure. However, the inside dual was down to 45 PSI (less than half what it should be) so I got out my compressor and after adding a valve extension onto the stem so that the air nozzle could reach it, began adding air to the tire. I kept checking the pressure at frequent intervals, but the pressure was not increasing in the tire, which is BAD news. The compressor and the pressure gauge were both working properly (I tested them on another tire). I thought the trouble might be with the Dill valve in the tire stem. I have a tool for adjusting Dill valves and I adjusted it from all the way in to almost all the way out, but still no joy. Sunday morning in a small Texas town is not a good time to need tire service. I decided to add extra air to the outside dual and proceed to Amarillo instead of Tucumcari, NM.
We left the Wichita Falls RV park at 10 AM with the temperature a very pleasant 70°. As we drove through Quanah, one of the many small towns along the route, I noticed a sign that read “Quanah, Home of Puha.” Puha? I had no idea what it could be so I asked Carol Ann to write it down so I could Google it later.
Closer to Amarillo we drove through another small town. This one was Clarendon and I saw a sign as we entered the town that read something to the effect "Welcome to Quanah. The town that believes in the Cross and the Crucifixion of Jesus.” Okay. This was another town I would need to Google! As we drove through the small town I noticed many of the local businesses sporting signs praising Jesus and quoting scripture. Some of the signs said that the end was coming and if I didn’t repent I would spend eternity in hellfire and damnation. Then I noticed a cross on almost every street corner that we drove past. These crosses were all made of white PVC pipe and stood about 6 or 8 feet tall. I also noticed what seemed to be an awful (no pun intended) lot of churches for such a small town.
We continued on, eventually reaching Amarillo and I-40. We drove through Amarillo and at the westernmost edge of town we drove past Cadillac Ranch. This is a public art installation (is it really art?) that was created for a local Amarillo billionaire, Stanley Marsh III, in 1974 by a group of California (that may explain it) artists who called themselves The Ant Farm. It seems that Stanley wanted something that would puzzle the locals so the hippies came up with the idea of creating a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin (why not?). They drove 10 old Cadillacs, from a 1949 Club Sedan to a 1963 Sedan de Ville, out into one of Stanley’s fields and buried them about half way, standing on their grills with their tail fins in the air, and in a line facing west at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Go figure. I’m sure than Stanley was pleased with himself.
Just beyond Cadillac Ranch we reached Oasis RV Park, a very nice park in which we have stayed in the past. We pulled in at 3:30 PM with the temperature at 79°. We had added another 238 miles and 4 hours and 45 minutes to the trip. We slowed down today (average speed 50 mph) but gained only 0.1 mpg (from 6.9 mpg yesterday to 7 mpg today). It’s almost not worth slowing down.
After a nap and supper I got out my laptop and began to Google. First I searched for “Puha”. I discovered that the Texas Panhandle was once part of Comanche Indian territory, which they called Comancheria. “Puha”, as it turns out, is a word from the Comanche language and has several different meanings. It does not mean “Pick Up and Haul Ass”, a translation attributed to a group of EMTs. Instead, it means something like personal or medicine power or war honors, which I believe may be similar to the Jewish "Chutzpah." “Puha” was acquired through a vision quest (this probably had something to do with Peyote). If you had a lot of “Puha” you could be chief, or “parabio” as the Comanche called it.
The Quanah High School football team’s name is the Fighting Indians and they like to yell “PUHA” at their football games. I’m sure it must send quite a scare through the opposing team.
Next to be Googled was Clarendon, TX and its fascination with crosses and the end of time. The town has a population of just a little more than 1,900 people yet has 13 churches. According to the internet's Yellowpages.com there are 5 Baptist Churches in Clarendon, 4 of them have the word "Calvary" in their name. Other denominations represented in Clarendon include Methodist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Assembly of God, and a few of whose denomination is unknown to me. That's an average of less than 150 people per church. How do they support all of those churches? I saw no signs of great wealth in Clarendon. So here is what I learned about Clarendon. It was established in 1878 by a Methodist preacher, L.H. Carhart, as a “sobriety settlement” in contrast to the wild boom towns of the time. It soon became know as “Saints Roost” by local cowboys.
There is a Centennial Marker in Clarendon showing the four elements upon which the county (Donley) was founded – Ranching, Farming, Education, and Churches.
Mr. Jim Griffin, a local resident, has taken it upon himself to convince people to repent their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. In this effort he has erected over 40 PVC crosses in and around Clarendon.
Next week, the Donley County Commissioners will consider a request from a group calling themselves the “Citizens of Donley County”. In a letter to the County Commission, the group says “our history is being lost to the younger generations” and ask that a marker commemorating the Ten Commandments be placed on the lawn of the 1890 courthouse, to “honor the influence that the Bible and the Christian faith has had on our nation and our county.”
As my wife, Carol Ann, said as we drove through Clarendon, “I’ll bet there isn’t one Democrat in this whole town!”