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Friday, August 28, 2015 : Lubbock, Buddy Holly

 

Of course, with a 7-hour jetlag, we wake up very early for this first full day. That's OK. We have quite a long stretch of road, with a major visit half-way.

 

We make two decisions that we will radically change as soon as tomorrow :

 

  • We use our TomTom. Why not ... but it keeps on trying to take us on a closed road that brings us back to downtown Mineral Wells. Bad luck. Starting from tomorrow, we will use the Camaro's onboard navigation system, which will perform brilliantly.
  • We drive with the open top. But sun shines high in Texas, and I will soon need a cap, to shield my head from sunburn. And we won't be able to hear either the radio or our own conversation.

 

Learning from past experience, I closely watch the Camaro's gas consumption. With some variation according to roads, its fuel efficiency will remain in the 26-31 mpg range, which is way better than anything I previously feared.


Texas and its oil wells

Texas and its oil wells

After leaving Interstate 20, we cross western Texas and its myriad of oil wells. For the sake of completeness, I have to emphasize that we also crossed a very large field of wind turbines. Is Texas embarking on an environmental development ? At least, it looks on the right track.

 

We get a refill in Post, about 20 miles before Lubbock

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Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, TX

Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, TX

 

Lubbock, a wide and flat city in the middle pf the Prairie, is Buddy Holly's hometown. Buddy Holly ?  He was a rock star from the late 50s, a bit fallen into oblivion these days, which is a pity. His career was suddenly brought to a halt early on Feb. 3, 1959, when the plane he had chartered crashed near Clear Lake, IA, in the middle of a snowstorm. Born Sept. 7, 1936, he was only 22.

 

His given name Charles Hardin Holley, Buddy Holly was born in a family of musicians and singers, and he did not require too much parental prodding. He quickly quit playing the violin his mom has offered him for a guitar and a mike. Later, with his band The Crickets, he became one of the earliest, and one of the most famous musicians, to play a Fender Stratocaster guitar. From a quite serious short-sightedness, he made a force : he took on wearing thick-rimmed glasses, which soon became his trademark, to the point that a replica adorns the entrance of the Buddy Holly Center. Only one regret : as in many museums, it is not allowed to take pictures inside.

 

What is Buddy Holly's legacy to rock'n roll ? Songs, many songs indeed, considering his career was cut short at about 2 1/2 years. But also a total control of his music, composing, writing lyrics, recording and production. When Buddy delivered a song to his record company, it was a finished product, ready to be pressed, promoted and, naturally, sold. In that respect, he was the opposite of many other artists, who needed to be carefully coached by professionals. Elvis and Colonel Parker obviously come to mind, as do most Motown artists (Marvin Gaye, the Supremes ...), Michael Jackson and many more. Buddy was a forebear of artists striving to control each and every strep of their creative process, like Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and, of course, Bruce Springsteen.

 

Buddy also left us a bunch of hits, sung and recorded by himself and often covered by others :

 

 

Buddy always had, and still has, a huge crowd of loyal fans : John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Paul bought the publishing rights of Buddy's songs in 1976), Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling StonesLinda Ronstadt and Don McLean, who wrote the song American Pie as a tribute to that fateful Feb. 3rd, 1959.

 

And me, of course.

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Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, TX

Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, TX

 

The Buddy Holly Center is located right in downtown Lubbock, on Crickets Avenue. Can you imagine in France streets named after early-60 rock bands now fallen into oblivion ? That gives you an idea of what Buddy Holly and the Crickets mean to Lubbock.

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Buddy Holly's grave, Lubbock, TX

Buddy Holly's grave, Lubbock, TX

 

After the museum, we make a stop at City of Lubbock Cemetery, where Buddy was laid to rest. The most surprising is that we can visit this cemetery with our car.

 

Buddy's grave is carefully indicated and, anyway, it lies next to an alley. Really hard to miss !

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The Camaro with the top open at Buddy Holly's grave

The Camaro with the top open at Buddy Holly's grave

 

We take a few more pictures of the Camaro at Buddy's grave.

 

Then we leave Lubbock toward Fort Sumner, our first stop in New Mexico.

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Texas, endless train and road

Texas, endless train and road

 

Route US-84 stretches along a railroad track with dense traffic. In less than 2 hours, we see about a dozen freight trains.

 

What can be pretty well seen on the picture is that there are not just one but two containers per car. The lowered floor allows such a trick.

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The prairie in western Texas

The prairie in western Texas

 

Vegetation is becoming sparser. More or less cultivated land has given place to the prairie. It is the West as can be seen in movies.

 

There is not much to enhance the landscape, here, no wind turbines, no oil wells.

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Billy the Kid Museum, Fort Sumner, NM

Billy the Kid Museum, Fort Sumner, NM

 

We arrive in Fort Sumner late in the afternoon. Our first idea is to visit Billy the Kid Museum. Outlaw Billy the Kid was shot down by sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, on July 14, 1881, at age 21, and is buried in the city cemetery.

 

But we took some time in Lubbock and, when we arrive in Fort Sumner, the museum is already closed. We have to satisfy ourselves with a few minutes in the gift shop, which is still open.

 

Our hotel is a Super 8, supposedly quite basic. It is also well-tended and very clean, making it one of the nice surprises of this trip.

 

We have dinner at Fred's Restaurant and Lounge, a nearby tex-mex restaurant.

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