Saturday, June 25

road trip to Murchison

I survived today's road trip from Dallas to the outskirts of Murchison (northeast of Athens, in Henderson County). It's where the Black Beauty Ranch is located, where several hundred horses and donkeys (burros) found sanctuary, along with a few camels and zebras and other equines. They're only open Saturday and not at all in the hottest summer months, but well worth the (mostly mindless) drive east-southeast of Dallas.

I discovered the Black Beauty Ranch after it was mentioned in a Letter to the Editor in the Dallas Managed News. It struck me as a cross between Fossil Rim (Glen Rose, TX) and the Exotic Feline Sanctuary (Boyd, TX).

Judy-Bob and Cairo (one of the rescued camels) share a tender moment

They have a small set of "exotics" too .. chimpanzees and elephants .. but their claim to fame are the burros and horses (including some wild mustangs). The tour was a mix of walking and minibus-riding, and lasts about 2 hours. Many of the animals were rescues from circuses; some horses were rescued after being overworked on Amish farms. Others were discards from Prednisone (female hormone replacement therapy) breeders.

The trip (both going and coming) was uneventful; this is the first time I ever recall being on the CF Hawn* Freeway (US-175, which goes from Dallas to Jacksonville TX). Along the way, I spotted several dozen fireworks stands, set up to take your money from now until Independence Day. Fireworks are illegal in Dallas, but that doesn't mean that any of these businesses check ID's.
Charles F. Hawn was a Texas Highway Commissioner from 1957-1963. He owned a cattle ranch and a hardware store in Athens; no idea how/if he's related to the (now defunct) Hawn Lumber Company or Hawn Motor Company.

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