A few weeks ago, I spent a Saturday driving to Archer City, Texas from the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and back. The trip takes approximately 2 1/2 hours one way. Why in the world would I drive to Archer City, Texas, and back? I wanted to check out Larry McMurtry’s book stores in his hometown (see previous posting) and get out of the city and see some scenery. There are four separate buildings of Booked Up at this time. Three of the buildings are on the main drag of the town and the fourth is not far. I visited the three that were close together and left the fourth so that I would have a reason to return in the next few months. Why not? The drive across 6 counties (Collin, Denton, Wise, Clay, Montague, and Archer) from home and back was interesting because I had never been in the north central Texas counties of Clay, Montague, and Archer. How does that happen when one has lived in the state for 48 years and has been from Orange to El Paso and Dallas to Brownsville? The closest larger city is Wichita Falls and I don’t recall having been there either. I was interested to see the terrain as it is relatively flat where I live (Collin County). Springtime was in full bloom and there had been recent rains so the scenery was still lush before the current high temperatures. I saw lots of horses and cattle. Used to you would see fields of cattle not too far from Dallas and Ft. Worth, but urban sprawl and development has stymied these scenes of late. I enjoyed the pastoral views and herds of animals. The land was a little less flat and had some outcrops and ridges to vary the horizon, too.
But what about the stores? Booked Up #1 was the main headquarters where you made your purchases, even if you found the books in the other three buildings. The main room had a table and chairs to sit and read or visit, as well as some offices and cases full of many of McMurtry’s rare books on display, as well as some artwork/memorabilia, and the music of James McMurtry for sale (he is Larry’s son). Also in Building 1 is the huge staging area for the sorting of books that the store buys of other rare book collections from across the country.
If I would have spent the entire time in Building 1, I would not have been disappointed. Also in this building were different genres such as Native American, Texana, Psychology, and others. Buildings 2 and 3 were equally as interesting, but I remember Building 3 containing fiction. This is where I found a lot of books, as well as in the staging area. Here are the books I finally decided to purchase:
I left Archer City going back the same way I came until I reached the small German town of Windthorst nearby and then I took another route home, looping through Jack County. The sky was overcast and colorful at times, but it never rained and was quite sunny at other times. I had put this trip off a few weeks due to the springtime rains and just decided to go no matter what this particular weekend. Approximately 7 hours and 7 counties later, I was back home looking through my cache.