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Hit the Road With Chet Garner

Heart of the Matter

Set yourself on a course for smack-dab in the middle of the state

Every Texan must make a pilgrimage to the Alamo and also stop by the state fair to yell “Howdy” at Big Tex. I’ll add another trip to the mandatory list: one to the heart of the Lone Star State.

Texas has a funny shape. Recognizable? Sure. But odd. The idea that someone was able to find the true geographic center of such an irregularity is amazing. But that’s what the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors accomplished by dividing the state into quadrants and confirming the point where the lines intersect. Near that surveyor-approved dot, about 20 miles northeast of Brady, is our destination.

I reached Brady with time to circle its castlelike courthouse and medieval historic jail-turned-county museum. I noticed an abundance of hearts about town and a profusion of businesses using “Heart of Texas” like a country song slogan before I headed north on Texas 377.

I enjoyed the passing landscape dotted with farmhouses. Suddenly, a silver-and-black historical marker appeared. I hit the brakes and veered into a parking area. I got out of my truck and took a deep breath, realizing I was indeed standing in the center of the state I love so much.

I didn’t hear a George Strait song or receive a mysterious message from Sam Houston. In fact, there is not much other than the marker and a fence line of rough cedars. Yet I felt Texan to the core. Now I understand this is the true heart of Texas. It doesn’t hit you in the eye or the stomach but right in the heart.

 

Chet Garner shares his Texplorations as the host of The Daytripper on PBS.