As one travels through the desert corridor between El Paso and San Antonio, Texas, you get the feel there isn’t much there except Interstate 10, mountains, open terrain with rocks and sand interspersed with patches of brown and green.
Even the GPS friendly voice remains silent as the miles click away, although seemingly at slow speeds. Occasionally there seems to be a gradual turn in the Interstate. Otherwise, the road looks very long ahead. You even have doubts at times of the opportunity for relief.
One of the respites from the mundane travel along the historic, scenic route though appears as the signs for Fort Stockton announce this encouragement and the feeling of civilization in sight.
So, what’s so special about this little place along I-10? I needed to check it out further.
According to the Texas State Historical Association Online, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hff02, Fort Stockton evolved around Comanche Springs, at one time the third largest source of spring water in Texas. It was also near the military fort that was found in 1859 – named after Lt. Edward Dorsey Stockton.
Comanche Springs no doubt was a favorite rest stop for weary travelers through the native land – on the Comanche Trail to Chihuahua, the Old San Antonio Road, the Butterfield Overland Mail route, and the San Antonio-Chihuahua freight-wagon road.
The fort was rebuilt by the U.S. Army in 1867 following a short possession period by the Confederates during the Civil War. During this time the fort provided protection for travelers and settlers from the Indians as well as employment for the area. The fort was abandoned in 1886.
Today Fort Stockton is the county seat of Pecos County with a population of 8,283 in 2010. Little has changed since 1980 when the population was 8,868 and an economy based on oil, gas and Sulphur production and distribution.
Much has changed since the 1800s, particularly the mode of travel. While some traveling this corridor at 80 miles per hour, and sometimes faster, may pass this once vibrant respite without much thought, Fort Stockton remains steadfast and ready to serve the weary along life’s highway.
One of the highlights on this particular journey is K-Bob’s Steakhouse, almost within a stone’s through from Interstate 10. Depending on where one exits from I-10 the family restaurant is east or west. The atmosphere is pleasant and the décor remains a tribute to the area’s history. Some of the proud heritage of Pecos County Ranches – past and present – is displayed with brands of these ranches.
A wagon–designed salad buffet is an instant attraction upon entering the first main dining area. The eye appeal and taste are commendable. The restaurant certainly lives up to one’s expectation of being a steakhouse. Steaks are prepared to this traveler’s taste and expectation.
One thing for sure as modern-day travelers scurry along the open road on this Interstate, Fort Stockton provides a glimpse of history and a modern day taste of great food at K-Bobs.