Galveston to Quanah on Texas Highway 6

A secret garden, a drive-through feedstore, presidential papers, tasty pinto beans—and a Picasso.

OF ALL THE LONG-DISTANCE DRIVES in Texas, Highway 6 is the most surprising. The purpose of a state route is to fill in the gaps between the major highways, not to go gallivanting off on its own—yet gallivant it does, from sea to Great Plains, one of the longest roads in Texas that is not an interstate or a U.S. highway.

I toured it from the coast inland, as I started doing as soon as I was old enough to drive. Growing up in Galveston, the route’s eastern terminus, I was imbued with the local wisdom that Highway 6 was a shortcut to Austin or San Antonio via Interstate 10, avoiding the dreaded Houston traffic. It never occurred to me then that I could continue


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