The vast open stretch of the Texas Panhandle and Plains is a region of long drives on lonely two-laners. Its cities are few and small. The scope and scale make this a place where people tend to think big, but some of the area's purest pleasures are in its details: the scent of sage after rainfall, a flint quarry plied by humans thousands of years ago, or the wistful love songs written by young troubadours whose legacies ultimately reached far beyond the Plains.
And it's not all tumbleweeds. Midland is at the heart of the Texas energy boom, Lubbock embodies the region's rich music heritage with its favorite son, Buddy Holly, and Amarillo keeps cattle king of the Panhandle. Natural wonders include America's second-largest canyon, Palo Duro, where the Comanche fought on long after other tribes gave in. But the region's greatest assets are the tiny towns seemingly lost in the past.