12-26-2013, 08:52 AM
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Distances across Texas can be a bit long and day trips for many Texans can far exceed an entire week or for some people even months worth of driving and / or travel. Much of Texas is still rural in nature, but not in any way near as it was 30 or 40 years ago. Still once you get away from the large metropolitan areas, most towns close down for the holidays or as we call 'roll up the streets." Even many gasoline stations will be closed, so sticking close to the main highways is essential to fill up the vehicle if need be.

While returning home from a trip on Christmas Day to see my mother, it was getting late in the afternoon and I needed to stop for a while. I pulled into a place that was relatively new to this area and so it was my first time entering into this place. Duke's Travel Plaza is a "high end" gas station and truck stop that is geared more toward those traveling in cars than most truck stops. The place is a set in a western motif and has all sorts of Texana and Western portraits, clothing, knickknacks and assorted items for sale. Even large wooden furniture using wagon wheel components, and other farm components are for sale at this site. There are items ranging from the inexpensive to the very expensive depending upon your tastes and budget.

In addition the place has two fast food operations as well. One is a franchised Taco Casa (Texas based restaurant chain) which serves Tex-Mex food, and the other serves Barbeque and not a part of any franchise chain. With the general and specialty items sales area, large seated dining area, and truck stop facilities, this place is large and very busy. Fortunately for me, the Barbeque section was in operations and I had some traditional turkey and dressing which hit the spot on a long day which was now late in the afternoon with two hours left to drive before I would arrive home.

It was after I ate, and was leaving the main door to continue my travel, when I spied some familiar items in a locked circular glass case. It was a shaving brush and a mug. Naturally I stopped and noticed that this was a knife shop and the it was one of two sections closed for Christmas day (the other was the Taco Casa). I looked at the two cases. One had several Col. Conk brushes, soaps, fragrances. Another case had a couple of Col. Conk razors and then I saw a new Merkur Progress in a box. The main cases were full of knives of various shapes, sizes, and cost based upon the materials uses. The web site for Duke's Travel Plaza discusses the Knife Shop as follows:
Quote:Family Owned and Operated Knife Shop. Professional sharpening and blade repair service available. Shop carries most of the major knife brands. Large selection of Case, Buck, Cold Steel, Old Timers, Uncle Henry, Schrade, KaBar, Smith & Wesson, Boker, SOG, Rough Rider, Gerber, Puma, Eye Brand and C.R.K.T. knives. Leather Sheaths, Sharpening Stones, and Diamond Sharpeners. Personal protection items sold and demonstrated.
The proprietor was more than likely home on Christmas day and so his section was closed. That was a good thing or I would have stuck around a bit longer to discuss what he had in stock.

I kind of chuckled to myself and wondered whether the Knife Shop got any questions from the locals and those passing through about the Merkur Progress sitting in the midst of this booming travel station. After giving the place another quick look around and especially the Knife Shop and proceeded to head on home.

So if you are ever headed west on Interstate 20 a few miles west of Canton Texas and need to get a razor and brush viewing fix, stop by a place that was for me at least "A Surprise Along the Highway."




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 12-26-2013, 12:48 PM
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Great travel story, Gary! Thanks for sharing! Smile

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 12-26-2013, 01:31 PM
  • Johnny
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  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I will be in that part of Texas sometime this spring and will have to check this out. If for no other reason than the barbeque.

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 12-26-2013, 01:40 PM
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(12-26-2013, 01:31 PM)Johnny Wrote: I will be in that part of Texas sometime this spring and will have to check this out. If for no other reason than the barbeque.

I just hope your wife does not fall in love with one of those big wagon wheel benches for sale out front. They are large, heavy and pricy! Wink

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