Amarillo by morning…
Greetings from Williams, AZ outside the Grand Canyon. We didn’t have internet access in Albuquerque yesterday but are at a KOA in Arizona that has it, so I’ll tell you what has been happening up to now. This is a very nice KOA, by the way. It seems to be pretty new, and altho it’s going to be down to 25 degrees tonite and they are turning off the water to the sites, the showers and laundry room will stay open so we can still get hot showers and dry our towels. If you are ever out this way, it’s worth the drive, almost to the canyon, and away from the noise of Flagstaff and the freeway.
AR – TX
The weather forecast was for thunderstorms, heavy rains, and possible tornadoes in East and Central Texas so we thought we should try to hurry through and get as far west as we could. We got up at O-dark-thirty and were on our way by 6:15. We had a lot of fog but it wasn’t down low and visibility was pretty good most of the way. We had it all the way across Oklahoma off and on. We stopped along the highway at a little picnic area to have lunch and finished off the salad and chicken that Dave and Annie had packed for us along with some other leftovers.
We got to Amarillo, TX fairly early and decided to try something other than a commercial RV park for a change. We stopped at the Welcome Center and found that the Palo Duro Canyon State Park was not too far south. The kind gentleman at the center called ahead and found that there would be plenty of sites for our rig and the gate would be open until 8 PM. Plenty of time to stop at WalMart for some milk and other necessities.
We drove down Hwy 27 out of Amarillo to Hwy 217 that leads to the canyon. Upon arrival we were accosted by swarms of flies, even in the registration office. This didn’t look like it was going to be fun. The ranger explained the layout of the park and showed us where we would be likely to find spaces to fit the rig, with and without trees. We picked one and continued on into the park.
This park has the second largest canyon in the U.S. and it’s the second largest park in Texas. It reminded us of the Grand Canyon in AZ, though not as big. The colors of the soil layers are impressive and the trees are arrayed in their fall yellows and tans. I hope the pictures do it justice. This is the road leading into the canyon.
The history of this park has a lot to do with Native American tribes; Kiowa, Comanche, and Cheyenne. Since all these tribes were forced to move west from the southeastern part of our country, many managed to end up in Texas. The Indians here were forced off the land by Cavalry who killed 1100 of the Indians’ horses. After the buffalo were pretty much eliminated, they turned to cattle for sustenance and the JA Ranch happened to have about 100,000. The ranch at its peak in 1885 had a total land area of over 1,324,000 acres encompassing this beautiful canyon. A group of Indians escaped the Oklahoma reservation in search of buffalo. When they got back here to Texas, they found out there were none left. Col. Charles Goodnight, who owned the ranch, agreed to provide two beeves a day until buffalo were found in a treaty with Comanche Chief Quanah Parker. Another history lesson 🙂
Here’s the view out our window. Not too shabby. Oh yeah, here’s what Bruce found outside the shower building in the morning. I, as you might imagine, opted to take my shower in the trailer! Along the road leading to the park is a ranch with a bucking bull and a train that used to be part of the park interpretations.
We hiked one of the trails, the Paseo Del Rio Trail, which is just 2 miles round trip and pretty level. I wasn’t looking to injure my knee further. Along the trail was a ‘cowboy dugout’ which was supposed to be a cabin originally used by cowboys when the JA Ranch was in play. . We found these cute little cabins that can be rented in the park for those who don’t want to ‘rough it’.
We made friends with a couple we met while setting up camp. Cameron and Debby are from Australia and have rented a little motor home to tour our country. They arrived first in LA so their first experience driving on the right side of the road was the ‘wonderful’ freeways of LA. Can you imagine? They made it through to Las Vegas and then here and were probably glad to get out of that mess! We really enjoyed talking to them and learning a little about their country and experiences with RVs. They have an Aussie-made 26-ft 5th wheel and there is a lot of free camping ‘down under’. We exchanged email addresses and I gave them the link to the blog just for fun. I hope they enjoy the rest of their visit…they were heading east on Route 66.
Before Cameron and Debby came over to visit, 5 mule deer decided to take their evening walk through our camp site. They didn’t seem too afraid of us and if the dogs hadn’t barked, I’m sure Bruce would have been petting one of them. Other wildlife in the park includes turkeys, bobcats, road runners, and Barbary sheep. Wish we had seen some sheep and bobcats. That would have been cool.
There’s a cute little RV museum in Amarillo that we checked out. It’s free, so why not? Some of these are familiar and some just look like more work! This is inside the bus featured in the Robin Williams movie “RV”. Very cool!
We headed to Albuquerque the next day and decided to stay at the base (Kirtland AFB) and do some laundry and celebrate my birthday, again. We ate at Gardunos New Mexican restaurant which we had remembered from the days when we lived here. I forgot that their mild sauce is usually too hot for me, so I asked the waiter what would be the mildest. I had the fish tacos sans the sauce and they were good. Bruce had the hottest Posole he had ever had. He says he doesn’t remember it being so hot. Well, that WAS 17 years ago! The memory isn’t what it used to be 🙂
We will be in California tomorrow, but don’t know how long we will take to get home. Hopefully we will have wi-fi to report on it.