Amarillo Awaits

At 8:17 a.m. CST Ron shifted the truck into drive to start the slow roll out of site 44, we didn’t move. He looks at me and says, “Did you pull the wheel chocks?” I shake my head no. Realization dawns on both of us and we smile. Ron jumped out and pulled the chocks, by 8:19 we were heading to the next stop: Amarillo, TX. Our home for the night will be Big Texan RV Ranch where, if you eat a 72 oz steak in an hour, it’s free! We started seeing the billboards halfway through Arkansas. Ron has decided he wants to try and eat the steak, I said no. Besides the fact, if he doesn’t finish it the meal costs $72, I’m sure there are much better things we can do with an hour (and the money) than that.

Wide open spaces, sprawling ranches and silent wind mills fill the land. I took a break from studying, watching the landscape slide by. The blue sky spotted with fluffy clouds is beautiful. Every now and then there is an oil drill, some working, most not. Every time I try to get a picture of one, I’m too late.

We passed this sign just before Exit 20 on I-40, still in Oklahoma. North Fork Correctional Center is the reason for the sign. The prison is medium to maximum security, privately owned. The facility is home to 2,400 male inmates who are in rehabilitation programs.

We crossed into Texas at 10:41 a.m. CST. We are in the “square” part of Texas, the panhandle. The wind is blowing strong, the wind mills have gotten even more plentiful. I did not know they were called wind mill farms. Texas, if it was a country, would be fifth in the world for the amount of electricity it produces from wind mills. No other state produces as much energy from wind mills as Texas does. We can feel the wind blowing the trailer, it is coming from the southwest to the north. Interesting rest area we passed by as well. We only saw one operating rest area in Oklahoma, all of the others we passed were closed. Although I feel like I can see for a 100 miles, in reality, it’s 12 miles one can see before the curve of the earth interferes with your sight line.

And then we passed the “Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ” which resides in Groom, TX. The cross is 19 stories high and weighs 2.5 million pounds of steel. We didn’t stop, but there is also a reproduction of the empty tomb. When you look at the website, you’ll see the statues depicting Jesus’ journey to the cross.

We decided at 12:53 p.m. CST we would keep site 115. Unbeknownst to us, it is a buddy site, which means our door opens out to our neighbors door. A little awkward, but even more, we don’t want our pups bothering them. They love to yap at anything. We’re only here for one night, I’m sure it will be fine. Weather a little cooler, and the breeze isn’t warm like it was in Oklahoma City.

Interesting nicknames for Amarillo, TX. “Bomb City”, only place in America that assembles/disassembles nuclear bombs. “The Big Flat Brown;” which comes from the saying “It’s so flat you can see your dog run for three days as long as it’s not brown.” A picture of the flat brown is below. And let’s not forget the truckers who refer to Amarillo as “Slamarillo,” apparently company of the opposite sex is easily found here, not going to investigate it for accuracy:-).

Cadillac Ranch, built in 1974, is a rebel art display financed by Stan Marsh the Third. He wanted a piece of art that would “baffle” the locals. A group of artists calling themselves the Ant Farm, came up with the idea to pay tribute to the Cadillac tail fin by half burying them in one of Marsh’s fields. Apparently they are at the angle of the Great Pyramid of Giza. And so we went!

We arrived just 20 hours after someone set the oldest of the Cadillacs on fire. Police are still looking for suspects.

Cadillac Ranch RV park sits just outside of the exhibit. The park seemed primarily permanent residents, not for the recreational RVer. The Second Amendment Cowboy calls the park home. He was originally the “Muffler Man.” Prior to being purchased in 2004 for the Cadillac Ranch RV Park, the cowboy had been used as target practice and was riddled with bullet holes, which were repaired before he was sold. From the bullet holes is where his new name, Second Amendment Cowboy came. The second amendment reads: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. To you, I introduce the Second Amendment Cowboy!

We saw the Hoof Prints of American Quarter Horses, or at least 2 of them. There are over a 100 of the fiberglass horses spread out across Amarillo. Each horse is prepared by a local artist. I was able to snag a photo of one of them as we drove past.

Palo Duro Canyon was an unexpected surprise. We knew we wanted to get to Amarillo early today to do a bit of exploring, we had no idea what we would find. Ron wanted to do the Cadillac Ranch, that took literally minutes. We didn’t know what to do next and this was top of the list for things to do in Amarillo. The canyon is breathtakingly beautiful and you can drive to the bottom of it, great for non-hiking people like us. The drive down was treacherous, the sides steep, but well worth it. Ron was amazed when I walked to the edge of the canyon without fear, I told him this was my month for overcoming fears. I guess God is doing more work in me than I realized. The stream that carved this canyon has been diverted and no longer flows through it, yet the canyon floods quickly in heavy rains. Well worth the trip.

You can camp at the bottom of the canyon. We would definitely take advantage of this if we were back this way again. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be at sunest? Or in the early morning? Breathtaking!

Jack Sizemore’s Traveland RV Museum was our next stop. We actually met Jack Sizemore and shook his hand. Great guy! I had no idea who he was when we were talking to him, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t, the conversation was more authentic as a result. Jack tells the story of how he was sitting at home one night when the CEO of Camping World called and told him he wanted to buy him out. Jack, being 78 years old, thought it was a good idea, but he negotiated the contract to his benefit. He still gets to run the original RV store and the museum. Truly, walking through the museum was like taking a step back in time. All of the RV’s have been restored because of Jack’s love for the lifestyle. One RV was a 1955 that was in pristine shape, Jack found it in a barn, completely original, no restoration needed. Each sign outside of every RV tell’s of Jack’s investment in the project. He has a passion for RV’ing more than most, and it shows in his life’s investment. We saw the first Airstream ever made. Another unexpected surprise on our trip.

Jack started his dream from this gas station, one of which he made a replica of in the museum.

We stopped by Bubba’s 33 for an afternoon drink. We needed to kill time before dinner, believe it or not, we did the Cadillac Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon and the RV Museum with time to spare. We’re getting good at this tourist thing. When we came out of Bubba’s we had a slight problem, the car next to us had parked extremely close. Needless to say, I waited for Ron to pull out before I got in the truck.

The Big Texan, where if you eat a 72 oz steak with fixings in 60 minutes it’s free, was Ron’s choice of dinner. We learned from our hostess, on average 1 person a day attempts the feat. Only one out of 10 actually accomplish it. And, last Saturday, a woman weighing approximately 135 pounds ate TWO! What do you get if you do devour 72 oz’s of steak in 60 minutes? A t-shirt, another big meal and your name on the list. Table side entertainment was offered in the way of the two gents pictured below, a little uncomfortable, but when in Amarillo, you go with the flow.

He didn’t get a shot at the 72 ouncer, but he did get a t-shirt and this picture.

Time to head back to the camper. We packed the tourism in today. Well worth it, but we’re tired. We met our neighbor when we arrived back at our home for tonight. He and his wife are traveling in an Airstream. They are from Houston, TX and are on their way home from a 14,000 mile trip to Alaska. They left home June 15th. He said there were days when all they did was cross the U.S./Canada border. They were staying in Canada but wanted to eat in the U.S. so they made multiple trips back and forth. They’ll be home by the end of the week, stopping in Arlington, TX tomorrow to visit friends before they make the last leg home. God speed to our new friends. I snapped a shot of them pulling out on their way to Arlington.

A beautiful ending to a beautiful day.