Amarillo, Palo Duro State Park, Lubbock
There is about 5 hours of nothing between Albuquerque and Amarillo. Our mission was to make it to the RV park outside of Amarillo we reserved by 1 pm for early check-in to allow us the most time possible to de-winterize. This consists of pumping fresh water through your whole water system to flush out all the anti-freeze. Gabrielle found this hilarious tourist attraction 1 mile down the road from the RV park!
Cadillac Ranch west of Amarillo – 10 Cadillacs stuck in the Earth that have become spray paint art:
We spent a couple days in Amarillo as a kind of break to take some relax/catchup time. There were a couple of breweries we checked out like Pondaseta Brewing where the waiter taught us about how Texas law mandates customers to buy a food or merchandise item along with every beer purchase…weird. He said this was part of their reopening procedures because of Covid. So we bought a pint glass, a sticker pack, and a couple food items to try 4 beers… they were fairly decent and the waiter was very nice and patient but as I write this now having been to 10 breweries in Texas, it occurs to me we have not seen any of these rules since…? Go figure.
Amarillo has a small but pretty botanical gardens we visited as the workers were bustling around putting up all their Christmas lights. The gardens are in a city park and the girl at the front desk told us to take any cats or kittens we find wandering through the gardens because stray litters had been born in a nearby park. We saw one that ran off and then never saw any more… damn! The main attraction at the botanical garden is the indoor tropical conservatory with cool birds and a waterfall!
Also in Amarillo is The World Famous Big Texas Steak Ranch & Brewery (we could not pass this place up)! Set up like an old ranch, it has a huge bar and arcade, dinning room and a gift shop. It was busy as all heck and not too many mask wearers so we picked two beers, sat in the corner and polished them off quickly. Beers were ok and I am sure their food is probably dynamite. If you love steak, they have a 72 oz steak challenge with salad and “fixin’s” that is free if you finish it. Losers pay $75. The top time for completion of the steak meal was 4 minutes and 58 seconds! Insane. Getting nauseous just thinking about it…
Just a little southeast of Amarillo is Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The park surrounds a huge canyon dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’. It’s basically the only big natural area in the panhandle and is quite popular. We stayed at the zipline adventure park next door that just happened to have an RV park situated on the canyon rim’s edge! We had an awesome hike that day to see the park’s signature sight: The Lighthouse. It’s about 6.5 mile round trip with fantastic views and magnificent rock formations.
Lubbock is famous for being the home of Buddy Holly. There is a museum and adjacent park dedicated to him and his band the Crickets along with other prominent West Texas musicians. On our last day we went to the Science Spectrum and Omni Theater Museum. It was a pretty awesome science museum, with tons of interactive, high tech exhibits that entertained us for hours! They also had a whole a whole floor called “Texas Alive! The Brazos River Journey” that was essentially an aquarium. All sorts of live fish, snakes, frogs, lizards, amphibians, turtles and other river animals we enjoyed experiencing.
We stuck around to see the Omni show that night, “Into America’s Wild” narrated by Morgan Freeman. It was filled with beautiful, high resolution shots of our country’s wilderness and diverse wildlife, and was totally immersive because of the rounded Omni theater. Loved it. The film even gave David and I a few more ideas of destinations for our future adventures.