Day 8-10: Texas, Route 66

Rambling across the Texas panhandle…

DAY 8 PLAN:
DRIVE: Foss State Park, OK to Amarillo, TX to Palo Duro State Park, TX (estimated 350 miles / 6 hours straight driving) — stop to resupply en route
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: Visit ghost town, Foss | Visit National Route 66 Museum, Elk City | Visit Devil’s Rope museum, Mc Lean
ARRIVE: Palo Duro Canyon, TX

DAY 9 PLAN:
ACTIVITY: Hike/Explore Palo Duro Canyon
ACTIVITY: Big Texan Steak Ranch Dinner
ACTIVITY: TEXAS the Musical Drama

RESOURCES: DAY 8 PLANNING PAGE | DAY 9 PLANNING PAGE | FOSS STATE PARK WEATHER | SHAMROCK WEATHER | AMARILLO WEATHER | PALO DURO CANYON WEATHER

NOTES FROM THE ROAD: WELCOME TO TEXAS (entering Texas on Route 66)

A simple sign marked the Texas border. A cowboy in a little convertible drove past, giving us a slightly surreal welcome to another world. We followed him into the town of Shamrock. Even without the cowboy’s help, following the old road is easier in Texas, because it rarely strays far from the interstate. 150 of the original 178 miles that made up Texas Route 66 still exist … [ read more ]

NOTES FROM THE ROAD: PALO DURO UP CLOSE (exploring Palo Duro canyon)

The air smelled good. We woke early, anxious to make the most of our “pause” in this spectacular canyon. We wanted to explore it’s vastness up close and we actually had the time, as today was a “rest” day — it was the first day we weren’t driving since we set out on Route 66. Though “rest” doesn’t actually mean “rest” —- we were going hiking … [ read more ]

PRACTICAL MATTERS: TEXAS (THE MUSICAL) (review of Palo Duro canyon show)

“TEXAS, the outdoor musical drama” is a broadway-quality production put on outdoors in the middle of the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon. The show begins on a grand scale with the lone horseman on top of a 600 foot cliff in the distance, waving the Texas state flag, a burst of fireworks, the music starts and the rider gallops away. On the stage in front of us, the cast of more than 60 actors, singers and dancers launch into the story of the Texas panhandle … [ read more ]

PRACTICAL MATTERS: STAYING ORGANIZED ON THE ROAD (travel tips for a long road trip)

A six-week road trip is an amazing experience, but it also creates plenty of opportunities for total chaos. Staying organized during the journey was a challenge. Basically we were living out of the Jeep, carrying all our gear and just re-supplying perishables on stops along the route. We had to come up with a work-able solution to simply avoid being buried under our “stuff” while driving. And we needed to make sure we didn’t lose anything important along the way … [ read more ]

REFLECTIONS & OTHER THINGS: TEXAS, AN UNLIKELY SURPRISE (breaking stereotypes)

We knew Texas was different when we drove across the border. We couldn’t exactly say why, or even what was different. But something definitely was. It’s true that we had now crossed the conceptual line from “midwest” to “west,” which was evident by the changing landscape. But what we felt was something else. It was something in the spirit of the place. And not in the stereo-typical sense we might have imagined … [ read more ]

REFLECTIONS & OTHER THINGS: TEXAS COWBOYS AND CATTLE DRIVES (the classic cowboy story)

When the civil war ended, the price of beef was so low that it wasn’t worth the cost of getting cattle to market in the east. Even just rounding up the cattle for branding was expensive, so livestock was left to roam freely and herds multiplied, with growing numbers of unbranded animals known as “mavericks.” Once rail lines were extended to Kansas it became practical to drive cattle to the these new shipping points, and enterprising ranchers saw an opportunity … [ read more ]

REFLECTIONS & OTHER THINGS: GOODNIGHT (about Charles Goodnight)

The man most associated with Palo Duro canyon, Charles Goodnight, is a legendary figure in the Texas panhandle. Born in 1836, in Macoupin County, Illinois, Goodnight moved to Texas with his mother and stepfather when he was only ten years old. By age 20 he was working as a cowboy on the northwest Texas frontier … [ read more ]

THE GREAT OUTDOORS: DESTINATION: PALO DURO CANYON (Palo Duro Canyon state park)

Located about an hour’s drive from Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon is the most spectacular scenic landscape feature in the Panhandle of Texas. The canyon appears almost without warning, a jolting razor cut through the flat grasslands of the Llano Estacado or “Staked Plains.” Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon “Palo Duro” which is Spanish for “hard wood” in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees … [ read more ]

AMERICA THE BEAUTFUL: PORTFOLIO: PALO DURO CANYON (Photos of Palo Duro Canyon)

Palo Duro Canyon, just outside Amarillo, is a magnificent natural wonder. With awe-inspiring red cliffs, and bright banded layers of colors representing four different geologic periods spanning over 240 million years, its buttes and mesas define a rugged skyline. Exploring the trails nestled in between gullies and brush, we discover a surprising variety of plants and wildlife. And we even get to have some good old Texas fun at the park’s Pioneer Ampitheater, where each night in summer the “Texas” musical drama is performed with the canyon itself as the stage set … [ read more ]

TEXAS ROUTE 66 THINGS WE LIKE:
Devil’s Rope Museum, because it’s all about barbed wire…
Palo Duro Canyon, because it’s beautiful…
Texas, the Musical, a great show…
Cadillac Ranch, an adventure in public art…
The Midpont Cafe, the halfway point…

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