Day 5.1: This

This

 As beautiful as the “corn” states, and Red Rock Canyon were, this is why I take the big trips in the summer. I had been following what remains of Route 66, parallel to I-40, took a wrong turn (leading to a dirt road section), made a U-turn. As I turned, i heard the relative quiet, took a moment to slow down, and realized I had finally got “there”. Texas was made for Vistavision,  I walked up the hill and took this shot. Some might have been mad at making a wrong turn (and I made others that dsy). Sometimes wrong turns lead to great things.

But as I said earlier, when I had no Internet service, I started my day in Red Rock Canyon State Park, in Oklahoma. Driving through a dark sea of frogs and rain, The sun rose, and I eventually made my way to Texas.

  
This is one of my most favorite yet most complicated stretches of Route 66. Mother road history is everywhere.

  
One of my favorite spots when I did this trip in a car in 2004 was the Devil’s Rope Museum, and it still does not disappoint. It’s at the heart of McLean Texas,  where you can easily get a flavor for old Route 66.
   

  It’s not a fancy museum. I don’t think there are any video screens, or avante garde art installations. But it does an amazingly thorough job of explaining everything you ever wanted to know about Barbwire.  And more. Anyone doing their doctorate on the history of Barbwire at Arkansas State, would do well to spend a few weeks here.

  
The history of the pioneers, barbed wire biproducts, barbed wire art, barbed wire windmills and crosses… It has it all.

  
It also has a very sweet route 66 museum, better than most I’ve seen on this trip, tucked into a corner but worth the time to visit. 

  
Just a few blocks up is one of the best Phillips 66 stations on all of Route 66.

  
After I took the picture at the top of this post, driving what remains of Route 66 required me to become an amphibious vehicle.

  
There were warnings about water on the road, and I asked a Texas DOT worker stopped in a truck just how deep it was. He said just 3 inches, so I decided to plow through. The prairies were soaked to the bone, and most Fields were newly formed lakes. Look in my rearview mirror in the video below, and see how deep you think it is.

Don’t worry, my truck sits up high, as does the trailer. Then the underside of airstreams are lined with aluminum. At no point did the trailer float. 

I thought I might camp south of Amarillo Texas, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a hearty meal at the Big Texan.

  
I wasn’t really up to the 72 ounce steak challenge, but I did with my battle with an 8 ounce sirloin. If you did take the challenge, here’s the table, 60 minute timer, and just under the table or buckets “just in case”.

  
I had read about Palo Duro Canyon State Park south of Amarillo so I headed there to camp for the night.

  
As with every destination so far on this trip rain had been an issue. All trails were closed. Some of the campgrounds have been flooded. But lucky for me, that meant people had canceled, and I plunk down my $29 for a prime spot.

  
This is the second largest canyon in the US. It’s not as deep, and quite as dramatic as the Grand Canyon, but it’s pretty impressive.  

 And I am always a sucker for a good diorama in a visitor center.

  
At the bottom of the canyon are number of campgrounds, in my spot was at the end of the road at one called Mesquite.

 
   
All of the rain has made both the Panhandle, and this park greener than I’ve ever seen this area. Wildflowers were everywhere, and the water and intensity to the orange color everywhere.

     

  
It also brought out some interesting wildlife. I saw a number of these:

  
And one of these the size of a child’s fist.  

Of course there was rain lightning and thunder much of the night, but we awoke to a beautiful sunrise.
  The rain has made it an orange soupy mess, and keeping it out of the trailer was becoming more and more difficult.

   

Headed out of the campground early, a cross roads were flooding was so common, they had signs like this. Numbered. Because there are lots of them.  Goodbye beautiful canyon and hello to Roswell, NM – and possibly White Sands.

   

2 thoughts on “Day 5.1: This

  1. Very nice! Now I understand why you kept pressing on through Texas. (It rained here yesterday and overnight, so whatever rain mojo you have seems to be working. A drought-stricken state thanks you.)

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