Route 66 continued: Deep in the heart of Texas! (Panhandle, that is)

Historic Texas Route 66 Sign

12/5/2020 Texas

OMG! I actually made it to Texas! It took most of the day of driving out of Oklahoma to stop and go and it was late afternoon when I headed toward the Lone Star State. I was tired and had a little headache from being on the road all day, but wanted to hit a couple of stops before going to Amarillo. Though I just traveled through the panhandle, the drive was a great example of Route 66 and a little taste of Texas!

12/5 My first stop was Shamrock, TX to visit the U-Drop Inn Cafe, which is now a visitor center. This building is a beautiful display of 1930’s architecture and had a cool Art Deco vibe. This used to be a gas station and cafe and is in original condition, complete with an old pick up truck and a row of Tesla charging stations in the back. Pretty cool! The sad part was that the town seemed deserted and driving down some of the side roads reminded me of an abandoned town. So sad…

12/6 Palo Duro Canyon – Why is it cold in Texas?? I thought it would warm up a bit and found out that because of the altitude (~3500 ft.) Amarillo gets all 4 seasons. Argh! At least I’m prepared for the cold again. It’s hard to go hiking in the cold, but I am going to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is the 2nd largest canyon in the US. This is a must visit for campers! Great campsites with shelters and flush toilets! I don’t know the name of this bird, but there was a small flock that hung around the campsite. I also saw my very first road runner! Nice trails, too.

I checked in to a KOA in Amarillo and was told that there was a shuttle to the local restaurant, the Big Texan. I had to check it out and decided to treat myself to a Texas steak. The “shuttle”, a large black limo with huge horns attached to the front came right to my camp site to take me to the restaurant. Impressive! I ordered the smallest steak they offered, which was a kiddie meal and had a glass of wine. Worked for me! The “shuttle” took me back to my campsite and I slept to the sound of the Santa Fe Railroad.

Amarillo, TX is a neat city. I played tourist in the business district off Rt. 66 and checked out the architecture, old and new. There was a bank building that I couldn’t keep my eyes off and took a lot of pictures, mostly abstract. I visited the Santa Fe Harvey House, Paramount Theatre that was along the 6th Street Historic District. The Greyhound and Amtrak Station was really cool, too, but I didn’t stick around there too long for obvious reasons.

12/7 Cadillac Ranch – OMG! What a crazy place! This is an old art installation of a dozen or so Cadillac that have had the hell spray painted out of them! There were cans littered all over the place and was the messiest art installation I’ve ever seen. If you can get past that, the Cadillacs are imbedded about half way into the ground and is pretty fascinating. Beware of peddlers! It’s illegal.

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