The entire month of March we were camped near or along lakes and/or oceans where the daytime high was an average of 33C and nighttime of 18C. Heading north up towards Amarillo area meant that we were going to climb in altitude, so day and night temps were changing– I know it was bound to happen, but I wasn’t ready! As we were planning the last few weeks of our amazing Texas tour, we realized that if we didn’t book spots at the most sought-after campgrounds in Texas, we wouldn’t get to see them. So we booked 2 days each at Caprock Canyon and Palo Duro Canyon state parks. These are two different campgrounds located in the second largest canyon in North America (aside from the Grand). Both places did not disappoint in their beauty – although we could have used a bit less wind than what mother nature gave us!
Caprock was unique because we went there first and on the way to the park, they have a bike path system built on old railway lines and if you biked 5 miles south, you could ride through a set of tunnels. You could also do this at sunset and watch bats come out of the cave. We opted to not do the sunset because riding 5 miles back in the dark didn’t sound like a good time. We attempted to go during on our last day, but the winds in that area are unreal – the 5 miles there would have been a breeze, the 5 miles back would have been torture as wind was blowing at 40MPH. Unfortunately, we didn’t ride our bikes at all at Caprock, but we did a gorgeous 7-mile hike through a herd of wild bison, a lot of red rock to a fern cave, along the ridge, and back down. 4 hours later, we were exhausted!
Just like the drive to Caprock, the drive to Palo Duro was very windy – of course we were head on into the wind – its not easy driving a Texas size loaf of bread into the wind, but Todd is an amazing bus driver! The decent into the canyon was interesting drive down a 10% grade hill…..Palo duro grade down and up This may not look to exciting, but it was kind of a crazy situation!
This canyon had a lot more options for bike riding on the pathway systems, so we opted for bike riding more than hiking through this beautiful canyon! Here is a video of me mastering the single track (in my mind i was ALOT faster than how it appears in the video!) Single track bike riding
There aren’t wild bison at this park, but they do have wild Turkeys and Porcupines. A few days of biking here and we became single track pro’s! We were sad to leave this beautiful area, but there was only 2 days available when we booked it. Will be back here one day!
Spent two days boondocking with a bunch of semi-trucks on the street in Amarillo, waiting for our next campsite to become available. There were just enough things to see in Amarillo to keep us occupied for 2 days like:
- Cadillac ranch/combine ranch/VW ranch
- Route 66 historic district
- Motor-cross flat-track races
- Big Texan Steak Ranch
- BBQ at Shi-Lee’s BBQ & Soul food
- RV Museum (which wasn’t actually open the 2 days we were there, but I will need to go back someday – this place looked really cool!)
Amarillo was the epitome of a cowboy, farming, agricultural, oil and gas city! It was evident by the stores, people, cars, clothing, events, etc that this was a farming city. Leading up to the city we noticed a strange looking crop and it turned out to be cotton; we had never seen a cotton field before. This city surprised us. Aside from the Cadillac ranch and Combine ranch and VW ranch, we had no idea that route 66 was in Amarillo! We randomly googled activities here and wouldn’t you know it, flat track motor cross races were scheduled for Sunday. Although Todd was excited, I thought it might be boring…but NO! This was actually fun. There were various race categories (beginner, novice, pro, hooligan) and contestants from 4 years old to 76 years old riding everything you can imagine from a 1947 Harley (with no breaks or suspension), Indian Motorcycle, BMW, Honda and Yamaha bikes old and new. It was a fun time!
Filled up our fridge with enough food to get us through the next 4 days – next stop Lake Meredith! We have discovered through this trek of the canyon lands that wind is insanely strong here! A few times we hunkered down inside Ruby thinking oh the wind will subside, but NO it doesn’t, you just have to carry on with the wind. We had a lovely spot above the lake for 3 days. Met a great couple (Terry & Becky) from Anchorage the first night (we saw them at Lake Corpus Christie, but didn’t introduce ourselves until now) and invited them over for a propane firepit. They were headed back home slowly…safe travels to them! Its great to have an Anchorage connection for future travels. On day 2 though winds were gusting to 65 MPH and the bus was rocking! It was crazy!
We haven’t been able to have wood fire’s at the campgrounds for weeks due to dry / drought conditions and we have quite a bit of mesquite in the back of the car waiting to be used….I’m going to miss the smell of real mesquite. Since were in the Texas Panhandle, our next destination will be outside of Texas; so sad to be leaving this lovely state.