Monday, June 4, 2012

Amarillo - home of the Big Texan and the Palo Duro Canyon

We arrived in Amarillo, Texas after a great stay in Oklahoma City. We set up camp at the Amarillo RV Ranch, which worked out well with good connections and wide sites. 

 Of course, we had to have a great lunch at the Big Texan Steakhouse, which was just down the road from the RV Park. The Big Texan is well known for excellent beef and BBQ.

 Of course, everything in Texas is BIG! Along those lines, the Big Texan offers a FREE steak dinner -- provided you eat ALL of the 72 ounce steak, salad, appetizer, etc. in 60 minutes. We decided to simply share a wonderful ribeye steak instead.

 The Big Texan will even come to pick you up in these spiffy limos! We saw these cruising into the RV park to pick up patrons.

 Located about 30 minutes south of Amarillo, is the Palo Duro Canyon, which is claimed to be the second largest canyon in the United States (measured by the length of the canyon) and is 120 miles long (the largest is the Grand Canyon at 277 miles long).

 Palo Duro Canyon is a remarkable change from the flat terrain of the panhandle of Texas. Indeed, we were amazed at the 800 foot deep canyon as we drove into the park. We learned that in the late 1800's the canyon was the site of the famous JA Ranch, which at its peak size, owned 1.3 million acres of land and ran over 100,000 head of cattle. Now even in Texas, that must be a BIG ranch!

At the Visitor Center, we could see for miles over the canyon. The Visitor Center and many of the roads were built by the CCC in the early 1930's and now it is easy to take a 16 mile drive through the canyon. 

The temperatures were in the high 80's in Amarillo and about 90 at the top of the canyon, however, as we drove down into the canyon, the temperature soared to well over 100 as you can see here. We were really glad the air conditioning in the Buick was working well.

Even though the temperatures are high (and this is early June!), there are many plants int he canyon. One that caught our eye is this cactus-type plant with these beautiful blooms. However, look at those thorns!

There was a stream that meanders through the bottom of the canyon, and not surprisingly in these dry times, the stream was at a very low level. As a result, instead of building bridges over the stream, there was just a paved place to ford the stream called a "Water Crossing".

 However, not ALL the crossings were dry! When we got to crossing six, we found LOTS of water still on the road. Rick decided to turn around rather than see if the Buick would float. Interestingly, we found a sign indicating that the highest water ever recorded at this site was 25' higher than it is now! this would have filled most of the canyon with water!


Camping said...

Hey Nice post. I am learning fast about RV things these days. I want to know are caravan park and RV park are the same thing? If not, what is the difference between both of them?

squawmama said...

What a great place to visit ~ I have wanted to go to the BIG Texan forever and we never seem to make It... You have reminded me again that I want to go there! Glad you're having fun!

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

We enjoyed the Big Texan and even watched three people try to eat the big steak dinner.

Did not even know we were that close to the canyon, now we will have to go back:)

I enjoy reading your blog but that robot word verification is making me nuts:)

Rick and Orinda said...

in all our travels, I have not seen the title Caravan Park, but believe that these would mean the same thing. In the USA, I believe you will see the RV Park designation.

Rick and Orinda said...

I will try to see if I can take that verification measure off -- I suspect it is a Google default.