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2/26/23, Amarillo to Santa Fe

My correspondent from Walnut Creek, CA tells me that I actually did have my days right, so there you have it.

A couple of years back, Nat and I took a trip to west Texas and went to Big Bend in late August or early September. There were many many warnings about bringing enough water, sunscreen, etc. It was such overkill that we knew they were serious and it did affect the length we ventured as I'm sure we didn't' have hats, probably no sunscreen and maybe one small bottle of water between us. Later, when my friend from Texas came to visit me in Brookline, she brought me a copy of Death in Big Bend, stories about people who died in different and gory ways (happy to loan it out). One guy died hanging from a rope, he had been trying to rappel down into a canyon but didn't have quite enough rope and froze to death, and then a family in their minivan ran out of gas and baked to death.

When another friend and I did a roadie, oh, well, let's just say quite a few years ago, one of the places we stopped was at a canyon outside of Amarillo. We had a little picnic and the clouds were cotton balls and there was that beautiful green sagey stuff. Wanting to go back, I found my way to Palo Duro Canyon this morning. Because of the Big Bend book, I set off for the Lighthouse Trail, uncharacteristically with a backpack full of water, trail mix and layers. I admit to getting a bit bored of these severe weather alerts of one sort or another, I don't know how the locals put up with it, but had in mind that the severe wind being talked about may be a factor. And yes, many warnings about all sorts of things at every entrance. After I got to the summit, it started to get pretty gusty, so I hightailed it down, and didn finish all my water. This canyon is just so beautiful, taking photographs of it is like taking them of a sunset, doesn't work, can't convey. The two "lighthouses" have such sharp lines, they look like they're man made from afar.I was remembering car ads when I was a kid, the cars were always placed on columns of rock like that. How weird.

I was so excited to see an actual tumbleweed on the way out, when the wind started picking up! So cool, I thought. Little did I know that the wind would continue to pick up and that my car would be attacked by them and that by the end of the day, I'd see enough tumbleweeds to last me a lifetime. A dust storm followed in Hereford, Texas, beef capital of the world and my car was attacked by rocks so that it now looks like it was the victim of a drive by shooting. Long day.

But then, the mesas of New Mexico and a beautiful sunset that lasted for 45 minutes. And then, my friend's sister, so nice, so interesting, and such a cozy bed. Ahhh, staying still for a day.


  • Amarillo smells like horses, even downtown

  • What does it mean about a hotel if "room darkening curtains" are one of the selling points?

  • In Oklahoma, the signs on Route 40 say "Do not impede the left lane", love that

  • Love's is the place to stop on 40

  • Garth Brooks Boulevard

  • My room darkening hotel offers three free cocktails to each adult guest

Walking route from my hotel


Not worth it

Downtown Amarillo, 6pm on a Saturday evening

Active bus station, downtown Amarillo, 6pm on a Saturday

This ain't goin' nowhere

Mesquite Flats Ranch. This is what Amarillo looks like away from the big boxes

Bus stop, Palo Dur Canyon

This view, Palo Dur

The Lighthouses at Palo Dur

Putting the fear in me

Love this grass

The freaky dust storm makes it look all pretty and old-fashioned, but it was like a heavy Nor'easter but brown

But then there was this, Route 40 West near the exit to Santa Fe. The beginning of the 45 minute sunset.


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