I thought there would be more to see on Route 66 in Amarillo, and the surrounding area, so I booked us for a week at the RV Park — I was wrong!
Our first few days, we were pretty much stuck inside. First, high winds, then rain, then snow, then snow with high winds. It was three days before we could resume our Route 66 adventures. Three days of cold, wet, and high winds.
The winds eventually died down then the warmer weather came hitting 80 a few days later. It was hard to tell who was moodier at this point - Mother Nature or Me
On our first day on the Route, we did lunch at the Midpoint Cafe. It was…Nostalgic. The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Of course, like any other Route 66 traveler, we had to take our photo at the Mid Point Sign.
My favorite sites along Route 66 are old gas stations. Some of my best childhood memories were the summers I spent with my grandpa. He owned a Chevron in Sterling, Colorado, where I spent many a summer with him at the gas station. My main job, (probably to keep me out of trouble) was to keep the gas pumps clean. I had my rag and a bottle of Windex, and I took my job seriously. When customers would pull in, grandpa would greet them, fill their tanks, wash their windows, and send them on their merry way with a smile. Sometimes, I was allowed to help. I would clean the side view mirrors. I had access to all of the bubble gum I wanted and my little chair, where I often sat and just watched my grandpa work on cars. I treasure those times with him, and Route 66 is flooding me with memories of a time when life was so simple.
After lunch, we resumed our Route 66 drive and did the old and new of Route 66 through Amarillo. Sorry, but I was a bit disappointed. What remnants that remain are more than run-down the luster long forgotten. So many other states and towns are renovating their route 66, embracing their history, welcoming visitors, and inviting them to times past and times present, but Amarillo seems tired and forgotten. You can locate parts where they are trying. But, the draw, the magic — it just wasn’t there. At least not for me.
Oasis RV Resort was a nice RV park with big sites and clean. Over the week, I watched as RVers came in for the night, leaving early the next day for their next location. Amarillo was just a stopover, a place to rest the heads of weary travelers traversing the long miles across Texas. Another sign that Amarillo didn’t seem to have much to offer travelers.
We ventured off the Route and drove to Palo Duro Canyon for an afternoon. The Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the United States. The canyon is about 120 miles long and 20 miles wide and is up to 800 feet deep. We ventured down the canyon, stopped at the Trading Post for lunch, then met a fellow Airstreamer (Two Peas and the Pod) in one of the campgrounds. It was the most beautiful part of our week and worth the drive.
We waited until the snow melted before stopping at Cadillac Ranch. You hear about these places and you think, “I must go there, too,” this was one of those places. I expected more to it. I guess I expected them to make more of a big deal of this iconic place. But it’s just ten old Cadillacs buried in the ground. No monument, no fanfare, no parking lot. You park on the shoulder and walk in through a gate. There was a truck selling spray cans, a must for anyone planning on the full experience. Children were having a blast. What more could they want - mud to splash in, spraying cans of paint, and the freedom to deface property with full zeal.
We spent a week in Amarillo, a long week. Maybe it was the weather? Maybe it was my mood? Maybe it was the dreariness? Whatever the reason... Route 66 in Amarillo was just not as magical.
Now, time to move to New Mexico. May Route 66 in New Mexico be filled with Enchantment.
WTH TEXAS... It's Spring
There is always this discussion on twin beds vs queen, when it comes to an Airstream.
My vote — a QUEEN!!!
Last night, a blizzard hit Amarillo, Texas. Snow and 30 mph winds wreaked havoc all night long. I woke up around 4:00 am from the howling of the wind outside. I got up to use the restroom and found out our power went out sometime before then. Luckily, (I seem to be using that word a lot lately) we upgraded our batteries last year to AGM Lifelines and Tony added a Victron battery monitor so he could monitor our batteries with his phone. And, luckily (there is that word again), we have a queen bed so we could SNUGGLE!!!
Our furnace was running constantly at this point, we had it set to 61 when we went to bed, to keep us, and Betty Jo warm. But since the power was out and the furnace was running on battery power, we decided to turn it down and monitor the usage. At 4:00 am our battery power was at 95%, we turned down the furnace to 58 and I set our alarm to wake us up about every 45 minutes so we could check the batteries, and to make sure we had not frozen to death. By 5:00 am we were down to 91%. Then at 9:10 am were down to 87%.
Our fridge was drawing about 14 watts, luckily (again) it switched to propane. So the only items running on batteries were our fridge and the furnace.
By morning, the sun started peeking through the clouds and added a little juice to our batteries through the solar panels.
Thanks to our queen size bed and layers of blankets (and long sleeve shirts and socks) we snuggled together and stayed pretty toasty. Even, with the furnace set to 55, Betty Jo stayed fairly warm as well.
Dang... That's Cold
We were supposed to be Snowbirds this winter. Snowbirds actually head south to warmer climates, but like I said in my WTH was I thinking article... we are backwards snowbirds.
We experienced our first Ice Storm (winter storm Jasper) in our Airstream. She did beautifully, but it was a bit of a rough night listening to tiny ice pellets pelting away at her - all night long. I had dreams of ice building on her rooftop and scrunching it under the weight. My husband assured me she was fine, but I am a bit of a nervous Nellie when it comes to Betty Jo (the Airstream), my protective instincts go into hyperdrive.
We unhooked from city water before the temperatures dropped. We learned that lesson early on. When we bought Betty Jo in February of 2021. Our first weekend with her in an RV park we got hit by a snowstorm in Anacortes, WA. We received over a foot of snow in just under 24 hours. A friend told us to make sure we unhook from city water. A valuable piece of advice. This was a rare occurrence. Just one of many we were going to experience, including a heat dome in the Pacific Northwest.
That weekend was a test for us newbies and a test of our decision to start this lifestyle.
The February Snow Storm of 2021
We kept the heat up during the ice store, around 64 degrees during the night. Our trailer is ducted, much like a home, and our tanks and pipes are enclosed underneath. The ducting runs through that area so when the furnace runs it warms up her underbelly - keeping everything toasty.
We woke up to her creaking and crackling as the weather started to warm up. Chunks of ice melting from her skin. I went out to check on her to find most of her was unharmed and only small chunks of ice gathered on her passenger side. Our truck, however, was caked in a thick layer of ice. And, so was Pink (the flamingo.)
The weather is warming up now and most of the ice has thawed and dripped from the surfaces of all involved. The gulls are out enjoying the lull in weather and flying over head. Waves from the Atlantic Ocean are gently rolling to shore. Life is returning to a warmer normal.
Betty Jo (the Airstream) weathered the storm beautifully and is as resilient as her namesake.
The weather this year has not been NORMAL! You can not always PLAN for it. This was a rare occurrence, normally it is in the mid-50s and upper 30s at night in this area. Many tell us, well you can just go south again, but the reality is you cannot always just pack up and MOVE. There are many factors at play. Sure, we have the ability to move, but sometimes it is safer and better to ride out a storm then to try to outrun it.
As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo