Featured

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

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  • Website link: Palo Duro Canyon State Park
  • Cost: $8.00 per day per adult – free for children 12 and under
  • Tent and RV camping, cabins – various fees
  • Hiking on trails and backcountry, biking, backpacking, seasonal horseback riding stable or bring your own horse – equestrian campground available
  • Visitor center/museum
  • Nature interpretive center
  • Trading post with gasoline, fast food, groceries
  • Large group/event pavillions
  • Summer musical “Texas” in the amphitheater and catered dinner available
  • Wildlife watching/birding
  • Additional accommodations/restaurants in Canyon, Texas and Amarillo, Texas (see our Amarillo post)
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View from the CCC Overlook near the visitor center. One of the red “Spanish Skirts” is seen at the center of the photo.

Our favorite place to camp, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the crown jewel of the Texas park system. That’s our opinion, anyway. The canyon is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it is the second largest canyon in the US. The name Palo Duro comes from the Spanish phrase meaning “hard wood”. The park is located about 30 minutes south and east of Amarillo, Texas. IMG_5244 (1)The sun was in the right place at the right time for this shot. That usually doesn’t happen for us – we just got lucky this time. No filters. Look at those spectacular colors!

Highlights…

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Can you see him? Well camouflaged, he blends in with his surroundings. The Longhorn Pasture is next to the park entrance.
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El Coronado Lodge. Built in the mid-1930s by the CCC, the lodge now serves as the visitor center and museum. Three CCC-built cabins on the rim of the canyon, just west of the visitor center, can accommodate four people each and can be reserved through the Texas State Parks website.
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This fireplace is all that remains of the CCC camp recreation hall which served as a place for the men to socialize and relax after a hard day’s work.

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The summer musical “Texas” has been performed at the Pioneer Amphitheatre since 1966! The production features outstanding music, singing, dancing, and special effects, all while telling the story of ranching in the Texas Panhandle in the late 1800s. “Texas” is a treat for the entire family. Tickets can be ordered online.

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The cave is a popular destination for those who are brave enough to climb the rocks up to it.

Hiking Palo Duro…

Lighthouse Trail, the most popular hike in the park, is just under six miles round trip, and it’s our favorite! Below are some scenes from Lighthouse Trail.

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Interesting geology
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The Lighthouse
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Capital Peak from Lighthouse Trail. We love the hoodoo at the far left side of the picture.
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Rojo Grande Trail – moderate, although we thought it was easy. About 2.5 miles round trip.
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Kiowa Trail. Easy, peaceful, pretty. About 1.4 miles one way.

Palo Duro has many miles of trails with varying levels of difficulty. Some trails are multi-use, some are for hiking only, and some are for biking only. Mountain biking is very popular in this park. Check the website for all trail details.

Wildlife…

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These deer were about 50 feet from our campsite.
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Looking for love in all the wrong places. Apparently he was hoping for a date, but she totally ignored him.
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Roadrunner

Campgrounds and cabins…

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One of the campsites at the picturesque Mesquite campground.
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Sagebrush campground. This is our favorite campground, and it is within walking distance of the Pioneer Amphitheatre. (How about those dumpsters?) Okay, ignore the much-appreciated dumpsters and check out the gorgeous scenery!
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Cow Camp Cabins. Yep, you guessed it…these were built by the CCC, too.

Palo Duro Canyon has several campgrounds for tent and RV camping, day use areas, and an equestrian campground. This park is also pet friendly, but pets must be kept on a leash and are not allowed in the park buildings. See the website for details and reservation information.

Cool stuff nearby…

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West Texas A&M University wind turbine. It is the tallest (653.5 feet from the ground to the tip of its most upright blade) wind turbine in the US. Located east of Canyon, Texas, south of Texas Highway 217 off of Osage Road. It’s hard to miss this behemoth on the way to the park!

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Charles A. Smith sculpture about a half mile west of the park entrance. These arrows mark trails all over West Texas.
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Tex Randall – 1400 N 3rd Avenue, Canyon, Texas.

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Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum – 2401 4th Avenue, Canyon Texas. This is one of the best museums we have visited. Exhibits include Texas oil production, ranching, art, and paleontology, just to name a few. A visit to this museum is well worth the time and entry fee.
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T-Anchor Ranch Headquarters at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Its Texas Historical Commission marker is below.

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Parting shots…

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Another pretty scene in the park.
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Old barn, silos, and attached living quarters (?) found on FM 1541 east of the city of Canyon.
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Randall County Courthouse – centerpiece of the delightful town square in Canyon, Texas
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Meandering river – Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River – on an overcast day in the park
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Another amorous Tom

Well, that covers our overview of Palo Duro Canyon State Park, folks. Please join us next time for another great road trip, and become a follower so you never miss a post!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

RV Tips and Tricks: Things We Can’t Live Without

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When we bought our travel trailer, we decided that in order to get the most use out of it we would implement what we call “minimal trip prep”. Minimal trip prep for us meant outfitting the trailer with everything we needed so we wouldn’t have to pack or unpack every time we went camping. Now, with the RV completely outfitted, all we have to do is throw a few clothes in the closet, round up our food, and hit the road. Hopefully, by seeing how we roll, you will be able to do the same!

Everyone needs the inevitable sewer hose, water hoses and filters, electrical paraphernalia, grill, chairs, etc., etc., etc. We enjoy having a few convenience items when we camp, whether it’s simply an indulgence or a time or space saver. In random order, here are some of the things we don’t camp without:

Picnic caddy. This is so handy for indoor and outdoor use. We use this to store our napkins, paper plates, paper bowls, plastic ware, and our salt and pepper shakers. It frees valuable cabinet and drawer storage space and is easy to carry right outside to the picnic table. While there are many similar models out there, this is a very nice model sold by Amazon. (We also like having pop-up mesh food covers when serving and eating outside.)

Headlamp and good flashlights. Okay, headlamps don’t look very cool, but man are they great when you need both hands free. We can’t count the times we’ve had to set up camp in the dark, and let’s face it, most parks are very dark! Good lights are a great investment and a necessary safety tool. As for flashlights we like the smaller tactical grade type.

Cordless vacuum. This one might be a budget buster, but hear us out. The Deik Cordless Vacuum, purchased from Amazon, is the one we use at home, and we take it with us when we go camping. It is lightweight, takes up very little room – we store it behind the little trash can in our bathroom – and it’s rechargeable. The best part is that the top part comes off and becomes a hand held mini vac. For such a small vacuum, this thing picks up just about everything. How many times have you stepped barefoot on one of those tiny pieces of gravel that got tracked into your camper? This little vacuum works on vinyl and wood floors, and carpet, too. LOVE IT! By the way, we aren’t getting paid for our recommendations, so this is not an ad, and we never recommend anything that we don’t use ourselves. Jeff Bezos, you’re getting a lot of free advertising, buddy.

Sound machine and ear plugs. Yes, we’re talking about the same kind of sound machine used in babies’ nurseries to soothe them to sleep. Ours has settings for several different sounds, such as waterfall, ocean waves, rain, etc., and it runs on electric power or batteries. Have you ever tried to sleep while parked near a busy highway, or at a truck stop, or even a Walmart? If you have, then you know what we’re talking about. A sound machine will help drown out the background noise so you get a better nights sleep. As a side note, we will admit that we sometimes use ear plugs, too.

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Weather radio. We live in Tornado Alley, and our weather can sometimes be pretty scary. Our weather radio runs on electricity or batteries and is just one more safety precaution for our travel trailer. Heavy rain and hail pounding your camper in the dark and not knowing what to expect does not make for happy campers.

Battery operated flameless candles. These are great for inside and outside. If you don’t have a campfire, a few of these sitting around will certainly give the campsite some ambiance. We use them on every camping trip. Beware these will melt if stored in a hot place.

Body wipes. We admit that we don’t always shower every day when we’re camping. Shocking, we know! Anyway, we love the convenience of using body wipes for a quick sponge bath. Our favorite are these Epic Wipes that we purchased from – you guessed it – Amazon. While they are not inexpensive, they are almost as large as a bath towel and are very refreshing. These are also great to use after hiking or being in the lake or to wipe down grubby kiddos.

Britta water pitcher. The one we use for the camper is a 5-cup pitcher. We drink a lot of water, and with the Britta pitcher, we can refill water bottles with filtered water and not have to carry so many bottles, which just adds to our towing weight. The pitcher we have is shown here, and it fits in the bottom shelf of our refrigerator door.

Flag and flagpole. Yep, we are proud Americans, and we like to fly our colors. We have an American flag and a couple of others. Our FlagPole Buddy brand pole, which we purchased from RV Upgrades, is a 16′ telescoping fiberglass pole that attaches the ladder on the back of our trailer. It can be seen (sort of) in the picture at the top of the page. We also have a garden flag stand with an American flag and an assortment of seasonal and decorative flags that we sometimes use to pretty up our campsite.

Inflatable ottoman. Like the one shown here from Amazon. These are also available from Bed, Bath & Beyond and catalogs. Most cost around $25.00 and come with a pump for easy inflation. There are tons of colors and patterns to choose from, and the covers zip off for washing. Dirt and grass does not stick to them so they’re great to use outside.

Space heater. Camping during colder weather prompted us to include a space heater on our “can’t live without” list. Ours is small enough that we can store it in one of the cabinets above the dinette, but it’s powerful enough to heat our 26′ trailer. Using the space heater instead of the furnace saves on propane, too.

Extra set of sheets. We thoroughly clean our camper before we leave a campground to go home, and that includes changing the sheets on the bed. With two sets of sheets, we can rotate them as we camp, and we have clean bedding for every trip. (We also keep pillows and a few extra blankets in our camper.)

That’s going to do it for our things we can’t live without. This is a constantly evolving list, so we will update you when we find more awesome items. Leave us a comment and let us know what you can’t live without. Thank you for stopping by, and we hope you will come back again for another great tip, trick, or trip.

Happy camping, y’all!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true products, vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own. Photo copyright infringement is not intended. Our written content and photos are copyrighted, and may not be published without our permission.

©2019

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Twin windmills near Post, Texas

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First stop: The Flume

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Where in the world is it?

The historic Carlsbad Irrigation Flume, known locally as The Flume, is located in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It’s an aquaduct that diverts water from the Pecos River to an irrigation canal. The Pecos River was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records because The Flume caused it to be the only river in the world that actually crossed itself.

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Looking down the irrigation canal toward The Flume

For more information about Carlsbad, New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, click this link to our post: Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Second stop: Throckmorton, Texas

Where in the world is it?

Throckmorton is located 111 miles west of Fort Worth at the intersections of US Highways 380 and 183/283. It is the county seat of Throckmorton County. The Great Western Cattle Trail passed through here during the nineteen years it was in use from 1874 to 1893. Trivia: Dallas Cowboys great, Bob Lilly, once lived in Throckmorton.

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The Throckmorton County courthouse was built in 1890 and in 1978 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored to its original state in 2014, the courthouse is also a Texas Historic Landmark. The population of the county was a whopping 124 when this courthouse was originally constructed.
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This is the original Throckmorton County jail, built in 1893. The sheriff’s offices were on the first floor, and the prisoner cells were on the second floor. The old jailhouse now serves as a museum.
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This metal sculpture of a pioneer woman is located in a tiny park area next to the Throckmorton City Hall. Check out that huge prickly pear!

It’s a fact, Jack!

Twenty-six miles southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico lies the only WIPP in the country. What in the world is a WIPP, you ask? Well, it is a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. It is a repository for defense-generated waste, including clothing and tools among other things, that have been contaminated with or contain man-made radioactive materials and other elements such as plutonium. This type of waste is called Transuranic or TRU for short. The plant opened in 1999, and now our country’s radioactive nuclear waste is being buried almost a half mile (2,150 feet) underground in an ancient salt bed in the desert of eastern New Mexico. The plant is operated by the Department of Defense and with 1,200 employees is one of the largest employers in New Mexico. And now you know…

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019