Saturday, June 18, 2011

Texas... the other FLAT state!

On Tuesday, June 14th, we drove into Texas.  Our drive through Texas was just as flat and barren as our drive through Oklahoma.  Hours and hours of F-L-A-T!  With no hills or trees (or anything else for that matter) to block your view, you could see for miles.  Ashlee decided to doze a bit to pass the time in the car, and she said, "Wake me up if you see anything interesting."  Emilee replied, "Like a hill!"  We stopped for a picnic lunch at a rest area and did see a couple of interesting signs.  Two things you wouldn't think to look for at a North Carolina rest area... rattlesnakes and tornados.

Ashlee ran right up to the sign for a fun photo opp!
The sign says, "Danger - Rattlesnakes."
You'll notice that Emilee isn't anywhere in sight!

It seems that the rest area doubles as a tornado shelter!
After checking into our hotel, we drove on down to Palo Duro Canyon.  When we got there, the ranger at the gate told us there was some "drama" unfolding just past the gate in case we wanted to watch.  Seems they had a really, really, really old Longhorn named "Gravy" that they were trying to load up into a trailer to "take home to pasture" to live out his last days.  And he did NOT want to go.  You can see in the picture that they were trying to lure him into a fenced in area that they were actually building around him as he got closer to the trailer.  However, as they would drag a piece of fencing out of the trailer to walk it around behind him to attach to the next piece of fence, he would turn around and walk back out through the opening.  There were several other Longhorns nearby, and we couldn't figure out how they knew not to be lured by the food - they weren't going anywhere near that trailer.  Gravy was the only one taking the bait.  He eventually would walk back to the food getting closer and closer to the trailer.  I guess he was thinking what I usually think when I'm hungry... "I'll do anything for food!"  The cool thing is that when we went to the gift shop down in the Canyon, the girls found a postcard with Gravy's picture on it that they just had to have. 
Gravy, the Longhorn stopped eating long enough to pose for the camera.
After the gift shop stop, Ashlee wanted to take a hike on one of the trails.  Unfortunately, it was 106 degrees, and there were absolutely no shade trees... full open sun in the hot dry desert canyon is not my idea of fun.  Fortunately for me, it wasn't anybody else's idea of fun either.  We did, however, find a short hike up into an area with a small cave-like opening (see photo below).  There was shade involved, so off we went.

It was 106 degrees in the Canyon, so we took a short 1/2 mile hike.
You'll notice that we're headed for shade...
the only shade we saw in the whole canyon.
When we finished up at the Canyon, we headed back towards Amarillo.  While researching for the trip a few months ago I ran across a fun website (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/).  It's a guide to odd tourist sites.  I found one that just happened to be in Amarillo right off of the interstate called Cadillac Ranch.  It was built by a bunch of art hippies and funded by a billionaire who wanted a piece of public art that would "baffle the locals."  They came up with Cadillac Ranch - 10 old Cadillacs driven out in the middle of the billionaire's field, then half buried nose down in the dirt (all supposedly tipped at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza... according to the website).  One of the most bizarre and pointless things I have ever seen but, of course, we couldn't help ourselves.  We pulled over on the side of Route 66 and trudged out into the field with a bunch of other people.  The crazy thing is that there were probably more people looking at Cadillac Ranch than there were in Palo Duro Canyon.  The cars are in pretty bad shape after years of being spray-painted, which evidently is encouraged.  The girls had to get in on the action too... thus, the photos below.  And, no, we didn't take spray-paint with us (I'm not that much of a redneck!).  There were paint cans littering the ground everywhere, so they found a couple that had a tiny bit of paint left in them, and they went to town.  Quirky... but I bet they'll remember spray-painting grafitti on a car just as much as they will remember "Gravy the Longhorn."  Then it was back to the car for a super huge handful of antibacterial hand wash!
My little rebels spray-painting graffiti
on an old Cadillac at Cadillac Ranch. 

Cadillac Ranch - one of the strangest things I've ever seen!
 We then were off to find a cowboy boot store for Ashlee's souvenir.  She has been dying for a pair of cowboy boots and decided to wait until we got to Texas to get a pair of authentic boots!  After an hour of trying to decide which ones to buy, she decided on a cute two-tone brown and dark rose colored pair.  I don't have a picture to post of her boots yet... even though she wore them around all night at the hotel, she was wearing her pajamas at the time, and I didn't think she'd let me post that picture.  However, here are a couple of snapshots of the girls at the boot store.  Emilee decided she's going to look for a sombrero for her souvenir!  :-)
Ashlee's souvenir... authentic Texas cowboy boots!
She had a hard time deciding which ones to buy.

If I had to pick any boot in the entire store that Emilee would go for,
this would have been my choice.

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