The Panhandle is my favorite part of Texas. I guess it's because my wife and I grew up there. We both graduated from Pampa High School (about 50 miles East of Amarillo) and were married in Pampa.
I love the seasons there.COLD in the winter and HOT in the summer as nature intended.
Amarillo is the center of the Texas Panhandle, part of the Great Plains. Today the city is the crossing point of Interstate 40 and Interstate 27. The name of the city derives from the yellow sub-soil in the area and the yellow flowers blooming everywhere. Amarillo means "yellow" in Spanish.
The city is the largest in the Panhandle with over 150,000 hearty souls.
Hey folks! How about a brunch before we continue? I never tried this place when I lived in the area but I hear it's Good Eatin'.
The Big Texan
Think Amarillo and you think steak. No place sums up Texas, Amarillo and steak better than the Big Texan Steak Ranch & Opry, home of the 72 oz. steak. Eat it and all the trimmings (salad, bread, potato and shrimp cocktail) in an hour and its free! 35,000 have tried; 5,500 have succeeded. Marcy I know the steak isn't ribs but I bet everyone can get their tummy full.
For what reason known only to this rancher has buried several Cadillacs face down on his property. It definately is a topic of conversation.
Pantex Plant was originally constructed as a conventional bomb plant for the U.S. Army during the early days of World War II. It is just East of Amarillo.
I remember passing by Pantex many times while I lived in the panhandle. It is the United States only nuclear arms assembly and dis-assembly facility.
It went from Chicago to Los Angeles. You can only drive parts of Route 66 these days... it has been replaced by the interstate highways I-55, I-44, I-40, I-15 and I-10, but still a surprisingly high amount of old road is waiting to be found by the more adventurous traveler. Route 66 is also know as "The Mother Road", "The Main Street of America" and as "The Will Rogers Highway".
Overnight lodging places such as this were found all along "66". In those days they were commonly called "Tourist Courts". Notice the concrete teepees. This helped draw attention to the "Wild West". Many of these courts, gas stations and cafes still can be found but mostly all abandoned. All living reminders of a bygone era~
Believe it or not
there is water to be enjoyed
in the Panhandle.
Contrasting spectacularly with its surroundings, Lake Meredith lies on the dry and windswept High Plains of the Texas Panhandle in a region known as Llano Estacado, or Staked Plain. Lake Meredith was created by Sanford Dam on the Canadian River and now fills many breaks whose walls are crowned with white limestone caprock, scenic buttes, pinnacles, and red-brown, wind-eroded coves. Above lies the mesquite, prickly pear, yucca, and grasses of arid plains. And up the sheltered creek beds stand cottonwoods, soapberry, and sandbar willows. I have fished in the lake a lot of times and caught some nice walleye pikes.
Scenes such as this one are still to be found all over Texas.
Just a few years ago there were thousands of jackrabbits inhabiting Texas but as the years passed their numbers are few due to hunting and pesticides.
Another beautiful scene.
If you are very lucky you might spot a longhorn. Not many of these big guys left now.
Let's hop in the Chevy and go just South of Amarillo and see Palo Duro State Park.
Palo Duro Canyon
The Grand Canyon Of Texas
Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. However, an American did not officially discover the canyon until 1852 when Captain Marcy ventured into the area while searching for the headwaters of the Red River.
A pretty view of The Lighthouse
In 1874, Palo Duro Canyon was a battle site during the Red River Wars. Col. Mackenzie, under orders from the US Government, apprehended the Native Americans residing in the canyon by first capturing 1,400 horses and then later destroying the majority of the herd. Unable to escape, the Native Americans surrendered and were transported to reservations in Oklahoma. Then, from 1876 until 1890, most of the canyon belonged to the J.A. Ranch and was operated by Col. Charles Goodnight. The picture is that of a replica of Goodnight's dugout. I have been in it and believe me it left something to be desired.
Let's rest up a while and head on into West Texas.