Posts Tagged ‘Amarillo’

 “We always had Packards, until the war, when they stopped making them; then we had a Cadillac.” June Carter Cash

From the front -- Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures With Pepper

You can’t visit Amarillo and not take a little detour off of Interstate 40 to Cadillac Ranch. It just wouldn’t be, well Texan.

It’s not exactly a ranch, just a large field minus the cows. There’s not even a ranch house, just 10 half-buried old Cadillacs with psychedelic paint jobs, courtesy of whomever visits with a spray paint can. The color décor is constantly changing.

The Cadillacs are what Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh, who planted them back in 1973, calls an art installation.

And from the rear -- Photo by Pat Bean

I like it. It’s fun art. And the installation tells a story, part of which is the heydays of automobiles and Historical Route 66, which Interstate 40 replaced.

Back in the 1970s, I briefly owned an old Cadillac. It was a 1965 model if I recall correctly. I needed a car and back then, when the cost of gas started escalating, the Cadillac was the cheapest thing on the lot.

That old Cadillac was smooth running, but a big old gas guzzler and quite expensive to repair. It wasn’t long before the Cadillac was replaced with a used VW Bug, which cost more but was cheaper in the long run. .

According to Wikipedia, the eccentric millionaire Stanley probably paid only about $200 for each of his Cadillacs, which he picked up at junkyards before giving them a half-butted burial.

You just gotta love Texans.

Bean’s Pat: 400 Days ’til 40 http://tinurl/7fvkjjn You are never too old to live your dreams

Read Full Post »


Vernon, Texas, sunrise -- Photo by Pat bean


 “To the dull mind nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with Light.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Travels With Maggie

 The 304 miles I drove this day – from Clayton, New Mexico to Vernon, Texas – took me through cattle, oil and agriculture lands with only a few small aging towns scattered between. The exception was Amarillo, but I skirted around this large “Yellow Rose of Texas” city, so nicknamed because amarillo is the Spanish word for yellow.

It was a day when roadside birds were few and flat boring scenery dominated the landscape. In fact, the only interesting thing I recorded in my journal about this day’s drive was a sign I saw in Chillicothe, Texas, where a tinge of poverty pervaded everything. This sign let me know that not all had given up hope.

“Cute Texas stuff for sale,” it read. Not a bad sales ploy I thought. Texans do like to display native doodads.

Meanwhile, I did what I usually do when I have miles to go and scenery that becomes mindless. I put a book on tape in my CD player. The one of choice for this day was a recording of early Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot stories.

Before I knew it, I was pulling into the Rocking A RV Park in Vernon, This city of about 12,000, located on the Old Chisholm Trail and home of rock-and-roller Roy Orbison, had the only decent RV park for miles around.

That evening when Maggie and I strolled around the park, I looked out over an industrial site and though how drab it looked. Fortunately I looked again early the next morning. The above photograph changed my mind about the local scenery. Suddenly things didn’t look so dull at all.

Read Full Post »


Y'all come for dinner, Big Tex says to visitors headed west on Interstate 40. He was the landmark just before my exit to the Amarillo Ranch RV Park

 “Botanists say that trees need the powerful March winds to flex their trunks and main branches, so the sap is drawn up to nourish the budding leaves. Perhaps we need the gales of life in the same way, though we dislike enduring them.” — Jane Truax

 Days 10-11

The first thing I saw on hitting Interstate 40 heading east into Amarillo was Big Tex, urging y’all to drop by the Big Texan Steak Ranch. It was one of the numerous billboards advertising this restaurant that I had seen as soon as I reached the Panhandle. The restaurant’s gimmick is a free 72-ounce steak if you can eat the whole thing in an hour. The odds, like in Vegas, are in the establishment’s favor. If you lose the cost of the steak is $72.

 I kept my money and fixed myself a bowl of my homemade crab and shrimp gumbo soon after I checked into the Amarillo Ranch RV Park – they throw the word ranch around a lot in this part of Texas. I planned to stay two nights so I could catch up on chores, but ended up staying three because of a wind storm.

 The next day, the only good one weatherwise,  I did  laundry, grocery shopping and got a haircut. I now had clothes that once again were lavender-smelling clean, a full  food cupboard, an overflowing tiny refrigerator – and bad hair.

“I want my bangs to touch my eyebrows and leave some fullness on the side,” I told the stylist.

 She was either deaf, unskilled or mad at the world and wanted to take it out on me. I left the beauty shop with too much forehead in front and too little hair above my ears. Thankfully my hair grows fast.

Cadillac Ranch, another I-40 landmark. This one a public art installation that says much about Texas. Photo by Richie Diesterheft, Wikipedia

 My plans to get back on the road the next morning were then thwarted by Texas-sized winds that kept my motor home rocking and rolling all day even though it stayed parked. They also took me down.

I was going out to walk Maggie when the wind grabbed control of the door, slamming it up against the side of my RV and tossing me 20 feet across the grass when I didn’t let go of the handle quick enough.  I landed, thankfully, on my padded bum but still with a  clumsy kid’s scratched knee.  Maggie nuzzled me, then gave me a look that said,  I thought we were going for a walk.

 Amarillo in my rear-view mirror the next morning wasn’t a bad sight.

Copyrighted by Pat Bean

Read Full Post »