I just posted about my recent trip to Amarillo on the American RV Life blog, but I wanted to introduce you to the Pennington Family, whom I met at the Cadillac Ranch. Enjoy!
By Guest Blogger Dean Pennington
My wife, Djuana, and my children, Desirae and Donovan started our summer with a road trip from our home in Lindale, just outside of Tyler, TX (the Rose Capital), to Pueblo, CO. When we plan road trips, Djuana and I research our route, and then check out the best stops along the roads we choose. I like to think the journey is just as much fun – or important – as the destination.
We spent our first night in Childress, and the next morning, made our way to the Childress Bakery. I’m not sure the bakery was ready for the Wolf Pack (how I refer to my children Desirae and Donovan). We stormed in and swept up locals and staff with crazy enthusiasm. Hey it was our first road breakfast! Pigs in blankets, donuts and other delights were consumed along with some chocolate milk and coffee.
Afterward, we made our way to a small local park just a few blocks from the bakery, where the kids got to climb aboard a train locomotive. We also spotted a tunnel that we had to drive through before leaving town.
Next stop Amarillo!
Our first stop was the Cadillac Ranch, which is where we met Elaine. We came prepared, and had purchased two cans of spray paint at Wal-Mart when we fueled up that morning. It was very cool to see the automobiles as sculpture. The wolf pack dashed to the vehicles immediately. To our great fortune, we basically had the place to ourselves. This made for some awesome pictures. It is stunning to see a large vehicle buried nose down at a 51.84° angle.
I try to encourage my children by saying we are a sharing family. To that end, we saw a little boy and his father come up to the giant auto sculpture. He didn’t have any paint and was scrabbling around with some used cans he found on the ground. I suggested we share our cans with him, as they were still half full. We gave him the cans with the condition that he throw them in the trash when he was done. He readily agreed!
Off we went.
Our next stop was The Big Texan. Here, we luncheoned and enjoyed the Texas sized furniture. The food was good, the pack liked their hats and my jalapeno was muy caliente!
After leaving The Big Texan we headed over to the original helium plant. Did you know that nearly all of the world’s helium is produced within a 250-mile radius of Amarillo?
There is also an earthcache geocache there at the helium plant, which we located and logged. Geocaching is a great treasure or scavenger hunt that requires a gps or gps-enabled phone to locate hidden caches all over the world! Caches can also be landmarks or natural wonders. Since caches are everywhere, literally, we attempt to find them along our routes of travel. This can break up long stretches of road and make our trips even more fun.
Ready to continue our trip, we motored on to Clayton, New Mexico. Clayton is famous because of Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum. In the local Dairy Queen are photos of Ketchum, before (and after) his hanging. I bet you’re wondering why this so curious… Black Jack’s head popped off when he was hung! We ate a strawberry sundae in homage to Black Jack’s ill fate!
About 15 miles from Clayton we made our way to a very cool plaque. It is the TEXHOMEX survey marker, which is the point at which you can stand in three states at the same time (if your foot is big enough!).
Next stop: Raton, New Mexico. We found a cool geocache at a state police headquarters on the south side of town. We also watched some deer in an open field across from the HQ and spied on several gophers before pushing on.
Raton Pass bridges New Mexico with Colorado. At the top we pulled over just to enjoy the view. And what a view! The cool wind was blowing and the sun was beginning to set. Just beautiful. And, what an elevation and temperature change from Texas. At 7,835′ we were 7,300′ higher than our home in Texas and more than 30° cooler in temperature.
Driving just a bit further north we drove into Trinidad, CO. Here we ate the most delicious meal at Rino’s Italian Restaurant. The restaurant was originally a church built in 1887. We were served a truly authentic Italian meal that was simply marvelous. But to top off our meal off (we were actually too full for dessert) the owner and chef of Rino’s, Frank Cordova, serenaded my little wolf pack. We found the music, sung in Italian, to be nearly angelic.
Finally, we headed north to Pueblo, CO and wrapped up the first day of our seven-day road trip!
We hope your road trips are as fun as ours!
Dean Pennington II