Amarillo and the west

Amarillo is Spanish for yellow, so I guess I was expecting a pretty yellow town, it isn’t that!  There are a few reasons for the ‘yellow’ name.  There are small wild sunflowers that grow in the area, and all along the roadside which are pretty to see.  Also, before modern civilization this was an area where buffalo, wolves and other roaming animals used to come to because there was a large lake with a yellow coloured shore line.  Now that the city is built up the lake level has dropped and is no longer a picturesque place, otherwise I’m not sure about the name…

Amarillo is a town in the Texas panhandle, it’s flat and barren and the city here is not the prettiest.  Northern Texas feels like a hard place, it hardly ever rains and when it does its torrential, the whole time we were there it was so windy it wobbled the coach and one night a storm came through with the most amazing lightning I’ve ever seen.  Husband slept through that!

We spent 2 nights in Amarillo only to rest from the 5 hour drive from Oklahoma, it’s not top of our list to return to.  We couldn’t find much to do or see in the town so we went to an RV museum that was actually really good.  It’s a private collection of RV’s caravans etc since the 50’s.

This was an RV used in a movie with Robin Williams, called RV

 

This is a little camper trailer called a Teardrop.  You still see a modern version of them around-little bed in the middle and a kitchen in the back!

 

Some campers were very stylish!

 

My favorite was an RV owned by Max Factor in the 60’s who had it’s interior designed -it’s still very fashionable today.

 

Next stop west was Albuquerque.  This is a much nicer place with a large city, almost 3 times the population of Amarillo at half million.  Again 2 nights here to recover from another 5 hour drive.  We went shopping on the free day.  I bought some arty stuff and S went clothes shopping. Again, the wind blew here but a much nicer place to be.

Next stop, Meteor Crater, Arizona.  They have an RV park 6 miles from the crater so that’s where we are staying now.  Today we went out and visited the crater.

It’s significant as far as craters go because it’s more or less in it’s original state. We are not far from Interstate 40, the main east west highway, just far enough away that the traffic noise doesn’t keep you awake at night, so 40 runs very close to the crater.  Incidentally, Route 66 runs right beside 40 pretty much the whole way west (starting in Chicago), nearly 2500 miles ending in Los Angeles-it looks like a very poorly maintained road in places.

We drove the 6 miles to the crater this morning.  It’s a family run business and so you need to pay for the tour but it’s not too pricey, $30 for the 2 of us.  It’s quite well set up, you have a guided tour around part of the rim, there is a short movie that explains the crater, and another ‘interactive’ movie (where your seat moves and air puffs in your face) as you watch a 3 d movie about flying around inside the crater and then up into space-quite good.  There’s a gift shop, restaurant and exhibits area-the Americans do these touristy things very well.

It was originally thought the crater was caused by a volcanic eruption, there is volcanic activity in the area after all, but it was later proven to have been a meteor because the land during the impact was flipped over, leaving the oldest layers of soil on the top of the rim, also pieces of the meteor were found.  Apparently the 2ndlargest piece is in a museum in Christchurch!

The meteor hit the earth 50,000 year ago.  Because the desert here is so dry it hasn’t filled up with water, so the whole crater can be seen.  The whole circumference of the crater is 2.4 miles, but you only get to walk a bit of it and are not allowed down into it.  Daniel Barringer was the first to suggest the crater was the result of a meteor and spent lots of time looking for the meteor, not understanding that it had shattered and dispersed on impact.  During his scientific explorations he drilled into the bottom of the crater looking for the meteor because it’s made mostly of iron ore and he wanted it for building railway lines.  The mine still exists.

Apparently not too long ago a truck driver parked up at the crater and at night jumped the fence and went down into the crater.  I’m not sure what he was smoking but he thought people lived in ‘middle earth’ and went down the mine shaft looking for them! He got stuck and ended up breaking his legs and had to be rescued.  I’m not sure if he found the middle earth people…

We got chatting to our neighbours at the RV park. They asked us if we were going into a town nearby, Winslow.  We said we weren’t.  They asked, are you not going to stand on the corner…?  We just looked at Nancy and wondered what she was smoking!!  She said, you know the song don’t you?  We still looked and it wasn’t until she sang the Eagles line from ‘Take it Easy’ that we got it-“…well I’m standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona I’ve got three women on my mind…”

Tomorrow we are heading further west into Arizona and then stopping for 4 nights at a nice resort.