Wonders of Our Own Backyard

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April 25th 2013
Published: April 28th 2013
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We pulled out of the Carlsbad KOA and headed north to Artesia where I planned to have our last New Mexican breakfast. When we visited Roswell earlier in the week, we found the Chaos Cafe for breakfast, and it was great. So it seemed fitting that we have our morning meal at the Chaos again!

After breakfast, we moved toward Roswell, again. This time, only to pass through. However, one does need the occasional diesel fix and Sam's did have the best price. So we had a side-tracked episode of shopping at Sam's. We certainly did not realize that in New Mexico, Sam's has liquor for sale. Well, you know that Sam's beats everyone's prices, and liquor prices are no exception! I had to have a bottle of Yellow Tail ($9.00 vs $12 in Oklahoma) and of course, a bottle of Maker's Mark ($37 vs $43). Anyway, the price of diesel was our main find. It was only $3.13 per gallon. The cheapest price I have found in the past Year!!!!!

We headed northeast from Roswell with a great tail-wind. Cynde lounged around, playing her word games, reading, and reminding me that the music was way too loud! I did keep her busy with requests for snacks and drinks. Whoever is driving is designated Captain, and receives the attention, and subordination, of the co-pilot/captain. When Cynde drives, she is not nearly as demanding (interpret - needy) as me! She is a good travel companion!

The topography/geology of the lands we traveled over was truly amazing. New Mexico was arid, covered in rock, sage brush, cactus and yucca. As we neared Texas, and the high plains, there slowly appeared fertile farmland from the arid soil - thanks to irrigation. The high plains yielded wheat, feed, and of course, cotton. As we moved steadily eastward, we suddenly found ourselves facing a rapid drop-off in the landscape. We moved without warning from the high plains into the rugged hills of Caprock Canyon.

Caprock Canyon is a part of the same geologic wonder as the Palo Duro Canyon just south of Amarillo. However, these canyons seem much more colorful than their neighbor to the north. These canyons mark the change from the low-lands and rolling plains of Central Texas and Western Oklahoma to the high plains of the Texas Panhandle. It is a stark change. Once you climb to the Llano Estacado, the land is flat for as far as the eye can see. The Llano Estacado is what the early Spanish explorers dubbed the high plains.

Caprock Canyon is a Texas State Park. It covers 24 square miles, purchased from ranch lands dating back to the late 1800's. We arrived early enough in the day to see the buffalo heard that was returned to the park in the late 1990's. This heard are direct descendants of the original heards that once roamed the area. C.N. Goodnight, an early day rancher, realized the plight of the bison and worked to protect a limited number of the free-roaming bison of the region. This heard of about 80 head, are, in fact, direct descendants of these original animals. They have never been in a zoo, or in a refuge. They are truly original, and spectacular!

Our campsite provided everything we could possibly need. A spectacular view of the sunset over the canyon, a fire pit, and a cozy place to park for the night. We cooked rib eyes on the grill and paired them with caesar salad, broccoli, and a baked potato. Great meal for our last night on the road. We planned for a quick trail ride for the morning, then a hasty departure toward Altus.

The morning was beautiful. We fixed breakfast of omelets, hash browns, and biscuits. Yummy! We mounted our bikes and pedaled toward the shortest, easiest trail across the canyon. It was pretty extraordinary. Also somewhat intimidating! Although it was only two miles, it took us down into the canyon, up again, down again, and up. Over and over!! It was quite a challenging ride. There were many hills (mountain trails) that caused us to walk our bikes. The two miles really seamed like 5 miles. We (I) thought that the trail came to a paved road across the canyon, and I kept encouraging Cynde with this promise. Luckily, I was correct. We finally reached the paved road that would lead us back to our camp. The road, however was riddled with hills and stretched over two miles back to camp. After about a mile and a half on the road, Cynde could go no further. I road/walked back to camp and returned with the FJ to retrieve Cynde and her bike. It was quite a trek through the canyon, allowing us the opportunity to view the canyon and its wonders first hand.

We pulled out of Caprock Canyon and charted a route to Altus, via Turkey and Memphis. Turkey (Texas) is the birthplace of Bob Wills, and it just so happened that Turkey was preparing for the annual celebration of his birthdate. Turkey was full of RVs and visitors, in anticipation of a three day weekend filled with Texas Swing. This event draws visitors from many states with musical headliners whose names read like a list of who's who of the Texas music scene. If we had only known, we could have planned for some time in this great little berg!

However, Altus was calling. Our last stop on the way to OKC! We stopped to check on Cynde's Aunt Sug who recently moved into a long-term care facility. She was doing exceptionally well, so we called Mother (Fern) for an unplanned dinner at Western Sizzlin. It is always good to be able to spend time with Mother, and we all like to eat!

We made OKC by 9 p.m., unloaded Stormy, put her to bed (in Edmond), and hit the hay. Lying in bed, the topic quickly became where our next adventure would take us. Vegas is calling - we leave for a week in Nevada with brother Mike and Debbie on the 13th of May. Shows are already booked!

Happy Trails!!

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