Apr 24, 2014

Tucumcari Tonight!

It's that magical neon twilight hour...
The Blue Swallow is lit up and looking gorgeous tonight!

Apr 23, 2014

La Cita, in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Amarillo, Palo Duro, Route 66

Hiking and biking and deserts and canyons and mountains and lakes! After spending a fun-filled (and bike-filled!) week in Oklahoma (OK!) on Lake Murray, we made our way up to our good ol' friend-road - Route 66! Trucked on through to Amarillo, stopping at all sorts of abandoned buildings, kitschy diners, and wonderful icons of Americana. We got to spend a whole week in Amarillo, and were even able to rent a car. Which means a lot of random local adventures (it's exciting to have a vehicle that gets more than ~10 miles per gallon). Got to check out a lot of nifty local dives and diners, many of which were on 66. We also returned to Palo Duro Canyon for some sweet desert hiking (didn't do much hiking last time we were here in the teardrop. Mostly on account of rattlesnakes.). And, of course, we had to make at least a couple of trips to Cadillac Ranch! All in all, a very successful and welcoming trip to the loveable Amarillo. On Sunday, after Easter Sunday service at the 'Cowboy Church', and one last stop at Cadillac Ranch, we trekked onwards into the West. We now find ourselves in the iconic Route 66 city of Tucumcari, NM - camped out in the shadow (or lack thereof) of Mount Tucumcari, for the next few days. I do enjoy the desert landscapes, but I'm already starting to miss trees. REAL trees, that is. As always, much love from the road. -E

 Big Cave

This is from 2010, the first time we visited Palo Duro Canyon SP in our home built teardrop camper. We've been retracing some of our journey from 2010, and revisiting stops along rt 66. Check out "The Blog That Cori never finished" to see some of what we saw.

 This was a neat trail that goes over an ancient avalanche, up to the rim of the canyon. Very hot and steep!

Pretty Rock Garden

We ate and drank a lot this week! One of our stops was at The GoldenLight Cantina and Cafe. It is one of the oldest restaurants continuously operating in the same location anywhere on old Rt. 66. Get the Frito Pie.

 "What is that, a Johnny Cash song?" ...or Acts 2:20

More "Dynamite Museum"

 This picture is from 2010. The sign, wall, and rail have all been painted over. But there are a lot of other signs around and even outside of the city. It's always exciting when you spot one.

I roped Ed into a photoshoot at Cadillac Ranch. Too much fun here, as usual! Here's a comparison between 2010 on the left, and 2014 on the right. I think we might even be on the same car.

We dyed eggs with coffee and frozen blueberries, turned out well! Next year we'll try onion skins. 

Happy Easter, from Cadillac Ranch!

Apr 18, 2014

Stanley Marsh street signs in Amarillo are the Easter egg hunt for the week. Here's one of my favorites

Apr 16, 2014


After visiting a variety of state parks in the last few months, from Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama, I've become quite the park system fangirl (and critic). I've found that state parks are a really good gauge for gaining insight to a state's political, social, and environmental values. (BIG differences from north to south) So after visiting Lake Murray SP in Oklahoma, (and wishing we had more time to visit their other parks) Oklahoma appears to be on top of their state park game.

Lake Murray SP is Oklahoma's largest and oldest state park, it was built by the CCC and WPA. It's BLUE.
The vegetation begins to get scrubby in Oklahoma, and the trees don't grow so tall. They even sway differently than we're used to...we're getting closer to the desert!

The rain finally stopped Monday evening and we were able to enjoy a week of lakeside camping with beautiful sunsets every single night.

Throughout the week we biked 40 miles around the lake, the hills are friendly but the wind is mean.

Oklahoma is also on top of their hand-painted sign game

I was so excited to finally visit a nature center! We have not seen one since leaving Indiana. The Tucker Tower nature center is beautifully designed and thoughtfully curated. It features half of a meteorite found in the park in the 1930's, which is the fifth largest meteorite found in the world! From there, it's a short hike up to Tucker Tower, which is full of CCC and WPA displays and memorabilia. *swoon* Oklahoma, you really know the way to my heart. Now if you could just install recycling facilities...another thing we haven't seen since Indiana.

We hit the road on Saturday, headed for Amarillo. Had to stop in Chickasha and eat a fried onion burger before leaving Oklahoma. This place, so much, so good. Didn't eat again until the next day.

Stopped on the walk back to gawk at the gorgeous art deco courthouse


Apr 7, 2014

MS to OK

Last week we got the perfect sampling of Mississippi resort-living at Lake Tiak-O'Khata. It's a family owned place with a rich history, and you can tell that it is run with lots of love. Handpainted signs, pretty landscaping, nice people. It oozes southern charm.

We picked a spot next to Ruby's Pond, pretty sunsets and a nice enough view of the night sky. We've identified Gemini and are getting the hang of the spring skies. We used our new binoculars to see the nebula M42, Orion's sword (until we learned it's name, we were calling it Orion's tobacco pouch:) It's an incredible view, even from here!

We found a godswood tree on the nature trail

This gorgeous wisteria vine was in bloom. It's almost 50 years old, the wheel it's consuming is from farm equipment from the property in the late 1800's. This stuff was in bloom everywhere, and down the roads from Mississippi to Louisiana. Prettiest invasive species evar!

Bowie doing his thing..?

One evening we strolled over to the restaurant for pie and wine. It was. The best.
"Pie and wine is whatchu asked for, so pie and wine is what you gonna get."

We left Friday, and roadtripped our way across the rest of Mississippi, through Louisiana, a piece of Texas, and into Oklahoma. We were able to jump onto Natchez Trace in Louisiana for a good 80-some miles. We first heard of this road from a woman in Berea's local yarn shop. It is gorgeous and fascinating. So, there's another roadtrip that we're already planning for next year. In the teardrop perhaps? (Mom, Dad, meet you on the Mississippi??)

The arrowhead signs are great.

Magical cypress swamp

We made a stop at the site where Bonnie & Clyde were ambushed. Here is their memorial.

And just to the right, is a memorial for the vigilant (yes) and brave (?) law enforcement officials who, some might say were a bit excessive in their force...it is quite the juxtaposition.

"Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns ... There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren't taking any chances." 

It's interesting, all of the attention that the Bonnie & Clyde monument gets, they are clearly the main attraction. (That's who we came to see! We've definitely been called Bonnie & Clyde before lol)

We somehow found ourselves in Miranda Lambert's hometown and shop, the Pink Pistol. We were lured in on the pretext of a winery, and didn't realize where we were until we were. Not really my style, but I can dig what they've got going on there. Handmade stuff, gypsy/vintage clothing, re-purposed junk (ok maybe it kind of is my style). This Texas flag was super cute.

It was fun to take a break from camping, to go on a roadtrip! As we head west, I am seriously missing boiled peanuts, and grieving the near-absence of Waffle House, but we've had some great bbq, and picked up some regional beer along the way.

We're now at Lake Murray SP in Oklahoma. We chose a lakeside site with a very promising view of the night sky. No neighbors except for the campground host. If only this rain would freaking stop already!