Texas Panhandle

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
Trip End Jul 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our first stop this morning was a terra-cotta colored mock adobe café for a cup o’ joe and a breakfast burrito. We took advantage of the Wi-Fi and booked our hotel in Amarillo, Texas which was our goal for the day.We would be making a trip through the Petrified National Park first and
our last chance to see the Painted Desert before moving east into New Mexico.

The petrified logs and stumps that make up the park are remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed millions of years ago. The crystallized forms are cool but I found the surrounding environment still more impressive. The dry riverbeds and conical mounds found in the Painted Desert shone bright in the midday sun and the linear bands of dark gray, bone white, and reddish-purple that colored the canyons and cliffs dominated the landscape. The Painted Desert and the Petrified National Park also marked our last scheduled stop until we began to get serious about heading back home.

We moved east again through the New Mexico desert which was filled with low-growing trees and light brown sandy plateaus and mesas. We passed long trains with bright red and yellow Santa Fe engines making there way through the picturesque land. Tall Mount Taylor rose above 11,000 feet out of the desert floor near town of Grants and continued to be seen as far away as Albuquerque.

As night neared I lay in the back of the caRV staring out the back window and watched the sun set on the desert in a gap right between two large purple-black mountain ridges that were covered in shadow as the light faded. It was the last sun set I would see in the west. . .

Darkness fell and we made our way back into the flat grassy plains of the Midwest as the desert melted away. A large line of storms seemed to engulf us and large dark clouds flashed and glowed in the darkness with powerful forks of lightening. The show went on for about two hours in the wide open prairies as we crossed into Texas and finally arrived in Amarillo. The flora and climate were becoming more familiar and our trip was breathing its last gasps. Tomorrow we would drive to Little Rock, Arkansas for a little taste of home and an overnight visit with my
brother-in-law Joel before the final leg and final day on Friday. . .
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