Lighthouse, Shimmering In The Heat

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June 18, 2019, Amarillo-

I made it a point to stop here today, for two reasons.  One was my old Xanga buddy, Wes, and his ties to the Amarillo that was.  The other was Lighthouse Trail, in Palo Duro State Park.  I always meet the most delightful people, through both Wes and Palo Duro.  Today was no exception.

Texas Tidbits (Wes’ old Xanga moniker) suggested a meet-up at Smokey Joe’s, which I recall as a most delightful spot.  The cutest, and toughest, little lady was our server last time.  Her co-worker, J, was our gracious and ever-attentive hostess, on this fine afternoon.  We sat around for about an hour, while I savoured a Tex-Mex burger, and solved at least some of the issues that plague mankind.

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Now, I could sit in the presence of Wes and the ladies, for hours on end, but my hiking legs would not forgive me for such self-indulgence.  So, I bid pardner adieu and set off for Palo Duro.

Upon arrival, the lovely and friendly ranger pointed out that many folks had been their before me, snapping up all the campsites. No worries here, though.  The main point of my visit was that Light House in the desert, shimmering as it was, in the heat.  I brought enough water to fuel a truckload of cattle, and set off on the six-mile round trip.

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Capitol Peak and an unnamed “human” figure loom in the near distance, before the trail to Light House Rock veers to the right.

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Other magnificent formations grace the way to Light House.

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The first close-up view of the Light House formation, came as I reached the crest of the only real ascent of the hike.

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Here they are, one at a time.

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This shows the actual distance between the two rocks.

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As the first rumblings of a storm were heard, I took this last close-up.

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Whilst I was doing this, another man was contenting himself with climbing a path to the top of the rock on the left.  He spent several minutes there, fortunately getting down, as the skies darkened and racing up the path, to avoid the rain.

As I was walking back, I met a young couple with a dog, and pointed out to them that the storm was getting much closer.  They deiced to head back and stayed with me to the parking area.  E and M are a delightful pair, reminding me of my son and daughter-in-law.  We noted the lushness of the surrounding area, as a sign of the copious rain that the Panhandle has enjoyed this Spring.

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We got back to our cars, just as the rain was intensifying.  No sooner was everyone safely inside the vehicles, than hail started falling-furiously.   Yet, once we got to the park entrance:  Voila!  The sunshine returned.  With no camping site, I drove back to Amarillo, and have a room at Camelot Inn and Suites.

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Yes, another good day was had in the desert!

NEXT:  When Armies Wear Each Other Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 39:Plowing On, Through Remorse

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July 3, 2018, Moriarty, NM-

I woke up in Sallisaw, just after 6 AM, which is my usual wake-up, when on the road.  Ed’s Cafe was across the road from Sallisaw Inn, so I headed over for breakfast.  The waitress looked to be a sassy sort, the kind that can handle truck drivers very well.  She plopped a menu down in front of me and took my coffee order, then walked over to a gray-haired gentleman and plopped her cleaning rag in front of him.  I liked her right away.  Turns out, he was indeed a regular, coming by here every two weeks.

I ordered the special, and Sassy Stacey got me to change it to the same plate from the regular menu, telling me quietly that “the boss jacks up the price for the special, when all it is, is more hashbrowns.” So I got a good deal on a very decent breakfast.

I headed straight across Oklahoma, bypassing OKC, and stopping at a Braum’s, in Weatherford, for lunch.  I like Braum’s for their milkshakes and malts, getting one of the latter, to go with my chicken tenders.  Weatherford is a nice little town, so getting in out of the heat there, and giving the Elantra an hour’s rest, made perfect sense.

Next was the Texas Panhandle, a far more magnificent place than many people might see.  My remorse came from not giving old Texas Tidbits enough of a heads-up, as I approached Amarillo.  So, it happened that my only Texas stops were gassing up in McLean and a short meditative visit to the rest stop off I-40, at Alanreed.

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Despite the ominous clouds, I did not get so much as a drop on my windshield today.

After leaving Texas behind, I made two stops in eastern New Mexico, dinner at K-Bob’s, in Tucumcari, taking advantage of the chain’s delicious catfish plate and generous salad bar, then gassing up at a Mom and Pop store in Milagro- just because the young couple are making a heartfelt effort to revive the windswept little settlement.

Finally, the day ended at one of Moriarty’s oldest inns: Sunset Motel.  The widowed daughter-in-law of the motel’s founders runs this place with a velvet fist.  Her business acumen and graciousness do not clash- which I find admirable and reassuring.  She keeps her late husband’s and in-laws’ legacy running very smoothly.

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