After Doug saw his surgeon on the 20th and we got the “okay” to hit the road again, we left Austin on the 21st.
Doug is doing very well. He still gets tired easily but the “good streaks” are getting longer and as long as he eats, he keeps up his strength. Surgeon recommended waiting a couple more weeks before driving (if he was driving and air bag went off from steering wheel, that would be so much worse than on passenger side) and watch the lifting until his chest feels better.
So instead of heading to Mexico, we drove northwest on a new route to visit four of the six states we have never been to: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. We also want to attend the Tiger Owners Rally in Colorado in mid-June so Denver, CO is our next major destination. Thought we needed a bit more time to ensure Doug is strong and we have easier access to medical care if needed.
We spent Tuesday night in the small city of Lampasas where we walked in the local city park but not much else to see/do there.
Wednesday we continued northwest to Abilene where we stayed at the local state park for a day. We relaxed, walked, showered, fed the birds and met another full timing RV couple whom we enjoyed a campfire with that night. A thunderstorm hit around 8:30 and we had to call it a night; there were tornado warnings but other than a minute or less of hail, that’s as severe as the weather got.
Thursday had us heading north to Lubbock, Texas. We stayed just outside Lubbock in the town of Slaton that had a city park with where RV’s were welcome to stay for a night but had no hookups. There was a baseball diamond and few little league games but after that, nice and quiet. On the drive northward, we’ve seen lots and lots of wind turbines; apparently north Texas is the place with the most wind energy – who knew? The plains are flat and there are wind farms. There are lots and lots of fields where cotton is being planted as well. We actually drove through a county that is the “meat goat county of the country” (?) and we’ve seen so many pick up trucks, it ain’t funny.
In Lubbock on Friday, we went to the Buddy Holly Center. Buddy came from Lubbock and in his short life (he died at 22!) he accomplished a great deal in the music industry and opened the door for many a rock musician. He influenced many bands including the Beatles, Stones and Animals. After running several errands (our GPS has been acting up lately and finally informed us it wanted to be replaced) and shopping. We then drove to Floydada, which has a city park with free RV hookups and a dump station. We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed a quiet evening and hot showers in the morning.
Saturday we drove northwest to Cap Rock Canyons State Park where we spent the day hiking and enjoying the red rock scenery reminiscent of southern Utah but with more vegetation and at this time of year, lots of greenery. This is a nice little park with the state buffalo herd (we saw about a dozen) and a small prairie dog field. We spent that night in the small town of Tulia where we parked next to a park, watched some kids playing basketball and spent the night on that curb. The elevation is getting higher now but the wind doesn’t stop blowing which is a welcome reprieve from the hot sun.
Sunday we made it to Palo Duro Canyon State Park which was full of red rocks, toadstool rocks, hoodoos, bookcliffs and beautiful overlooks. There were not a lot of short hikes (under a mile) so we did some walking but right now Doug can’t tolerate much more than a mile or so at a time. It will come. His chest is hurting less each day and his appetite has returned pretty to much normal. He gets a little light headed at times, if he gets up too quickly but for the most part other than heavy lifting and raising his arms up, he’s back to doing some chores.
We arrived in Amarillo just ahead of a big rain storm and just managed to squeeze a visit to “Cadillac Ranch” which was somewhat disappointing. This is a hokey but somewhat compelling attraction of ten Cadillacs upended into the ground. It’s in the middle of a field and they have spray cans that you can use to add graffiti as you like. Rather gaudy looking really.
The rains came after dinner and didn’t stop for about a day and a half. Needless to say we wanted to get out of there. So we hit the road again. The temperatures had dropped significantly as well and we changed our plans a little. We intended to go due north into the Oklahoma panhandle but the elevation there meant even colder nights almost hitting freezing for a few days so instead we went east into the state.