Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Clip The Corner of Texas

The rheostat controlled sun rose ever so slowly dim to dawn while the coffee brewed. Listening to the birds and staring off into the horizon is sweet meditation waiting to press the coffee. My thoughts are slow knowing I have a month ahead of me to make any decision. Sharon clawed her way out of tent to join my day. The only schedule is we need to get within spitting distance of Amarillo, Texas. I've searched out a state park just about 20 miles south of the city. By the few photos on some internet posts it's a miniature Grand Canyon (that's right Texas...our canyon is much bigger than yours). First Sharon and I must take one more soak in the hot springs before departing Faywood, NM.

Roadside attractions haven't changed since my mother drove my brother and I to Arizona in 1960 to start a new life. Every kind of gimmick to get you to pull off that interstate to shake some coins from your pocket will be deployed. The most overused magnet was the use of Jesus or God. One of the best I saw was the "Jesus Christ is the Lord Travel Center". I'm unsure of the connection between a quart of oil, a CD of Johnny Paycheck, or fried delights from the deli has to do with spiritual awakening but the parking lot was full so it proves I'm not up on the regional marketing hooks. Another impressive structure was a 200' high cross that could be seen for miles across the flat lands. The magnet that caught my eye...good enough to convince me to make a U Turn was the worlds largest pistachio. I couldn't believe my eyes looking at that 75' high nut balancing. It was stunning.

After a purchase of a medium size bag of the normal size nuts we continued towards Palo Dura State Park. I kind of misjudged the distance and we didn't arrive to the park until after 8PM which upon arrival the park was closed but a small road off to the right was the "afterhours" camp area. It was impressively thoughtful to accommodate us that way. Navigating around the cul-de-sac  we pulled into a secluded little nest. I set up the tent and put out the sleeping bags while Sharon made sandwiches. The wind was gusting strongly but it was not until the middle of the night when the wind began to whip our ass. All night and into the morning the relentless wind snapped at our tent like a bull whip. Up before the sun peeked off the horizon and before the coffee on we decided to pack quickly and hike into Palo Dura Canyon.

worlds largest pistachio
Within a half hour we pulled away from our camp, paid our entry fee at the entrance and did a quick drive around to find a trail. While searching I saw a set of restrooms by the RV camp area that had a hot water heater around back so I pulled in to have a quick shave and wash. When I returned back to my 4Runner I noticed a sizable puddle under the truck. Kneeling down while reaching under the carriage I realized this liquid was gasoline and if I didn't attend to this leak quickly we will have a major
Night Tent in Amarillo, TX
problem. I looked at the gas gauge and it read above a half tank. I started up the truck, programmed the GPS for a repair station and headed 20 miles towards Amarillo. I kept a close eye on the fuel gauge which was bobbing and dropping at an alarming rate. By the time we arrived at the address following the GPS, the fuel was near empty and the Toyota station was no longer at that location. Across the street was a Subaru service station. I checked with them and their two day wait was more than we could accept but the service manager suggested Aardvark Garage, only a few miles away. We followed his directions and within 10 minutes and very little gas we pulled up to the garage. The woman behind the desk said she'd have one of her men take a look at it right away. An older gentleman dressed in the appropriate mechanic garb drove my rig into the service bay, hoisted her up, and quickly determined the fuel line compression connection from the engine to the filter was worn but as he put it "I put a little more wrench on it than I feel comfortable but it could hold ten minutes or ten years" and he added" It'd be best to change the fuel line more sooner than latter". He pulled my truck off the rack and told me to get on my way. I asked if I pay the cashier inside but said I owed him nothing. I didn't feel right about this considering I have the means to pay. "At least let me buy you a lunch" I pleaded...he replied, "Just give a donation to our diaper fund" I pulled out $40.00 and hopefully made some Mom happy from the kindness of a garage mechanic in Amarillo.

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