Texas is a great place. I say that because Texans have talked me into it. Who else has so much state pride? During my incarnation as a pet industry marketer, I worked with several Texas veterinarians. Each was a riot to work with (a Texan can show you good time), each either wore or decorated with the Lone Star flag, and from Kileen to DFW to Galveston, each would gesture expansively to the abandoned lot that is the Texas landscape and emotionally exclaim, “now idn’dat pretty?”
I’ve never been to Amarillo, so I went out of my way to cruise through it on my way to Alumapalooza 7.
Cadillac Ranch—one of the first roadside sculptures in the world and the most famous attraction in Amarillo—consists simply of ten colorful automobile bodies buried hood-deep into a nondescript field. No directional signage or explanation goes with, but everyone seems to know the drill: bring a can of spray paint to the installation on I-40, and add your own graffiti. I’ve never been to Stonehenge but I imagine it to be a similar cultural letdown. Frame your expectations thusly. (Don’t be deked by “Cadillac RV” about a half mile away.)
Staying overnight? The giant blacktop of Oasis RV Resort is just up the I-40 service road at Exit 60. (Attention expensive campgrounds that advertise free wifi as an amenity: if you don’t have enough routers and signal strength to accommodate each unit, you don’t have wifi. If you had a pool always filled with dirt, would you advertise the pool?)
“Hidden gem” is the most unwelcome and overused term in travel writing, but the Jack Sizemore RV Museum is just that. You’d never know it’s there, sequestered behind the RV dealership, and it is fucking FANTASTIC (another overused phrase).
Much more is nearby, including the Quarter Horse Museum, the Texas Air and Space Museum, and a botanical garden.
The bulk of the Texan taxpayer dollars seem to be spent on the thousands of Historical Markers on the highway edges—seriously, like every fifty feet. I looked it up! There are more than 16,000! Someday I’ll pull over and read one.