Palo Duro State Park, Canyon TX

Our campsite in Tulsa was located right next to a highway, cramped, and featureless, yet ideal for the two nights we spent there.  There’s no question we all needed a day off from the incessant driving.  400 miles a day is nobody’s idea of fun, and the burnout factor was off the charts.

All I wanted to do was stop driving and get some work done, and for that the campground suited just fine.  The wifi was fast and  worked well (rare for a campground), the 30-amp power didn’t sag in the peak of the heat & humidity (96 degrees), and the water pressure was exemplary.  I plugged in and got busy.

Eleanor got busy too, with a chance to use her crockpot and simultaneously test a “no heat” cooking method she’s going to demonstrate at Alumafandango.  We took one break, to go grocery shopping, and otherwise were in the Airstream just doing our stuff.

The layout of the Fall magazine is about half done and progressing on schedule, we continue to forge ahead on Alumafandango, we’re nearly ready to open registration for Alumapalooza 4 (and wait till you see the cool t-shirts!), and Brett & I were able to advance another joint project that we will hopefully announce in the next couple of weeks.  It’s yet another Aluma-event, but I can’t say more than that until the contracts are signed.

A job on the “personal” list was to look ahead while we had good Internet, and decide on our reward.  See, the crazy long driving days have an upside: because we covered 2,000 miles in six days, we have a few extra days to meander around in the west before heading home.  So, how to squander our remaining time?

After considering a lot of options, we have decided to go for Guadalupe National Monument in Texas, just south of Carlsbad Caverns.  We’ve dropped in there a few times but never had the right weather to go hiking in the mountains, and that’s really what Guadalupe is all about.  The park is at about 5,000 feet, with higher mountain peaks, and summer is the time to be there so we’re going for it.

This means major sacrifices, however.  My dream of browsing the Mogollon Rim with its glorious cool forests will fall by the wayside.  We’ll have to miss Valley of Fire Recreation Area and a lot of scenic driving in northern New Mexico.  Going to Guadalupe means we will exit at El Paso on I-10 and follow a well-worn path through the lower desert across New Mexico and Arizona.  It’s not an interesting drive after the first dozen or so times, and the temperatures will be abominable.

There’s one other sacrifice as well.  We drove another 400 miles today (OK, to be accurate it was only 380) to Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon TX, just south of Amarillo.  We arrived at 6 p.m., just in time to take a peek and get our campsite set up. This is a beautiful place that deserves more exploration than we’ll be able to give it, because we have to leave tomorrow morning to drive another 380 miles to Guadalupe.

I had considered spending two nights here, as we really should, but if we do that we’ll be arriving in Guadalupe on Friday night and there’s a good chance that the campground will be full.  They don’t accept reservations there, and the campground is small.  So our best strategy is to arrive on Thursday and squat on our site through the weekend.  That will give us lots of time to go hiking and decompress from the cross-country drive.  In other words, we are sacrificing Palo Duro and a few other things to get a really good visit in at Guadalupe.  I think it will be worth the tradeoff.

Blog note:  Verizon doesn’t work in this canyon so today’s blog is being posted on Thursday and backdated.  Also, prior experience has shown that our Internet connection  is extremely marginal at Guadalupe, so it’s questionable whether the blog will get updated over the weekend, but I’ll try.


  1. John Irwin says

    Next time you get to Palo Duro Canyon, I hope it is a bit cooler part of the year. If so, take the (longish) hike to the Lighthouse. You can climb up on the Lighthouse base for a great view of parts of the park that most folks never see.

  2. Tom Palesch says

    Reading the bio of Charlie Goodnight lured us to Palo Duro Canyon this spring. We had a couple of wonderful days there until a gullywasher up on the rim chased us out of the canyon as the river there reached flood stage.

    It is a beautiful spot, second largest canyon in the USA and surrounded with great museums and visitor centers.