texas road trip ideas
my sister and i want to see the texas plains and need some suggestions for a route from amarillo to fort worth. we're into two lane roads, interesting landscapes, junk stores, cool bars, great food and cowboy stuff. we'll be driving from alabama to amarillo. oh yeah, we're gonna be on the road the week after july 4th and taking about six days leaving from northern alabama.
Cowboy stuff, eh?
Well, Texas would be a good place to start...
My suggestion for your route is: US287 to Claude, then SR207 and SR86 south and east to Turkey, then SR70 south to Jayton. Then follow US380 and US180 toward Ft Worth.
Perhaps some other knowledgeable Texas poster has some ideas about this as well?
Are you interested in history? If so, check out the Black Kettle National Grassland, the Washita Battlefield and the Black Kettle Museum north of Sayre, Oklahoma. In 1868, "General Custer" was on the winning side of a one-sided fight (so he had prior experience with such things before Little Bighorn, 8 years later). It happened on the Washita River, against a peacefully-camped band of Cheyennes led by Black Kettle. The site is worth a look! Bob
From Amarillo, or to Amarillo?
Coming from northern Alabama, if you're making the circle trip to Amarillo and then back to Fort Worth, six days is not enough time to see/do anything. I'm not even sure you could drive the circuit Alabama-Amarillo-Fort Worth-Alabama in that timeframe.
However, if you mean from Fort Worth west to Amarillo in six days, then by all means...
You can take any of several routes along old farm roads - many of which follow early cattle drive trails from the plains of Texas (which are a bit south of where you're headed) to the Lubbock-Amarillo panhandle area. The route mentioned earlier (in reverse, of course) would probably be right up your alley.
Really, the land up there is quite flat and uninhabited. Most of the interesting things between DFW and Amarillo are human-made. There is an abundance of tiny towns and trading posts, but if you're looking for sparkling nightlife you will be too far north. However, if no-frills honky-tonk/roadhouse action is your thing, you'll be in heaven.
There are a few things I've seen that might be worth a look, if you're into the oddball stuff:
Starting in the Dallas area, there is Plano which has the cultural hotspot that is the Cockroach Museum. The best part about this is not the little dried-and-painted-and-dressed cockroaches (although the sheer size of some of them is baffling), it's the dude that runs the place. He's a scream.
Just north of there is McKinney, where you can eat in an old 30s-era prison which has been converted to a restaurant.
If you head more or less due west out of the DFW area, you'll run into Weatherford, which is home to the granddaddy of all rattlesnake ranches.
Just south of there is Granbury, which is one of my favorites - but if you're shy you won't get much out of it. Granbury is supposedly the town chosen by Jesse James and Billy the Kid as a place to disappear after faking their own deaths at the hands of the law. Story goes that Jesse and later Billy allowed police to shoot other people, and escaped to this small town. Locals claim that Jesse James lived here well into the 1950s, and then died at the age of 104 or some such thing. Billy the Kid was supposedly around long enough to attend Jesse's 100th birthday party. Also on the list of past residents is John Wilkes Booth, who apparently escaped after shooting Lincoln and ended up in Granbury tending bar until he died of old age. In the cemetery are gravestones for the 'real' outlaws, but the fun part is the assortment of local folks who love to help you understand the details of the goings-on. Nearby is a 'museum' dedicated to letting us all in on the scientific proof that humans coexisted with dinosaurs, and that evolution is a crock (this one is not for the faint-of-heart, especially if you speak up about the ridiculousness of it all - they will try to convert you). The fun of this bizarre corner of the world is in arguing or egging on the conspiracy theorists.
Just about where you turn to the north to head up the panhandle is Snyder, which is a must-stop when travelling with motorheads - there's a gold-covered DeLorean in downtown Snyder.
If you head north out of DFW rather than due west, you run along the Red River and the Oklahoma border. This way you run through Wichita Falls, which oddly enough did not have any 'falls' whatsoever until the locals got fed up with people asking 'So, where are the falls?' and built one of their own. It's a doozy, too.
Just north of this route, and east of Amarillo, is Shamrock where they have an actual piece of the real Blarney Stone that you can touch/kiss for luck. (This is a good place to have a few beers.)
Amarillo itself has its own fair share of silliness, not the least of which is of course the Cadillac Ranch. They have one now that is VW Bugs, too. Make sure you buy some spray paint before you head over there - they encourage you to leave your mark. The guy who constructed this also has some other odd things in his fields, most of which make interesting photos if nothing else.
Of course, the famous steakhouse just outside of Amarillo where you can find the 'Eat-it-all-and-it's-free' steaks is always fun. (I recommend you just go intending to watch, because that's more fun). If you want to try it yourself, keep in mind that it's six pounds, although you aren't required to eat the fat or any bones. Of course, you are required to finish your salad and potato as well as all of the meat. They charge you about 60 bucks up front, and then when you're done, if you finished it all, they give you your money back and a t-shirt. The most amusing person I ever saw actually do it was this 14-year-old kid who was about 4'10 and maybe 90 pounds. His big ol' daddy couldn't keep up!
One other tip, since y'all are interested in cowboys and bars - remember that Lubbock county is dry!
reply to boredtxgirl
thanks....you posted exactly the kind of info i was looking for. my sis and i are into the strange, obscure, and hilarious. we're not counting the travel time from alabama; so we've got six days to make this whirlwind tour in her vintage 70s t-bird to find honky tonks and roaches in drag! we've not been in this part of the country before and are actually looking forward to the wide open, empty spaces.