Many people asked me “Why Amarillo”. Simple: I was in Dallas and going to Santa Fe. You take the major Truck Route 287 and pass many tiny towns that were once thriving. I recommend driving around a few. With the help of the Chairman of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, I had been told about some of the special places I would visit in Amarillo. I confess the question that people had asked me, rang in my ears. Regardless I was on my way. FYI: Gas stations and fast-fooders are not frequent along Rt. 287- so plan. A hoot: In the major Rest Area there is a sign: Beware of Rattlesnakes. I do not like worms, so you can correctly deduce that I did not get out of my car and stretch my legs. Legs were suddenly feeling just fine.
The population of Amarillo is about 190,695 so we are not speaking about small. I arrived on a Sunday and found my hotel – originally a major business building. It was midafternoon and as I investigated with the hotel attendant, I was told everything is closed on Sunday except 6th Avenue which was part of the original Route 66 and has a lot of super fun shops and the special Cowboy Gelato restaurant. A few minutes in my room and with directions and suggestions from the desk clerk, I was 6th Avenue bound.
A few blocks up and a left turn and there I was- 6th Ave. Immediately I could tell, what a fun place to discover and maybe I just might find a treasure or two. The recommended Cowboy Gelato is a must. Fun funky delicious. Not expensive. There are many dessert choices. Umpteen flavors of Gelatos.
Discovering 6th Avenue was not difficult. Antique, vintage, regular shops lined the streets. What a delight! GO! The next day, I knew would be full, so back to the hotel for an onsite snack and anxious for the next day. Just be sure to go and enjoy 6th Avenue in Amarillo.
Here are some of my Amarillo discoveries. Something different -and it is free- the Amarillo Cattle Auction which is one of the largest Cattle Auctions in Texas. It is held every Monday. Each year 100,000 head of cattle are auctioned. The very popular [when I was there] on site restaurant Youngblood’s Stockyard Café is a happening place. Now it has moved to a larger place. 620 S.W. 16th Avenue. Be sure to find it. The breakfast is still quite special – large, filling, delicious. Everything is delicious, but not petite. A new restaurant has filled its place. The actual cattle auction was interesting. Next on the agenda was a huge surprise. The magnificent Quarter Horse Museum. I-40 East: 806-376-5181. Whether you are an equine aficionado or not, this museum is a must to visit. Upon seeing the magnificent statuary out front, you have only a smidgeon of an idea what is inside. It is a beautiful museum that is extremely well done with exceptional statuary and well presented displays. Don’t be surprised if your want to join the world of Quarter Horse owners.
A fun unique, kooky, interesting, informative “museum” is Jack Sizemore’s RV Museum. It is free and open from 9-5 Monday – Saturday. Even if RV’s are not your cup of tea, go and see just what the RV of today has evolved from – OH MY! You just might hear yourself saying that an early one is “cute” or then one of the elaborate later ones are “moving mansions”. Quite something. There are also other motor and travel items on display Some are hilarious. You will smile, laugh and have a good time and smile, whenever you think of your visit to the RV Museum.
Of course there are many places to eat but one of the most famous [I did not have a chance to dine there – next time] is the BIG TEXAN. North side of I 40 between Lakeland and Whitaker.806-370-6000. If half a million people eat there a year, I would say they are doing something right. There is a motel in site with a swimming pool the shape of Texas [leave it to those Texans!] and a parking lot that is large enough for cars, RV, trucks and such, all at the same time.
You now know a little bit more about Amarillo. FUN. Some of the famous Amarilloans: Cyd Charisse, T.Boone Pickens, Jr., Astronaut Rick Hubbard and more.
The next Driving Diva’s review will be a real humdinger. A totally fabulous, wonderful serendipity. But then of course I think that about all…well most all.
Gerry Hempel Davis worked for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, was the youngest female in the control room of the Ed Sullivan Show, and was for several years a contributing lifestyle correspondent for The Today Show. She is the author of the authorized history of The Today Show as well as The Moving Experience. In recent years Gerry Davis has logged over 100,000 miles on America's highways and byways, stumbling upon sites that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. She’s written three books on her road trips including ROMANCING THE ROADS: A DRIVING DIVA’S FIRST HAND GUIDE: Vol I
(East of the Mississippi) and Vol II (West of the Mississippi).