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Happy Holidays in the Texas Panhandle

Is This the Way to Amarillo?

After we left Livingston, we headed northwest for Amarillo, Texas to join Josh’s family for the holidays.

Dovahkiin on the road

When we start our cross-country adventures, we plan on traveling 200-300 miles every two weeks. This was our first big haul (the trip from Houston to Livingston was only 60 miles), and it was an ambitious 585 miles.

We left at 8:30 in the morning and stopped frequently to top off the tank, unsure about how fast we’d guzzle fuel.

Pulling through the truck stops along with the 18-wheelers was enlightening. Check out this crazy tab from the previous driver.

Trucks consume diesel on a whole new level

It was gratifying when we arrived at Fort Amarillo RV Resort in one piece after a good 11 or 12 hours.

Even though it was dark, our site was a pull-through near the front, so it was easy to get in. Josh’s parents met us at the RV and provided flashlights and moral support.

Duck and fishing pond

Although we have very little experience with RV parks, this one seems to have quite a lot of amenities. There’s a catch-and-release pond, walking trails, a 24-hour gym, a heated indoor pool, a dog run, a tennis/basketball court, firepit, free wifi and more.

Bench by the pond

In the Texas Panhandle, there aren’t a lot of trees to provide isolation. The park makes up for it by separating each site with a low privacy fence.

The Wild West theme doesn’t feel overdone here, overlooking the high plains.

Saloon doors

One of my favorite amenities at the park is their propane filling service. All you have to do is leave your tank out and let the office know, and they fill it up for you. When you leave, you just pay off your tab.

Christmas decor at Lizzie Mae’s Mercantile

The RV park is also home to Lizzie Mae’s Mercantile, a cute gift shop. It’s all decked out for the holiday. I’ve definitely done some late Christmas shopping here.

Lizzie Mae’s inside

Holiday Celebrations with the Fam

Ever since arriving, we’ve been taking every opportunity to hang out with family. We started with a Cowboys game.

I’m starting to see why folks like football

The whole gang of 10 came together for Christmas. After spending my childhood Christmases in North Carolina with just my parents, it’s always a treat to enjoy big family gatherings in Amarillo.

Every year, my mother-in-law puts up a Christmas tree decorated with angels playing violins. It really is a beautiful sight.

Family Christmas tree

After Christmas, we were treated to another wonderful celebration: Josh’s 30th birthday in Las Vegas.Since we didn’t take the RV — and because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas — I won’t go into detail on Ardent Camper. It did involve a fancy limo, lots of walking, blackjack and two fantastic shows: Absinthe and a performance by the Blue Man Group. Our vote? A+

Las Vegas trip

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

After three days, we returned to Amarillo and were greeted by an Arctic blast, with sub-freezing temperatures and high wind speeds accompanied by snow.

Not-so-warm welcome back to Texas

All of Amarillo was transformed into a winter wonderland.

As pretty as it was, though, I could’ve done without it. Because slowly, stuff stopped working.

Pretty but not so fun

First, our kitchen sink developed a clog (possibly caused by ice — but we still don’t know why because temperatures haven’t risen above freezing).

Then our truck’s windshield wiper snapped and tail light went out.

Icy duck pond

The worst of it was when our propane regulator busted, which meant we couldn’t get any heat at all. This happened on a 4 degree night (-14 degree wind chill).

We packed up the dog and cat and retreated to Josh’s parents’ house for the night.

Propane automatic changeover regulator

On New Year’s Eve, we spent the day filling up the propane tanks, replacing truck parts and fixing the regulator. It ended up being a $50 DIY fix — so it wasn’t too bad, just cold!

We plan on heading back to Houston on January 3rd, but continued bad weather may keep us in Amarillo for a bit longer.

Either way, we’re so excited it’s finally 2015, and our great adventure is just about underway. What’s on your docket for the coming year?

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