It took us two days of driving to finally make it out of Texas. The first leg took us from Austin to Cap Rock State Park, just south of Amarillo and amid “several small herds of small bison,” according to my traveling companion.
We split the driving equally. I took the first leg, she the second. I don’t remember who was driving when we careened into the Underwood’s parking lot for legendary BBQ and cherry cobbler. Ala Mode. We earned it. Winds gusted the entire first day of driving, buffeting the RV like grandma’s bloomers on the clothesline, and making for a very noisy, very taxing time behind the wheel. Never mind that Texas highways generally do not have medians or guardrails or really anything to prevent violent head-on collisions. Never mind that one minute we’re cruising along at 80 mph and suddenly there’s a stoplight or someone turning left. Texas roadways are bonkers. Truly.
Alas, our schedule did not allow for much dilly or dally, languishing or loitering, so we pressed on the next morning after a quick drive around the park to gaze upon the red rock canyons and meandering beasties before heading into downtown Quitaque (KIT tee-kway), TX, for breakfast at the local coffee shop. I bought a t-shirt that says “Quitaque, TX” on a bison. Sated and properly caffeinated, we pointed the RV in the wrong direction and went an hour out of our way. But, as my friend Laura says, “Win a win, few a few.”
The winds died down, and we could hear each other enough to talk as we headed toward Colorado Springs. Gas mileage improved significantly (when we left Austin, gas was $3.09/gal), as did our moods, with the decreased winds and easier driving. That first day, I was a tiny bit concerned I had a very rattle-ish RV. This day, with very little wind, my fears abated. I had an RV with a normal amount of rattle.
We camped that second night at the base of Cheyenne Mountain—the home of NORAD. The views from our campsite were stunning: sweeping vistas of the city below, the great gray and snowy mountains lunging skyward directly behind us. The bathrooms were quite a hike from the campsite, but given that we’d been sitting on our asses for two days just driving out of Texas, a little walking wasn’t going to hurt us. And even though the bathrooms were a hike, they were also fairly new and well-maintained. Cheyenne Mountain State Park had only been a park since the early 2000s. We read about NORAD and said a little prayer before bed that the world leaders could all just get along for the next little bit.
The next day my niece and her boyfriend, who live just outside of Denver, told me that conspiracy theorists believe subterranean tunnels connect NORAD with Denver International Airport. And that big blue horse at the entrance to DIA, Blucifer? Not only did he kill his creator (he did, google it), but he also has something to do with the tunnels. Apparently.
From there we had just a short hop to the Holiday Inn Express at the Denver International Airport where she went back to Austin and I continued on toward Jackson Hole and points North and West.
It’s a terrible time, gas-price-wise, to have just purchased an RV.