This was just a short three day trip with my cousin Larry, but was still a nice little adventure. We left out of the Dallas area on April 3rd headed west towards the pan handle of Texas. After meeting up in Gainesville, TX a little after 11am, we headed west on 82 and picked up highway 287 towards Wichita Falls stopping off for a quick bite to eat at Wendy's. Since we got a later start than expected, we decided to stay the night in Childress, TX and not risk getting into Canyon too late, and it was calling for inclement weather on top of that. After grabbing some supper at Top Notch BBQ, we retired back to the room for a Crown Royal and a few laughs.
We left Childress the next morning at 8:30, fueled up and continued on 287 to Cap Rock Canyon. It was pretty cold all day with temps in the 50's, but we were able to stop off in the state park and track down a few bison. Apparently, the park has one of the largest heard of bison in the U.S., but we were only able to see a dozen or so from a pretty far distance. We headed out of the park with our next stop being Canyon, TX and stopped in for lunch at a local Mexican joint next to the college. By then it was cold as hades and the temperature had dropped to about 43 degrees with extremely high winds and a bit of rain. It was only late afternoon, but we decided to head on into the Palo Duro State Park and stake out our accommodations.
We stayed in this one-room, stone hut that was built in the 1930's. It was well-equipped with a small space heater, fireplace, lantern, microwave, table and bunk beds. No running water, TV or toilet but we did have a faucet outside. After thawing out and relaxing for a bit, we took a power nap and woke up and cooked a wonderful supper consisting of a Hungry Man chicken dinner and Marie Clair Lasagna, with a specialty cookie for desert. Larry thought it would be a good idea to build a fire, but it only smoked up the hut so we had to air out the joint and heat it back up with the space heater. Luckily, it didn't take long since the place was only about 300 square feet. After feeding the turkey's that run wild all over the park we had a little Crown Royal and retired for the evening.
The next morning was a fridged 34 degrees. I put on every layer of clothes I had and we headed out to get quick glimpse of the park before heading back to the Dallas area. It's a small park as it relates to riding motorcycles, so it only takes about 20 minutes to ride through the whole place and make a loop. Even though Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the U.S. behind the Grand Canyon, there is really no comparison. It was pretty and all, but after seeing the Grand Canyon and riding out west, this was lack luster to say the least. All I could think about was how cold it was, so I was ready to see some sunshine.
We headed back the way we came in and stopped off at a few places to rest and refuel. While riding through Flordada, TX, I caught a piece of metal in my rear tire and had a flat. I was lucky enough to see it and was able to get to a local tire shop called Graham's Tire. Thanks to those guys for plugging me up and getting me back on the road. The hole was big enough that my trusty fix-a-flat would not seal it, so now I carry a trusty plug kit of my own. After a final stop at Nana's Cafe for lunch, cousin Larry and I parted ways in Gainseville and made it home safely.