Texas Hospitality

Day 8 of our Yellowstone Adventure found us overnighting at the Amarillo KOA, our third overnight there. Among other things, Amarillo is known for its meatpacking industry, one of the largest in the nation, and was once called the “Helium Capitol of the World,” for having one of the country’s most active helium fields. The city takes its name from the Spanish word for “yellow,” so Amarillo is also known as “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

Regardless of whether you visit Amarillo for a great steak (the Big Texan Steak Ranch offers to pick up the tab for anyone who can finish a 72-ounce steak in one hour) or a quick high (helium is the second lightest element in the universe) or to simply stop and smell the roses, it’s a great place to enjoy some Texas hospitality. The folks are friendly and unpretentious, and life is laid back.

We rolled in close to 8 p.m. and were led to our campsite, where we set up for the night amid the sounds of planes (the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport is nearby), trains (the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad contributed to the city’s growth) and automobiles. A ranch hand named Bill showed us one of the rustic cabins and explained how it was built on site. You never know where our dreams may lead.

Our doggies found not only relief but also a small measure of freedom at Kamp K9, a dog park feature at many KOAs. Confession: We failed to clean up after them. It was late, after all, and we were tired, and…well, OK, there’s no good excuse.

We had been saving Cliff’s exceptional pasta e fagioli soup for this special night, and it was well worth the wait. A little late night TV, a welcome shower and we soon fell into bed, exhausted but serene.

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