After leaving Amazon, we headed for Oklahoma City. With a winter storm coming, we decided stop in OKC for Christmas and enjoy the campground we found with an indoor pool and hot tub. The day after we arrived, we decided to take the girls ice skating in downtown OKC. They had never been before, so we knew it would be a great memory to go ice skating on Christmas Eve for the first time. We didn’t want to unload Blondie from the trailer, so we decided to check another first off the list. We called a taxi to come get us and take us to the skating rink. It was a short cab ride, but the girls thought it was cool nonetheless.
After skating we had a project on our hands when we got back to the bus. The girls have been making gingerbread houses for Santa every Christmas Eve for several years now, so we decided to improvise and make graham cracker houses this year. The graham cracker houses were not as easy to construct with buttercream icing, but we finally got them to work and they turned out pretty good for a first attempt. Santa even ate some of the walls when he stopped by. The winter storm didn’t hit OKC like predicted but the cold did. High winds and temps never getting above the mid 20’s made the hot tub feel extra comfy.
After we made it through the storm of little snow in OKC, we hit the road again on our way to Texas. The drive was very uneventful with mile after mile of similar scenery. We made it to Amarillo and hit the Big Texan Steak Ranch for dinner. I didn’t have the “Gut” for the 72 Oz. steak challenge, but while we were there one feller did. We didn’t stay to see if he completed the challenge, but we got to go up and look at the size of the steak. The mountain oysters (AKA Lamb Balls) were very good, I will stop there next time just for those. We got a 24 Oz. steak to share, the girls had a good time and the steak was very well seasoned and aged.
After leaving Amarillo the following morning, we stopped by the Cadillac Ranch to check out the old cars buried in the dirt many years ago. They let you paint the cars with your initials or whatever you want, so I think there is more weight in paint there than steel. I helped Chas climb up on one of the cars to add a nice Scholl Bus signature. Lydia had fun painting too, but it was too cold to hang around too long.
We zipped across the Texas countryside since we had some friends to catch up with in Albuquerque. Once we crossed into New Mexico, the landscape began to change as we climbed several thousand feet into the high desert. The Scholl Bus is not a quick way to travel when you have to start climbing mountains. Several of the climbs had us down to 20 mph, so it took longer to travel that leg of the journey than we expected. We arrived in Albuquerque a little after sunset, and met our friends for a very nice dinner.
Since we hadn’t unloaded Blondie (our Mercedes station wagon) from the trailer, we were picked up the next morning by our Albuquerque tour guides. They came in 2 vehicles to haul everyone and had a great day planned for us. Our first stop was the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center where we were treated to some learning and entertainment provided by a very well known couple. Shelley Morningsong played beautiful music on several different Native American flutes, while her husband Fabian Fontenelle danced some tribal dances for us teaching us a little about their heritage and the meaning of the dances. I recommend going to their sites and learning more about them. I would have posted some pictures of them, but they asked that we not share any images taken during their performance, so I am honoring their request. There are plenty of pictures on their website, as well as video clips.
After the dancing and music, we were entertained by a storyteller and author. Emmett “Shkeme” Garcia is Santa Ana Pueblo, he is very proud of his heritage and loves passing down stories told to him by the elders of his community. Lydia decided to buy one of his books, and he autographed it for her. It was a special book to receive since it hadn’t been released for sale yet, the copyright in the front of the book was 2013, and we were still in December of 2012. Mr. Garcia is also the lead singer of a band called Native Roots, they perform original Reggae songs all across the States.
Our time in Albuquerque was short, but filled with fun and great friends. We left the following morning on our trip south due to the snow that was expected to fall over the mountains. We had planned to visit White Sands National Monument and play in the gypsum, but the weather turned us west to try to outrun more snow. We stopped in Deming, New Mexico, for the night, camping in the busiest Walmart parking lot for trucks and RV overnighters we have seen yet. I woke up early on New Years Eve to continue our westward journey (still trying to outrun snow) but we had a slight hiccup in our plans. Laini described it best when she said “Daddy, the bus is bleeding”.
See our next post for the continuation of the Trip to Quartzsite…