Day 2 started off a little rough given the lack of sleep due to the storm. Once Penny & I were ready to make some moves, I made some quick eggs, broke down camp, and hit the road. First stop, the Cadillac Ranch. Not familiar? That’s reasonable. It’s literally a bunch of Cadillacs that have been stuck nose down in the ground, just off I40 in Amarillo. Given all the rain the night before and the overcast skies still lingering, the whole situation felt very post-apocalyptic, but that didn’t deter Pig Pen from checking things out. Apparently bringing spray paint and adding something to the cars is a thing people do, but I had only found out about it just prior to arriving, so that wasn’t in the cards for me. There were plenty of half-full ones on the ground (which drove me insane), but I decided to move on without leaving my mark.
After leaving Cadillac Ranch, we drove just a bit more until we hit our first State Park of the trip, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, just south east of Amarillo. The scenery was pretty, but an attempted hike in the valley was thwarted by the previous day’s rain. It was essentially just a bowl of clay mud. We made it about a quarter mile into the hike before we had to turn back, unfortunately. It was a bummer we weren’t able to hike, but overall it was still a cool stop.
Once we had seen enough of Texas, we made our way east to Hinton, Oklahoma, home of Red Rocks Canyon State Park. The location came as a suggestion from a sweet woman at welcome center, and while it was a nice place to camp, I’ve come to realize the woman at the Welcome Center may have a different standard for “really cool.” I suppose I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to land formations made of red rocks, given my familiarity with Red Rocks Amphitheater and Garden of the Gods. The state park had 3 campgrounds, 1 of which was empty, 1 had a young couple car camping, and then there was the third campground which Penny & I had to ourselves, despite the 30+ available sites within that campground. Certainly no complaints from me on that.
I was able to get camp setup pretty quickly, leaving enough time to take a nice hike with Penny after making dinner. Alltrails didn’t have a ton of details on the area, and the trails it was saying existed didn’t align with what was present in the real world. We made it about 1.5 miles in before having to take a turn back towards the camp ground road because the trail was becoming indistinguishable.
I was nice and relaxed, settled into bed and reading a book for the first time in forever when I heard someone trying to get into my bins outside. I called out, but got no response. I hadn’t heard anyone walk up, which seemed odd given that they were now clearly trying to steal my food. I went to the door with my big maglight (read: bludgeoning club) and stuck my head out. Now, I had looked, and there were no bears in the area, so I didn’t think much of leaving my latched food containers in front of the campsite. What I hadn’t thought about was the trash panda (raccoon) that would try to snag some snacks. Fortunately some loud yelling and banging around convinced him to leave.
Just as the adrenaline started to subside from what I had briefly been certain was a hungry drifter invading my space, Penny alerted again. Now when I say alert, I don’t mean she barked to scare off the threat or anything useful. I just mean she stood up at attention and stared intently out the window, clearly fixated on something. Barking, and letting the intruder know there is an animal here…that would have just been too helpful. Trash Panda came back for round 2 of investigating after I had moved all the bins into the car. More yelling, more banging, and he scurried off into the night. That was the last visit I was aware of from the little rascal, however I suspect more came to investigate once the cough medicine kicked in and I was out cold.