A Day in Amarillo, TX

Amarillo Travel Blog

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Margo & Jessi just lounging around

Today is Aunt Murrel’s birthday and our last full day in Amarillo. We made plans to take Aunt Murrel to lunch, but we first had to have breakfast. There was left over chocolate gravy, and fresh biscuits, eggs, bacon, and sausage were cooked up. It was pretty much a repeat performance of the day before, and no went away hungry.


I’m very interested in genealogy and Aunt Murrel and Wonda Carol were going to take us to the cemetery to pay our respects. That was on the agenda for the day. For the past two years, Jessi and I have had a “thing” for Hooter’s restaurants.

Ashlynn SImpson, Aunt Murrel's great-granddaughter
She likes to collect clothing from the various restaurants around the country, when we visit a new city. I like the scenery. So even when I travel for business, if there is a Hooters there I stop, try to get a picture with me and the girls, and pick Jessi up a new Tee, top, or other unique item. Amarillo has a Hooters, so that was on the plate. I wanted to visit Cadillac Ranch, as it was so unusual and Margo wanted to get her Aunt Murrell something for her birthday. And I already mentioned lunch with Aunt Murrel. We figured that would pretty much take us through to dinner. After that we would wing it.


We decided to get Hooters out of the way first. So we all piled into two cars, and I led the way. Really, if you have seen one Hooters you have pretty much seen them all.

LaWanda Houston Simpson, grandaughtr of Aunt Murrel, and Ashlynn's mom
The food is good; nothing special, except it is overpriced. The draw is obvious, unless you are blind. You have half naked, beautiful women that bring you food and beer. For the average male this is close to heaven. But, we weren’t going to eat here today. Somehow I didn’t think Aunt Murrel wanted to spend her birthday there. Chippendales, maybe, but not Hooters. We just needed to grab a few souvenirs. There are people who collect shot glasses or shirts from Hard Rock Cafés; my daughter likes the Hooters stuff. I think it’s original, at least in a girl. Aunt Murrel and Patty waited in the car while we made a quick stop inside. $45.00 dollars later, we were on our way. I’m basically a shy guy (& we were in a hurry), so I didn’t ask to take a picture this time. I need to work on that shyness stuff. Oh, well, the scenery was still nice. Best in Amarillo.


Lunch was up next, and we went to a favorite of the Amarillo crowd, called Zookinis.

Grave of H.M. Alexander, Aunt Murrel's brother
Several of Aunt Murrel’s daughters joined us, and we had a very nice lunch. Also joining us was one Aunt Murrel’s granddaughters and her daughter, giving us four generations celebrating. I had my camera and spent part of the lunch trying to get a couple of descent pictures, to use should I ever get around to writing a family history book about the Alexander side of Margo’s family. As such, I don’t remember much about the lunch. But everyone had a nice time.


With lunch over, it was time for shopping. We started at Kohls and then went to Wal-Mart  I get bored with this sort of thing pretty easily, so while we were in the stores, I took a few pictures of us shopping or trying on hats. Kohl's didn't have a problem, but a lady that worked at Wal-Mart came over and told me that taking pictures inside the store was not allowed.

Margo and her Aunt Murrel. She turned 80 in 2004 and is sharp as a tack
I was so flustered I couldn’t speak. Did she think I was corporate spy? Me thinks Wal-Mart, whatever their reason, has gotten a bit paranoid. So feeling embarrassed which on retrospect I’m not sure why, I complied. At least I had the presence of mind not to apologize.


We had now had our excitement for the day, and secured a gift for Aunt Murrel. Next, we went over to the cemetery so Aunt Murrel and Wonda Carol could show us the graves of Aunt Murrel’s brother and husband. I snapped pictures, as having a record of the tombstone makes it easy to get the dates correct and if you write a biography about the person the photo makes a good way to end the story.  That didn’t take too long, even though they were on opposite ends of the graveyard. With that ticked off our To-Do List, it was off for a quick trip to the hospital where Aunt Murrel used to work.

l/r Jessi, Wonda Carol, Patty, and Margo in their natural habitat.


Aunt Murrel had wanted to make sure that her Colorado relatives got to see where she worked for several decades. And I’ll be damned if I can remember which hospital it was. I am terrible about this sort of thing, which is why when I interview someone about family history I take notes. No notes this time, but we only drove to it, parked in the lot and Aunt Murrell pointed at a couple of windows, told a few stories, and soon we left. She was starting to tire. We kept her in the car as much as possible, and minimized the amount of walking she had to do. But still her normal day consists of a few chores around her house, with Wonda Carol helping out quite a bit.


But there was one last thing on the list.

Looks good, don't you think?
I wanted to see The Cadillac Ranch. Cadillac Ranch is a very unusual art display, which I wrote a review to describe in more detail. But, it’s a piece of Americana and located on part of the old Route 66 (even though I-40 now occupies the same space), so to me it was a must see.  We followed Wonda Carol, and she drives like a native of New York City instead of the panhandle of Texas. I kept up, but only because she wasn’t trying to lose me. Perhaps she missed her calling as a getaway driver. Anyway we got there, parked on the side of the road, went through the gate and walked along a path, about 100 yards or so to the display. June in Amarillo is definitely a summer month, and Aunt Murrell and Patty were waiting for us in the cars, so we didn’t take long to snap a few pictures, and look at the cars. 15 minutes later we were on our way back home for dinner.
Margo & Jessi at The Cadillac Ranch, outside of Amarillo



We had pretty much killed the afternoon. We had been having leftovers from the Bar B Q on Sunday, and they were still very good. As is the case with most get togethers like that one, there is always too much food. Aunt Murrel grew up in the Great Depression, so leftover food is not to be wasted. She would have been upset if she had had to throw any of it out. We, Margo, Jessi, and Patty did our best to make sure that did not happen.


Margo, Jessi, Patty, and Wonda Carol decided to go out and play bingo tonight. I wasn’t interested. The game Bingo is OK, but those old ladies take it way too seriously. They have about twenty cards, a dobber, and then it’s like Bruce Lee in Fists of Fury when the calling starts. And while all that is going on they all smoke cigarettes like the fumes were laced with pure luck. So I come home smelling like smoke, and $30.00 poorer. Not tonight. Aunt Murrel was of the same idea, so we decided to stay home and visit.

I enjoy talking with people of the older generations. They are walking pieces of history. And at Aunt Murrel’s age, all you have to do is ask a question and she will start. Most are just dying to tell about the old times. I love to hear about them, and as I do plan to eventually write a book about that side I took some notes. I think we chatted for about three hours before the others returned home. I got a lot of information and Aunt Murrel would later tell Wonda Carol and Patty that she really enjoyed it too. But, that was it for the evening. We said our good byes, and Margo, Jessi, and I (no bingo winners, by the way) climbed into the Impala and went back to our hotel. Patty was and had been staying with Aunt Murrel. They would have made room for all of us, but I hate being an imposition. And, truthfully, I feel more comfortable at a hotel.

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Margo & Jessi just lounging around
Margo & Jessi just lounging around
Ashlynn SImpson, Aunt Murrels gre…
Ashlynn SImpson, Aunt Murrel's gr…
LaWanda Houston Simpson, grandaugh…
LaWanda Houston Simpson, grandaug…
Grave of H.M. Alexander, Aunt Murr…
Grave of H.M. Alexander, Aunt Mur…
Margo and her Aunt Murrel. She tur…
Margo and her Aunt Murrel. She tu…
l/r Jessi, Wonda Carol, Patty, and…
l/r Jessi, Wonda Carol, Patty, an…
Looks good, dont you think?
Looks good, don't you think?
Margo & Jessi at The Cadillac Ranc…
Margo & Jessi at The Cadillac Ran…
Amarillo Sights & Attractions review
Cadillac Ranch
The owner of Cadillac Ranch, Stanley Marsh 3 (not III, too pretentious), made his money in helium, and is said to have so much of it (money, not heliu… read entire review
photo by: fabienuk