Always On Liberty Crew goes to the BIG TEXAN!!

When you come to Texas, you’ve got to expect to eat a big honkin’ piece
of beef!  Its a right of passage.  Its what you DO in Texas.  Its what you EAT in Texas.   If you don’t, your friendly Texans get their feelings
hurt and will give you a salad…and laugh at you. No, really, its true!! 

You can’t miss the plentiful billboards of I-40 near Amarillo, tourist brochures in every establishment and of course the huge yellow building with the big, truck-size steer in the front of the building on Route 66 with Texas flags flying.  They say it’s a ‘Landmark Legend’.  The place lights up like Christmas!  I bet Rudolph has no problem finding it to deliver Santa for a quick bite.  They even promote by offering free limo rides to and from the RV park.  Their limo cars all have huge ‘long horns’ on the hoods like Boss Hogg’s car on the Dukes of Hazard.  Its no exception, they too, do everything BIG here.  Its a Texas thang.  I mean, LOOK at that place!!



 So what are two former Pennsylvania carnivores, who know their beef, to do while we were in Amarillo??  We ‘fine dined’ at The Big Texan Steak Ranch, of course!  We were met at the door by Cowgirl and Cowboy waitstaff, all decked out in their plaid shirts, stetsons, boots and spurs, who took us to our table.  There was nothing formal in this restaurant so leave your pearls at home; you may get some bbq or steak sauce on them.
Now, if
you’re a fan of that tv show ‘Man vs. Food’, you may recollect seeing an
episode of Adam Richmond trying his appetite to conquer the 72 ounce
steak…and all of the fixins that went with it (salad, baked potato and roll).   Well, we can’t remember if he beat the challenge but we remember his bragging about this meaty restaurant; we just had to go.  Anyone who beats the challenge (there’s actually a special raised table at the front of the restaurant with big digital clocks and tv cameras to record it…even!) gets to walk out without paying the bill.  Imagine that!  How easy would that be?   

Well, we didn’t have the kajones nor the appetites to take on the Man vs. Food challenge of the 72 ounce steak dinner however, we started with the perfectly crispy fried ‘shrooms with awesome secret sauce and then to our entree’s of BBQ ribs and the 24 oz. steak dinner and went home with people bags (if you don’t have dogs or even if you do, they’re not doggie bags). 

Our meal was absolutely delicious!  The steak was outstanding; perfectly cooked in my requested medium-rare with a steamy, plump baked potato and see that pepper thing on the steak?  Was I supposed to chow that down too?  I had the salad prior as part of my meal.  Dan had the ribs slathered with fantastic BBQ sauce and crispy onion rings; also had a big honkin’ salad prior.  We were happy campers with our meal and the waitstaff was on the ball with our beverages.  We’d give this awesome peculiar steakhouse a 5 out of 5 stars.  It was THAT good!  The steak was criss-cross charred exceptionally and melted in my mouth after only a few chews.  It came from a good cow…or bull.  I still can taste it just looking at the pictures! Oh! OH!  They even have this roving Texas country music version of a Mariachi Band.  We politely declined; something about someone else singing for our supper makes us willy-nilly.


After we satisfied our growling bellies, we waddled our way into their most awesome gift shop of ‘Texas Everything’; jewelry, purses, commodities, souveniers, t-shirts, trucker hats and even a live-caged huge rattler in the back of the store (Ew! Ew! Ew! EWWWW!!!).  We came out with a couple small tokens of remembering the Big Texan Steak Ranch.  They got it right, there; meat for the guys, shopping for the girls.  Smart marketing, I’d say!


So, if you’re into carnivore-ing like us, definitely set your GPS to the BIG TEXAN Steak Ranch.  Its an Amarillo favorite!  They also serve breakfast there too!!  Your tummies will thank you…and US for the “bulls-eye” (ha ha! See what I did there?) recommendation.  If you’re nowhere near, go to their “beefy” website (whoa!  Did it again!) to get look-see.  Too bad they don’t make scratch and sniff websites!


So there’s our review.  We were not compensated for telling the truth.

5 Cool Things We Did in Amarillo, Texas

Since we were little kids, We’ve always wanted to go to Texas.  We remember watching black and white tv shows that were filmed in Texas. I love big shiny belt buckles, cowboy hats and boots.  Both were enamored watching gunslingin’ heroes with big shiny revolvers.  Equally, we love all things Texas; cactus, armadillos, cowboys (not the Dallas team) and the big stars in the big Texas sky. Oh, and let’s not forget my favorite, the King of Country, George Strait.

Continue reading “5 Cool Things We Did in Amarillo, Texas”

RV PARK REVIEW: Oasis RV Resort – TEXAS (Amarillo)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW


Campground/RV Park: Oasis RV Resort – TEXAS (Amarillo)

Location: 2715 Arnot Road, Amarillo, TX 79124  (888) 789-9697
Date(s) Stayed: 9/25/15 – 9/29/15
Length of Stay: 5 days
Site #: 41 (Pull Through)
Cost per night (with taxes): $31.85/night
Discount Used:  10% Good Sam
Connections: 50 amp FHU’s
Stars:  4.75

Oasis RV Resort was recommended to us by another RV’er but we didn’t realize the extent of their recommendation. Its been rated as one of five top RV Destinations in Texas.  We made a reservation a month prior.  This RV ‘Resort’ is beautiful! 
Oasis RV Resort is located west of Amarillo and is easily accessible from I-40 (exit 60) and only 2 miles from Cadillac Ranch on the Service Road.    Campground signs signify a mile from the exit; as well, a huge billboard showing their location (lit up at night!). Love’s Truck/Travel is right at the exit for easy fueling before you park or on your way out.

This very manicured RV Resort has 188 concrete/asphalt level, ample spaced sites; 147 are long Big Rig friendly pull-throughs.  Large chipstone islands between each site instead of grass; however beautifully manicured gardens and grass in common areas.  Check-in procedure was fast and friendly.  We arrived at 3:00pm with no waiting.    

Accurately quoted from Oasis RV Resort website:

During your stay with us you will enjoy:
  • 188 full service RV sites featuring 147 pull-thrus all on paved roads to guarantee level pads
  • Private picnic patio, 20/30/50 amp electricity and cable TV at every pedestal
  • On site Storm Shelters
  • Free High Speed Wi-Fi
  • Free Cable TV, over 20 Channels
  • Heated outdoor pool. (seasonal)
  • 2 heated spas, one adult only (seasonal)
  • Exercise Room
  • On site full service propane
  • Ice available
  • Pet friendly resort with newly constructed dog run
  • Sparkling clean private showers and bathrooms
  • Playground, BBQ Grills, Horseshoe pits, games and activities
  • Delicious Pizzas and Wings made to order at our Pizza Cafe every evening
  • Charming gift shop
  • Adjacent to a full service LOVES Travel Stop
  • Horse & Medical facilities nearby
  • Just steps away from the world famous Cadillac Ranch
  • Close to food & fine restaurants and Amarillo’s Westgate Mall
  • Free Limo Service to The Big Texan Ranch Steakhouse
  • Clubhouse available for special events

We LOVED this RV Resort!!  It, so far, has been our favorite in 2015!   So much to do nearby!  We spent a couple evenings enjoying their adult heated spa.

This RV Resort earned our 4.75 stars (out of 5).  The only thing missing is an adult beverage area (clubhouse) open at least weekend evenings.  Also, the pool could have been open a couple more weeks as it is still quite warm outside.  Campfires are not allowed; even propane firepits.

LOVE the fact that they honor Active Duty Military with their first night stay for FREE! 

We put this HIGH on our list of returns!  Love this Resort!

RV PARK REVIEW: Santa Fe Skies – NEW MEXICO (Santa Fe)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW


Campground/RV Park: Santa Fe Skies RV Park
Location: 14 Browncastle Ranch, Santa Fe, NM     (877) 565-0451 or (505) 473-5946
Date(s) Stayed: 9/21/15 – 9/24/15
Length of Stay: 3 days
Site #: Aster 5 (Pull Through)
Cost per night (with taxes): $43/night
Discount Used:  10% Good Sam
Connections: 50 amp FHU’s
Stars:  2.0

Santa Fe Skies RV Park is located on the Turquoise Trail at I-25 & NM 14/599.  Beautiful sunsets, close approximity to Santa Fe and eateries is right around the corner.  While we were there, we visited the Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel and Cathedral Basillica of St. Francis of Asisisi as well as enjoyed window shopping in the Santa Fe Plaza downtown.

We checked in approximately 4:00pm; we were the only RVers checking in at the time.  The young man cashier was not very pleasant and not very helpful.  He just handed us the park map, rules and was more interested in other things.  He didn’t let us know about the club house and what it had to offer.  The campground is terraced with approximately 90 FHU sites.  The entrance is a bit tight for big rigs.  Check in is at the large building on the right; there’s also a clubhouseand small souvenier shop.  The laundry was small and not adequate for how many sites there are. 


Each site is terraced on gravel with concrete pads equipped with a picnic table.  Sites are tight and mostly not level; had to use several blocks.  We had a hooking and unhooking issue because of it.  Other than grills, no open fires are permitted.  The roads/aisles are narrow.  There are some permanent campers but they are in another area of the park.  Free WiFi is located in the clubhouse and only during office hours. Propane is available for sale at the park.  Groceries, shopping, restaurants and fuel is fairly close by.  RV’ers are responsible for taking their own trash to the dumpster at the park entrance.  


Santa Fe Skies is a dog friendly park; there is a dog park and a 3/4 mile walking trail.  Do not let small dogs or cats outside; they could end up as Coyote snacks.  It can get quite windy at the park, they recommend not leaving awnings out while you are away from your RV. 


We rated this park at 2 stars because of the lack of hospitality, maneuverbility and leveling difficulty for big rigs, very close approximity to neighboring coaches and inadequacy of laundry facilities per amount of RVers; also because there WiFi only available in the clubhouse.   If we visit New Mexico again, we may look elsewhere. 

Haggard’s RV Park – COLORADO (Pueblo)

Campground/RV Park: Haggard’s RV Campground
Location: 7910 W Hwy 50, Pueblo West, CO  81007    (719) 547-2101

Website: www.haggardsrvcampground.com

Date(s) Stayed: 9/9/15 – 9/21/15
Length of Stay: 2 weeks
Site #: E8 (Pull-Through)
Cost per night (with taxes): $297/week.  $27-37/week
Discount Used:  10% Good Sam
Connections: 50 amp Electric/Water and Dump Station
Stars:  3.5

Great Sand Dunes National Park – Colorado

In the summer of 2015, we relocated from the Air Force Academy Campground to Haggard’s RV Park in Pueblo, Colorado to visit our son who also lived in Pueblo.  While parked there, we also met up with our RV friends, Brittany and Eric (also a Coast Guard Vet) of RV Wanderlust some comraderie and campfires.

 

When our RV friends weren’t working their remote jobs, we’d get together for an outing and vittles.  One morning, we all rose early to drive out to the Great Sand Dunes National Park for some hiking, sightseeing and to get our National Park Passports stamped.

Brittany and Eric gladly agreed to drive if we packed a picnic lunch for the trip.  It was about a three hour drive to the Dunes.

About the Great Sand Dunes…

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is actually quite young; established in 2004. It sprawls some 150,000 acres; across part of Southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley, a broad and plain between the San Juan Mountains on the west and the Sangre de Cristos on the east. The tallest dune towers over 750 feet.

 

Streams and creeks flowing out of the San Juan Mountains over millennia carried gravel and sand into shallow lakes in the San Luis Valley. During drought periods, these lakes dried, releasing the sand particles to the action of the wind. Strong prevailing southwesterly winds carry the tiny grains toward the Sangre de Cristos, piling them up against the foothills.

 

The resulting dunes are the tallest in North America, covering more than 30 square miles. Adults hike across them and marvel at their beauty; children run and slide down their steep faces, enjoying a playground of fairy-tale proportions.  You can read more about how they formed and their geological natures here.

 

Welcome to the Dunes…

Once we got to the entrance, we stopped for photos because, in our world, it didn’t happen unless there were pictures!

 

After getting parked, we got our passports stamped at the Visitor Center and viewed a video and hands-on informational exhibits.

All four of us headed to the picnic area where we sat down to enjoy some fellowship while chowing down on our cooler full of vittles. We were blessed with beautiful weather too.

After packing up leftover crumbs of our lunch, we all trekked out to the base of the Dunes and climbed up the first that led to the rest of them.

 

Our exciting adventure…

It was already a very warm day so it seemed like it was a little more work but that didn’t stop Dan and Brittany from doing the inevitable; climbing to the top of the dunes. Being that Eric has bad knees and I have back issues, we hung out at the top of the smallest dune to watch Brittany and Dan challenge themselves. We were already 6000′ above sea level, so this was a bit more challenging than just taking a stroll up a 750′ hill, not to mention, it was loose sand.

While Eric and I stood there chatting for what seemed forever (because we stood there in the heat for all of it), Brittany and Dan disappeared over the crest of the first dune. They looked like little ants the further they hiked.  We’d see them again and then loose them doing down another…and another…and another.

Brittany’s words upon their return, ‘it was quite exerting; one step forward, three steps back and doing it at higher altitude, we just couldn’t catch our breaths’.

Dan said they had to stop often to empty their shoes which weighted them down. Adding to that, it was a very warm day; about 85 degrees.

A few times, we’d see one of them, bend over in the distance during their climb and stop for awhile. They said they were offered water by some passerby’s (hikers that were faster and more in shape as them?!). Then we’d see them start up again.

The finish line…

An hour and a half later, they successfully made it to the top and another hour and a half after that, they came back tired, weary but celebrated. They were red-faced and a bit dehydrated so Eric and I sacrificed our own water bottles to get them back to looking a normal color.  But LOOK at them looking all celebratory!

It was a fun day trip with great friends!  A little RV family bonding is what we call it.  Dan and Brittany felt celebrated and accomplished.  I bought them each their own I climbed the Great Sand Dunes sticker for their vehicles (if there were trophies, I would have bought them too!).

 

On the drive back, our tummies were growling so Eric took to googling places to eat in Pueblo.  We agreed on the Bingo Burger which turned out to be a very deserved and pleasant meal.  Fantastic burgers!Best friends!  Good times! Fantastic memories!

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Planning to go? You may want to read these…

Which National Park Pass Should I Get?

The Dirty Truth About Our National Parks

Other National Parks we’ve visited!