Roadtrip Day 2: Gliders and a Canyon

After the long day on Thursday, we went to bed pretty early. Everybody woke up at about 5:30. By 6:00 nobody could maintain the charade of trying to sleep, so Elaine got the kids out the door for the dee-luxe breakfast buffet at the Days Inn. The breakfast area smelled strongly of petrochemicals, as it was primarily inhabited by oilfield service workers. Several semi-toxic packaged sweet rolls and bowls of cereal later we were ready to head out. The sun wasn’t yet up.

The Caprock Escarpment comes into view a few miles south of Post, TX. After Post, highway 84 rises up onto the plateau that is the High Plains of North America. The top-level rock strata is the Ogallala Formation, a fairly recent deposit of more-or-less rocky sediments formed from the broad downwash from the rising Rocky Mountains, stretching south to north across much of the country. The topmost layer is a hard quasi-limestone caliche that’s what was originally called the “caprock”, as it sits atop the typical bluffs that appear up and down the edge of the High Plains.

An interesting thing about this day is that it began about 40 degrees colder than it was Thursday afternoon. Thus upon reaching Lubbock we stopped at a Starbucks (with idiotic for-pay wireless) and then sought out a WalMart so that we could pick up more clothes for the kids. Lubbock is – partisans, please pardon me – a horrid place. For some reason we attracted beggars consistently. After a trip to a cold, windblown Prairie Dog Town (pop. 1)

we headed out, hoping to figure out a way to avoid the place altogether on the way back. However just outside the pale we notice a sign for a museum at the Lubbock airport. We spun around to go there after seeing a pretty good-condition C-47 parked in front. The museum is the “Silent Wings” museum, and it preserves the story of USAAF pilots who flew the various transport gliders employed in WW2 for airborne assaults. Inside the museum was, among other very well-done exhibits, a complete CG-4A WACO glider.

We soon found that the glider was set up such that we could climb inside and look around – somewhat astounding, given the fact that the things required delicate care when new.

The museum was a great find overall. We headed out and got to Canyon at lunchtime. After some pizza for the kids we drove out to the park. The van was low on gas so we didn’t want to drive down into the low part of the park, but we stopped at the point you can take this picture:

Palo Duro Canyon looks to be a pretty spectacular place. It’s a hard thing to capture with photography. I hope to go back over the next couple days, and I want to try and capture small stuff that evokes the visual impression of the big stuff. We’ll see.

On the way out of the parking lot we saw this tricked-out extreme Land Cruiser, apparently ferried here from Switzerland.

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