Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Amarillo by Evening

It's hard to believe how quickly this summer is going by.  For the most part this summer has been very pleasant, weather-wise, especially compared to last summer's record breaking heat.  It has just gotten really hot in the last few weeks, and we managed to beat the heat by heading to the mountains of Colorado (at least the ones that weren't on fire!)

My sister and her husband have been to family camp several times, and we joined them and Nana and Granddad a couple of summers ago in Arkansas and had a great time.  The whole family decided to repeat the experience this summer, but this year the destination was Lake City, Colorado, at Camp Redcloud, where my sister had accepted Christ as a teenager.  Nana and Granddad took the RV, while we stayed in the lodge with my sister's family.  It was a fourteen hour drive for us, and about 18 for them, so we decided to meet up and stay overnight at Amarillo to make it easier on ourselves.  Since Amarillo is only about four and a half hours for us, we didn't even have to get up early that first day.  It was quite leisurely, and the only hard part was taking Oreo to the vet to be boarded.  Since we had rescued her from the shelter only two weeks ago, she was understandably less than enthusiastic about being put back into a kennel.  The girls went with me to drop her off, and as we left she put her paws up on the bars and gave us a look that quite plainly said, "Please don't leave me!"  by the time we got out of the parking lot both girls were bawling.  It was never quite so difficult to leave a cat! 

So, off we went, getting to Amarillo around 5:00.  The girls wanted to swim, but we had agreed to meet up with everyone at 6:30 for dinner at (where else?) the Big Texan, so the girls agreed that swimming after dinner would be better.  In the meantime, they made themselves at home at the hotel and read a few chapters of their books before dinner. 

There's no place like home, but a few stuffed animals can help you be more comfortable.

We got to the Big Texan, where we were joined by friends in the area and the rest of our family group.  We were a very large party - 14 people, and it took forever - or two hours, which may I say seems like forever when you have small kids at the table - for our food to arrive.  Of course, the Big Texan is not really about the food (unless you are eating the 72 oz steak dinner, in which case it's all about the food) but the atmosphere.  Here's our little buckaroos sporting their kid meal "plates" on their heads:

Gracie, Maggie, Carissa, Will and Brad
After dinner the server gave us tokens, which turned out to be for the "for fun only" slot machines downstairs:

Gracie thought that the slots were pretty boring, and wanted to try out the shooting range.  Once she figured out that things moved or did something funny when you shot them, she was pretty careful with her aim. 

While we waited for Uncle Brad to get his free sample of fudge (and another pound of various flavors to share with us - yummy!) we checked out the decor and tried to stay out of everyone's way.

Let's see. . .  It's big bear, happy bear, reluctant bear and ninja bear!
 On our way out the door we stopped to take a photo with the big bull - the girls were quite perturbed that people had graffitied it.

Now that's a lotta bull!
 By the time we got back to the hotel it was after 9:00, and we were supposed to meet Amy and Brad to caravan to Colorado at 7:30 the next morning, but a promise is a promise, so the girls and I headed to the pool for a bit of swimming before bedtime.  We didn't get everyone tucked in until 11, but I figured they could sleep in the car if they were tired - after all, there was still nine hours of driving ahead of us.

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