Sunday, April 5, 2009

?-- A My Town Monday Post ... sort of


I got nothing for this week. No really, absolutely zilch regarding Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle.

I have plenty of ideas and things left I want to post about, but they all require either pictures or research, and I simply have not had the chance to gather either in time for this week. So, where does that leave My Town Monday this week? I'll still be hosting a collection of links, but I don't simply want to leave it at that. Therefore I'm going to ask for your help. Ask me a a question any question about Amarillo, The Texas Panhandle, or heck even the entire state of Texas and I'll try to answer.

Heck you can even ask me something about myself. I promise to answer each and every question, though the answer might not be entirely serious. So help me out and ask away.

MTM Links

Jenn Jilks hails from Muskoka, Canada but this week posts about Toronto.
Gary Dobbs takes us to one of his old haunts near Tonyrefail, England.
Lyzzydee takes us to school in Trent Park, England.
Chris educates us on the US involvement in China during WWII.
Debra tells us about the Village of Peninsula, Ohio's Historic and Preservation Foundation.
Patti Abbott unveils the curtain on Detroit, Michigan's Players Club.
Mary blows the horn over Olmsted Falls, Ohio.
Barbara Martin is a Toronto, Canada exhibitionist.
Cloudia has some fascinating neighbors in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Linda McLaughlin dons the ears and visits California's Downtown Disney.
J Winter takes out to the ol' ballgame in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Barrie Summy is remodeling in Sand Diego, California.
Duck! Clair Dickson has a low flying post from Livingston County, Michigan.
PreTzel blogs about Iowa's progressiveness.

53 comments:

gigihawaii said...

Where are Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle located? North, south, central?

Are they windy and cool, or hot and dry?

I have never been to Texas, but my niece recently moved to Austin from Hawaii. She is 24, looking for a job, and hopes to study there.

Travis Erwin said...

Woohoo! the first question. The Texas Panhandle is at the far northern ti[p of Texas. The little square that sits at the top as a matter of fact and Amarillo lies in the exact middle of that square.

Despite being the most northerly The Panhandle is not consider North Texas that moniker is used to describe the are between Dallas and the Oklahoma border.

And for part two of your question. The Panhandle is very windy. Amarillo is officially the third windiest city in the country ranking far ahead of the so-called windy city, Chicago. We are dry, semi-arid and receive only about 18 inches of moisture per year.

Austin is a cool city, the most liberal minded city in Texas. Very artsy and music minded as well as being a college party town. It's is some five hundred odd miles south of Amarillo. It is the state capitol yet Amarillo is closer to five other state capitols.

ARCHAVIST said...

How far from the Alamo are you?

Travis Erwin said...

The Aloma is not far from the river walk in San Antonio and that too is about 500 miles from me.

I have been to the Alamo a number of times and after my initial shock of it being far smaller than I expected I've enjoyed learning and looking at the items on display. Of course only the old mission is still standing.

Used to be admission was free and the site was cared for by some kind of private group not the state or federal government. I'm not positive but In believe that is still the case.

gigihawaii said...

Mahalo, Travis. I googled a map of Texas so your comment makes sense, now.

Jenn Jilks said...

Have you lived elsewhere in the state?
How did you end up in Texas?!

Travis Erwin said...

I've lived in a total of four houses a whopping 8 or 9 miles apart. Much as I like Texas if I were to move elsewhere it would be out of state. South of me things get to dang hot for my liking, so I'd probably pick somewhere remote where the hunting and fishing were good.

Travis Erwin said...

I never crawled far from the crib so I got here by birth.

lyzzydee said...

Hi Travis, My post will go up GMT at midnight!!

So a question, Is this the life you imagined for yourself when growing up?? I am shocked that you have 'that' much rain in Texas, the popular view over here is that its all oil wells, scorching weather with every other man called Bush!!

pattinase (abbott) said...

What three books have influenced your writing most?
(Mine goes up at ten)

dizzblnd said...

Have you and your family gotten used to the new digs yet? How are the boys and your wife handling what happened

debra said...

When did you know you would be a writer?
My post is up.

Teresa said...

If a person were to visit Amarillo, Texas, what are the three sights he or she MUST see? And what is the nicest hotel/motel for the best price in town?

Merry Monteleone said...

Amarillo is officially the third windiest city in the country ranking far ahead of the so-called windy city, Chicago

Chicago got that moniker from our politicians - who are still full of hot air. For some reason people have taken it literally over the years, and yes, it can get windy near the lake but not THAT windy.

If you had to pick one, what's your favorite thing about your homestate? What's your least favorite? (I'm not asking about food, I already know the answer to that :-)

Travis Erwin said...

Man, I go away for a few hours and y'all ask me all kinds of tough questions. Here goes ...

Travis Erwin said...

Lyzzydee -- My vision of what my life would be has changed over the years. Way back I wanted to be a veterinarian, but once I got old enough to see how much work caring for livestock is I gave that idea up. I'm basically a lay person and I've castrated enough pigs and steers and did enough other chores to know that wasn't what I wanted. Part of my always wanted to write and thought I could be good at it but for a long time I didn't see that as an attainable goal.(sometimes I'm still not sure)

But I always wanted the find the love of a good woman and have a couple of kids. I love being a father and never could I have found a better woman to love so that part is right on target. If I have one regret it's not actively pursuing a writing career sooner.

And most of Texas gets more rain than we do. We are almost desert like.

Travis Erwin said...

Patti - I'm gonna cheat. There are three books that made me fall in love with reading and literature on the whole.

Huck Finn
Where the Red Fern Grows
To Kill a Mockingbird

Those three led me to a lifetime love of a good tale, but as far as emulating the author or learning something about the craft I'm gonna pick one more and say ...

The Risk Pool by Richard Russo - My writing is heavy on characterization and light on plot. So is much of Russo's work. Also he takes the downtrodden the ordinary, the flawed and makes a reader root for them as if they are striving the change the world. I only wish I could do that. Nobody's fool is another of my favorites by Russo but The Risk Pool tops it in my book.

Travis Erwin said...

dizzblnd -- We've been so busy making the place our own that we haven't had to time to really kick back and sip rum with nothing much on my mind. Once I do that it will feel more like home. Jennifer is more herself now that she has a new nest to create. the boys love the stairs and the ample room to play.

Annie said...

I have no questions. I think TX would be a dreadful place to live. LOL, can't imagine a place without mountains, green rolling hills, douglas pine trees.

Travis Erwin said...

Debra - I wanted to write for a long time but there was no aha moment that I can pinpoint as the beginning.

However once I met a local author Jodi Thomas and talked to her I began to believe someone from Amarillo could succeed in the business. Finishing my first novel gave me the confidence that I could write an entire book and from that moment on I've been unable to stop.

Travis Erwin said...

Teresa - Palo Duro Canyon for a day of hiking in the countries 2nd biggest canyon. The Panhandle Plains Museu, in Canyon for a taste of what life in the old west was like. And a night at the Golden Light Cantina for a greasy all beef burger washed down with a cold Shiner Bock and followed by some good Texas tunes and a bit of two-steppin.

We are somewhat shy on luxury hotels, but The Ambassador is considered one of the bests. they have built some nice new ones in recent years but I truly do not know a lot about them.

Travis Erwin said...

Merry - favorite thing has to be the people. Amarillo has nearly 200,00 residents yet it has the feel of a really small town. I go just about anywhere and I'm gonna see somebody I know. People are laid back friendly and quick to help one another. Besides Texans have a spirit that you find few places else. at least few places that I have been.

The worst is the wind. I hate the way it pushes you and agitate yo until your eyes are runny and your mood is foul.

Mary said...

Hey Travis, my sort of post is up. But I like yours.

How did you choose your profession?

Mary

Linda McLaughlin said...

I can't think of any questions right now, but wanted to let you know my MTM post on Downtown Disney will be up during the night.

Barbara Martin said...

My MTM post is up.

Barrie said...

My question: What do people from Amarillo do for vacations?

My post isn't up yet. I still have to write another 700 words tonight. Visiting your blog is my little break. :)

the walking man said...

Do you know my oldest sister who is waaaaaaaaaaaaay older than me and her husband who live in the panhandle of Texas, is so would you tell her to have a nice day and if not why not; not that I know her that well but she does live closer to you than I so should I feel bad for not knowing her as well as you do or don't? If there is no answer then tell me this...did you ever eat cacti? And isn't that a green plant like vegetable?

G said...

I don't really have a question, mostly because everyone has asked all the ones I wanted to ask.

Hah!

I got one.

What kind of historical places might you recommend to someone who was visiting Amarillo?

B.E. Sanderson said...

I live in CO surrounded by 100s of 1000s of beef cows, but I can't get a good cut of meat here. Do you have the same problem there?

(Silly question, I know, but it was all I could think of.)

Hit 40 said...

Read your bio. I can see why you blog. Blogs are an endless source of info on what women think for your work. Only Texas thought - Do you have a lot of ants? Last time I was in Texas - some kids got covered in red fire ants. They had to jump in a pool to get the ants off. The whole top of the water was absolutely covered with ants. Pool closed for a while.

Barrie said...

Hey Travis! My post is FINALLY up!

Reb said...

Travis, I have the same problem...plenty of ideas, no time to get photos.

Do you suffer from hurricane season, or do you just get tornadoes? Do you ever get snow?

Travis Erwin said...

Back to the questions.

Mary I never really chose my profession it just kind of happened.

There I was a college junior attending West Texas A&M University. I was majoring in wildlife biology with a specialty in freshwater fisheries. I envisioned myself living in a pristine cabin by crystal blue waters but in order to eat i signed on for a temporary job at the post office. My job was supposed to alt for 30 days, but at the time I hired on the old PO offered an early out buy-out to their career work force.

They expected a few thousand nationwide to accept but something like 12 times that number retired. So they created a new class of employee, still temporary but with a one year contract. Then they renewed it for another year, and then another and then I took the test and passed and got hired full time. I quit school, because working crazy hours and studying was tough and because I was making more than I would if I got a government job after graduation.

After sorting the mail for a few years I jumped over to maintenance where they trained me to work on the electronic and automated equipment that sorts the mail. Now I've been working for the old PO for nearly 17 years.

Travis Erwin said...

Barrie - the simple answer is leave town. The mountains of New Mexico are a close by and popular destination both for skiing and snowmobiling in the winter and of fishing and hiking in the summer as an escape from the heat. lot sof people visit other Texas cities , Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Padre Island and the gulf are also on that list. Oklahoma City has a lot to do and is only four hours to the east. And we have one direct flight a day to Vegas which is usually full of passengers ready to try their luck.

Travis Erwin said...

The walking Man -- I'm afraid to answer. If I said I knew your sistyer really well you might take that the wrong way and track me down in an effort to defend her honor. If I say no you might think I am a Texas snob who shuns Yankee invaders from the north who have invaded the Lone Star state in recent years. Then again I could say the Panhandle is a big place and you gotta be more specific.

And yes cacti are green and therefore on my list of banned devil foods.

Travis Erwin said...

G Historical is a relative term and being as how Amarillo has only been around for about 130 years there isn't a whole lot of really old things. But I would say Palo Duro Canyon for the significance it played in the native population lives as well as the Spanish explorers who were the first outsiders to visit the area. But if you ever come to town I'll be sure to be your guide and show you plenty of interesting sights.

Travis Erwin said...

B.E. - Amarillo has one of the largest livestock auctions in the world and they have a fine steakhouse right on the premises, but as far as cooking my own at home there is good meat to be had. Though not at Wal-Mart or the other chain grocers. There are several small butcher shops which buy local beef and I have a connection at a large meat packing plant in a nearby town. That connection can by me meat fresh off the kill floor that is top notch and just a few weeks ago I bought an entire tenderloin for a mere $1.25 a pound. Cut up it made about two dozen inch thick steaks that are quite tasty. So no, I really do not have trouble finding good steak.

Travis Erwin said...

Hit 40 - Welcome to the blog. I have had a few bouts with fire ants while fishing in places south of me but our winters are cold enough here in the panhandle that fire ants really have not gained a foothold as of yet. But they along with killer bees seem to migrate closer every year.

Travis Erwin said...

Reb - The coastline is a good six or seven hundred miles south of me so by the time those storm get here nothing is left but maybe a bit of rain. We are on the western edge of tornado alley and do get several damaging storms a year, but luckily it has been years since a twister hit the city directly. We usually get two or three snows a years but this year just one. A week and a half ago we got nearly a foot along with 40mph winds. It was all melted within 36 hours however.

Travis' Wife said...

If you catch a fish in May, will you replace the picture you use for your blog? Do you love the picture of yourself you use for your blog? Is there a chance you might replace the picture that is used for your blog?

You should have a question post of questions about you and I get to answer them. Hahahahaha

Does this comment post confuse you?

Travis Erwin said...

Dear wife,

I get fatter and uglier everyday so why must I change my pic so the rest of the world will realize this as well. Actually I will change it if I catch a bigger fatter fish which will make me appear skinnier and more manly this verifying my mad fish catching skills.

And you answering others questions could be quite scary.

Anonymous said...

I would be as truthful and informative as I could be. I would only talk about your so called mad skills.

pita-woman said...

No questions, just random comments...
I can't read/hear about Amarillo without thinking of that George Strait song, "Amarillo By Morning", love that song!!
I've only been in Texas once, very briefly. While vacationing in Roosevelt, OK 4 years ago, we drove down the hwy & crossed into TX, just so we could say we'd been there, then turned around.
While in Oklahoma, we were convinced THAT was the windiest place in the USA.

Jenn Jilks said...

I think Travis' wife would love if Travis adopted some of Don Cherry's haute couture. Wouldn't that be a sight to see?

Here he is teaching our comical Rick Mercer how to build a suit!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFPuMzza9hk

preTzel said...

My post is up Travis and I have an important question for you:

Do they still refer to the male penis as a goober?

I can't tell you how many times my boys ask me to buy goober at the store and I burst out laughing. (Goober is a combo mix of PB and Jelly in a jar.)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Okay, which is your favorite neighbor state? *wink*

Travis Erwin said...

preTzel - I thought goober was a character on The Andy Griffith show.

Travis Erwin said...

Angie - Louisiana all the way. have I not told you that I am a diehard Saints fan. Geaux Saints.

Cheryl Wray said...

I'm a native Texan, so I love to read anything about Texas...so I am enjoying your answers so far!!

ddusty said...

How do y'all make helium?

Bina said...

Why are the roads called FM? How did that come about?

Since I just came from Texas and saw those roads EVERYWHERE!

I also didn't know what

"no Engine Brake by order of City
Ordinance" or something like. My son explained it to me! LOL

Travis Erwin said...

ddusty - We don't actually make the helium. Instead Amarillo has a secret team o f elves that infiltrate kids birthday parties the world over. Each elf is required to steal two helium filled balloons from every party and smuggle them back to Amarillo where they bury the suckers deep beneath the earth to be mined later.

Actually helium was discovered under Amarillo by those searching for natural gas and oil. I did an entire p[sot on the helium several months back.

Travis Erwin said...

Bina - FM stands for Farm to Market as that was the reason behind their creation to get goods from the farms and ranches to the markets.