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    Travel: the panhandle of Texas

    This past weekend I visited the panhandle of Texas in a little town named Pampa, Texas. Most of you probably have never heard of this little oil town, but after spending an entire weekend immersed in the Texas lifestyle, I can’t wait to visit again. 

    The Big Texan Restaurant (Photo: The Big Texan)
    The Big Texan Restaurant. (Photo: The Big Texan.)

    When I arrived in Amarillo, I knew instantly I was in a whole new world. For starters, the plane I flew in on was only three seats wide. It was a tad different from the usual massive air crafts that fly out of DIA. While walking to the baggage claim (where there were only three carousels) I saw the funniest ads to start off my Texas experience. The Big Texan (a 72-oz. steak challenge) and “Texas, home of the world’s largest beer.” So far, everything met my expectations of Texas — everything being bigger than it needs to be. Don’t get me wrong, though — it made the trip even more fun.

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    After finding my way to the pickup area, I found my boyfriend, Brenden, and his best friend ready to pick me up. I hadn’t eaten all day and the Waffle House apparently is the place to go. Now, I was expecting the Colorado version of the Waffle House. Most of the buildings here have been refurbished, but not in Texas. I walked into a straight-up, blast-from-the-past Waffle House. Before we sat down, one of the guys in our group asked for an ash tray. Whoa, wait a minute. That’s right, a law that Colorado set in place for no smoking in public buildings does not exist in Texas. My table was smoking, the old man in the corner reading a paper was smoking and even the waitress lit one up occasionally. I could not believe how different it was down there. To top it all off, Waylon Jennings, one of the best old country singers, was playing on the jukebox. It was so much Texas in one sitting, it was hard to take it all in.

    After we finished in Amarillo, it was time to head to little old Pampa. The next morning, I met literally my boyfriend’s entire family. For those of you who understand the struggle, meeting your significant other’s family is a big deal, especially when they fly you out to meet them. From the first second I met them, I loved them all. Besides just being wonderful people to begin with, they really showed me true Texan hospitality the entire time I was visiting. I never had to ask for anything. There was even one day I was beyond sick — I looked and felt like death. Between Brenden’s mom and Meme (his grandma), I was well taken care of and was better before the day was even over. I can give some of the credit to Meme’s chicken and noodles — so much goodness in a pot. 

    Now, if you ever get the idea you want to go somewhere in Texas, I highly recommend Pampa. Overall, there is not much to the town, but what they do have, they cherish. In my eyes, I think this is a town that is too easily overlooked. If you do go, there are several must-dos. 

    1. Order any burger from Smokin’ Joe’s Grill (the fuggly burger with dogg sauce is the most delicious thing you will ever eat and it upholds the standards of Texas-sized food).
    2. Eat at Chicken Express (it’s even better than Cane’s).
    3. Get a snow cone from one of the many snow-cone stands.
    4. Visit Main Street and go inside all the boutiques and the coffee shop.
    5. Take a drive around the entire town.
    Pampa High School Stadium (Photo: Texas Bob)
    Pampa High School Stadium. (Photo: Texas Bob.)

    A word of advice: Pampa is a very proud town of their high school football team, the Pampa Harvesters. So if you visit the town during the fall, definitely join everyone in supporting their pretty darn good team.

    With it being such a small town compared to Denver or even Fort Collins, there are somewhat limited options on what to do with your time. Driving around and going to Walmart are sometimes the only things to do, but don’t let that turn your interest off from Pampa. I was there a total of four days and I can’t wait to go back and live the life of a Texan all over again. I give the town at least five out of five stars for being an all-around awesome town and a place where I now have great memories.

    For even more stuff to do in Pampa, or even if you’re a little bit curious, click here.

    Also, a huge thank you to the Rice and Steen family for flying me out and welcoming me into their homes. You guys are all amazing and I can’t wait to see you again.  

    Collegian Travel Blogger Katelyn Mitchell can be reached online at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter @mitch_kate_.

    View Comments (23)
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    Comments (23)

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    • P

      Peggy BennettApr 19, 2016 at 10:54 am

      So, are you engaged to Brenden Rice? I used to take care of him when he was a pre-schooler. Glad you enjoyed your visit. Seems like all the high points of Pampa are the eating joints. LOL

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        Brenden and I are just dating at the moment, but that is very cool that this article has reached such a high amount of people. I included only the places that I went to during my trip, but I want to hear back from people for a follow up article since Pampa had such a big success. So if you have anything you want me to include, be sure to mention it. Thank you for reading!

        Reply
    • S

      SherryApr 19, 2016 at 7:22 am

      Although I claim Denver as home now, I was born in Pampa and I’ll be retuning to my high school reunion in Pampa this summer. You helped me see it with fresh eyes. Thanks.

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        I am so happy that my blog was able to give you a fresh look of the town. I will be writing a follow up article here soon to include more than just my experiences there so if you have anything you would like me to add, I would really appreciate it. Thank you for reading and making my article such a success!

        Reply
    • B

      Belinda EversonApr 19, 2016 at 7:00 am

      This is my hometown. Most of my family and friends still live there. Growing up there was a great adventure. All my kids were born there as well. And sliding the Central parks hills WAS fantastic.

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

        I am so happy that this article has reached so many people in Pampa. Thank you so much for reading and I will be sure to add Central Parks hill to my next article too

        Reply
    • F

      FarrellApr 18, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      I rode the hills on cardboard too! I love Pampa. My Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, and tons of Cousins are from or still live in Pampa. Thank you for writing about this wonderful little town.I I have wonderful memories of being there. I come from the Sargent and Hamrick families.
      Farrell Hamrick Schleu

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        Thank you too for reading! None of my blogs have had this much success yet and it fills me with joy to see that it even reached the high of amount of people in Pampa that it did! I will be writing a follow up article here soon so if you have anything to add, be sure to mention it!

        Reply
    • S

      Sherry WatsonApr 18, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Glad you enjoyed your visit to Pampa, next time try Jay’s and have one of their corn dogs (Worth the visit!) or Dyer’s for good Barbecue.

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        Thank you for the suggestions! I only talked about the places I went while visiting so I am very interested in where to go next and what to also include in my follow up blog that I will be writing soon. Thank you for writing too!

        Reply
    • J

      Janet WhitsellApr 18, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      The Main Street photo is from Canadian, Tx…well worth the drive on your next visit to the panhandle!

      Reply
      • S

        Stephen WilsonApr 19, 2016 at 7:58 am

        JANET !!!!

        Steve here… remember me… I was the one with the Wagon Wheel couch !!! LOL

        Long time !

        How are you ???

        Reply
    • J

      Janet WhitsellApr 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      The Main Street photo is Canadian, Tx…well worth the drive on your next trip to the panhandle.y

      Reply
    • S

      Sherri Laycock HootenApr 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Next time try Pak-a-Burger…..puts up a good fight against Smokin Joes…

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:44 pm

        Thank you for the suggestion! I will be sure to try it next time I visit and I will be sure to include it in my next follow up blog! Thank you for reading!

        Reply
    • D

      DaleneApr 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Thank you for your kind words about my hometown. You definitely made me homesick! Pampa proud! West Texas Snow has the best snow cones!

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm

        If you liked it then my mission was accomplished. I tried very hard to make sure I gave the town justice like it deserves. While I was there it really grew on me. Thank you for reading too!

        Reply
    • K

      Kathy CantrellApr 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments about our little town in the Texas Panhandle. Come back and see us anytime. Good ppl…just really good ppl.

      Reply
    • P

      Pam SumrallApr 18, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Go in late fall or early spring and ride down the hills at Aspen or Central parks on cardboard. All of us kids of the 60’s/70’s grew up doing that – when I took my kids one year they loved it!

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm

        That is the second time I’ve have gotten the suggestion! I will be sure to do so next time I visit and include it in the must do’s for my next article about Pampa. Thank you for reading it!

        Reply
    • C

      Christy LaddApr 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      I live in pampa and would rather be there than anywhere else. Small town, friendly people, and pride. 🙂 thanks for shining some light on our blessed town!

      Reply
      • K

        Katelyn MitchellApr 20, 2016 at 2:49 pm

        It was my pleasure to write about Pampa! It took me a day or so to get use to such a different lifestyle from where I live in Colorado, but I had a wonderful time while I was there.

        Reply
    • J

      JRApr 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      Smokin’ Joe’s is the best!!

      Reply