Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oasis Campground, Amarillo, Texas

September 25, 2009-October 1, 2009

When Gary told me he had found a campground that included all of the following for $15-$20 per night I figured it had to be a dump, but agreed to check it out. I mean what would you think if you saw that rate and the following was included?:

Full Hook-ups, including cable tv

Free Wi-Fi

Free Laundry

Swimming Pool

Adults only Spa

Spotless Showers

Clean Restrooms

RV Wash Allowed

Propane On-site

Pull thru sites

Storm Shelters and much, much more

Well guess what we were in AWE when we pulled in. The place is gorgeous!!! And it got better. Our pick-up and 30 ft fifth wheel were in the $17 per night bracket, but it got better. Pay for 2 nights, get the third free!!! So our bill for 3 nights was $34.

None of it was a lie it was all absolutely gorgeous.  The bathrooms are individual rooms with the shower and toilet in a private room.  Very nice.

The laundry rooms (there is more than one on the campground) contain stacked units totalling four washer and dryer pairs in each laundry room. I never had to wait for a unit.

There has to be a catch or a bad side right? Well the cable isn’t perfect. I can live with a little snow on a few channels though. The Wi-fi is slow, faster than dial up, but not a lot. And if you are looking for shade you will not find it. It’s basically a big level parking lot with oasis’ of nice landscaping at each site.

The place is beautiful and very well maintained. Oh and in case you are interested. They do Work Kampers here! For those of you that don’t know what a Work Kamper is, it’s basically a job that pays your camping fees while here. You do maintenance or whatever for a few hours a week (20 hours here) and the week of camping is paid for.

Basically what the owner said they needed immediately were people who were willing to work four hours a day five days a week for a week worth of free camping. The job for that was washing RV’s (the campground charges $50 to have the work Kampers wash your camper—you can do it for free yourself though). Other jobs for similar fees were also available. They prefer a commitment of a month or more for most of the jobs. The RV washing was for temporary visitors.

A wind storm hit shortly after we set camp on our extremely level site and the trailer really rocked. Just about the time we were thinking fondly of the storm shelters the wind stopped and a beautiful sunset appeared. We were glad we were where we were at.

The following day was Saturday and there were no shops scheduled so we decided to go exploring. Our travels took us to the Palo Duro Canyon. It’s Texas’ version of the Grand Canyon and was made well known by Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” series. This is where the real Charlie Goodnight had his enormous ranch.

For numerous reasons we did not drive down into the canyon, but I did walk around the rim near a housing addition and took numerous photos of the sheer beauty of it. They allow horseback riding in the canyon and there are horse motels in and around the Amarillo area, if that is of interest to you. One is not far from the Oasis campground.

We also visited the Cadillac Ranch on Route 66.  It is a modern art form created by "The Ant Ranch" (Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels) in 1974 from finned Cadillacs (model years 1949-1963) that are buried half in the dirt, nose end first at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Gyza in Egypt. It is located near Amarillo, Texas.  It was less than five miles from our campground.

Despite the signs up that say it now belongs to the State of Texas and spray painting or tagging the cars is illegal it goes on constantly.  My photo to the left will probably not match the current colors and designs on the cars now.  The smell of spray paint filled the air while we were there.  There is a small parking area and a walk through gate that allows you to go right up to the cars.  They are a unique icon on the old Route 66.

Over our time there we did various small shops, including some window shopping on our own while. We’d planned on going into the Texas AM West library, but they had almost doubled their entry fee from what was posted in the AAA book and being tightwads that were also very short on time that day we decided to not visit it that week.

Mainly in our off hours we stayed around the campground taking advantage of doing our laundry for free. We of course had to supply our own laundry supplies, which we had brought from home.

The gift shop has a very limited supply of minor camp supplies and of course they were a wee bit high. Hey, they’ve got to make money somewhere right?

They offer a bar-b-q dinner they serve nightly for a fee. We never did try it but many of the other campers did and reported back that it was very good.

We walked down to the pool at one point, it was small, extremely clean with no overwhelming chlorine smells. The spa was closed, but there was a sign up that stated if we wanted to use the facilities to contact the main desk and arrangements would be made.

We stayed there for six days. We had originally planned on staying two weeks, but the major shops we had scheduled for then were suddenly pulled from availability at the last minute. We thought about going to Albuquerque but found out in time that the Balloon festival was going on and that traffic would be at a standstill and streets blocked by the police to control traffic. After much discussion we decided to opt for home and the multitude of shops that had suddenly popped up there.

Because we had already prepaid we took some time off and simply rested. It was really nice to do so. Sleeping late, listening to Dave Ramsey, reading and doing some much needed cleaning and upkeep on the camper.

I read several magazines from a large stash at home, then left them in the laundry room for others to read and pass on. It brought a smile to my face to see one camper after another “borrow” them and then return them for the next camper.

Three things were truly lacking at this parking lot campground: Shade, playground equipment and picnic tables.

The time of year we were there the lack of shade was not a problem. They have planted several trees, but it will be a while before they can be considered shade trees.

If you are like us and eat a lot of your meals at a campground picnic table, you better pack your own because there was not a single one in this enormous campground.

Perhaps it was because we were there during the school year that we only saw one child the entire time we were there. Or it could be because it is a campground that is strictly for campers of all types. There are no tent sites.

We were both sad and anxious to be heading home for an unknown amount of time. We love traveling, but were missing our son and all the fur and feathered babies.

The day we packed up we had a small “furry” visitor. His picture is to the left along with some photos of the campground.

On the way home we traveled I-40 and once again marveled at the white giants flailing their arms to produce electricity in Weatherford, OK. The windmills are much more impressive traveling east to west than west to east because you can see them all in a line on the hilltop. We first saw them last November on our way to a seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada. We were mesmerized when we first saw them.

It was a long drive home and uneventful, thankfully. Home again, home again—wait I’ve already used that title.

I know that the minute we can we will hit the road again, but in the meantime I’ll be adding frugal recipes, household hints and of course animal tails until we once again hit the road. Please stay tuned we plan on to keep “Seeing the USA, the Mystery Shopping Way”

Jan who is typing this the end of October and is getting cabin fever bad in OK


  1. IT is sad to see what has happened at the "cadillac Ranch" I remember living in Dumas TX and travelling to my then in-laws house and going by there. It was fairly new then at this was in 79.

  2. Yes they have a lot of signs up saying it's against the law to put graffiti on them, but there were ADULTS--not teens or beanie boppers spraying a car while we were there. The cars are also starting to rust out bad. Jan who is glad she at least got to see them before they are totally gone in OK