Cross country road trip day 3: Amarillo, TX to Maumelle, AR

Cross country road trip day 3: Amarillo, TX to Maumelle, AR

01. Introduction: Cross country road trip in a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
02: Day 1: San Diego, CA to Deming, NM
03: Day 2: Deming, NM to Amarillo, TX
04: Day 3: Amarillo, TX to Maumelle, AR
05: Day 4: Maumelle, AR to Knoxville, TN
06: Day 5 part A: Driving the Tail of the Dragon
07: Day 5 part B: Knoxville, TN to Salem, VA
08. Day 6: Salem, VA to Dulles, VA
09. Trip summary and final thoughts
10: Review: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

road trip day 3
My driving route from Amarillo, Texas to Maumelle, AR

Despite two full days of driving from San Diego to my current location of Amarillo, TX, I was up bright and early for the long haul to Little Rock, AR. Well, “bright” probably isn’t exactly the right word to be using here, as I actually rolled out of bed before the sun came up. Yes, I was that anxious to get a head start on the day. After a quick shower and a light bite to eat (going to the grocery store the night before to stock up was a good idea), I packed my things and checked out of the hotel.

The Corvette survived another night unscathed in a busy public parking lot, but she wasn’t as anxious as I was to get going this morning. The first starting attempt didn’t go well. She sputtered and coughed, and overall sounded pretty rough for what was essentially a brand new car. Thankfully, she got that out of her system quickly and fired right up on the second attempt. I was off and on my way out of Amarillo.

yellow c7 corvette parked at hotel
The Corvette survived another night parked out in front of the hotel
transparent roof panel c7 corvette
Rain drops on the transparent roof panel
rain on the windshield c7 corvette
Moments before leaving the hotel to head out for another long day of driving. Looks like it’s going to be a wet one.

Unfortunately, I timed my departure right with the morning rush hour traffic, so things were a bit slow for the first 30 minutes or so as I made my way out of the city. The skies were overcast an dull, with drizzle starting to build the further I drove east.

heading east out of amarillo in a c7 corvette
Traffic started to thin as I left Amarillo, but the rain started to come down heavier
I-40 east of Amarillo
There is very little except wide open road east of Amarillo along I-40

I stopped for gas an hour later in Shamrock, and it was there that I drove my only stretch of the original Route 66 of this trip. Unfortunately, the road was in deplorable condition and the rain and mud puddles made for a rather miserable experience.

Oh well – if the conditions were better I probably would have cruised Route 66 for a while, but the weather was not cooperating at all. I did, however, see a nice collection of Corvettes (including some C7’s) on display at a corner automotive store here in Shamrock. These were the first C7’s I saw on this trip so far.

route 66 shamrock texas
Approaching Shamrock, TX along route 66
yellow c7 corvette at the gas station
Filling the Corvette up with gas in Shamrock before jumping back on I-40 east towards Oklahoma City

I’d also like to point out that the wind farms along I-40 in this part of Texas are amazing. There are hundreds of huge wind turbines for as far as the eye can see, and the fog and rain of this particular morning made for an erie (but super cool) scene. Traffic was super light, so I’m kicking myself for not pulling over and getting some pics of the Corvette in front of some of those turbines.

no need to use the windshield wipers in the corvette
Something interesting about the Corvette was the fact that the windshield is so steeply sloped that I didn’t really need to use the wipers.

The rain became progressively heavier as I made my way through Oklahoma, and by the time I passed through Oklahoma City it was coming down in buckets. The Corvette handled it all very well though – it felt planted and solid through the heaviest of it, though there was one scary moment where I lost traction at 65mph as I hit the gas to get around some merging traffic.

Whoa! It’s hard to imagine how much power this car can put down even at highway speeds – it’s brutally powerful and demands respect in conditions like this. Lesson learned.

scary looking rain cloud in oklahoma
Welcome to springtime in Oklahoma – where even simple rain clouds look like a tornado is going to drop at any second!
approaching oklahoma city on I-40 east
Downtown Oklahoma City off in the distance
aircraft display tinker air force base
There was a really impressive static aircraft display at Tinker Air Force Base along I-40
oklahoma city on the nav system display
The nav display in the Corvette with Oklahoma City front and center – the largest city I’ve passed through so far on this road trip.
driving the corvette in the rain
The rain is coming down heavier now!

I stopped at a rest area just outside of Oklahoma City for a quick break, then topped off the gas tank a few miles down the road.

corvette parked at the rest area
No matter where I parked the Corvette, it stood out like crazy. It’s impossible to lose this car!
velocity yellow c7 corvette
The good thing about all this rain is that it was keeping the Vette halfway clean
yellow 2015 corvette shell gas station
Topping off with gas in Cromwell, OK

From there, it was non-stop all the way to Little Rock. The car was running like a champ despite the pounding rain, though a “change oil soon” notification popped up in the display cluster during the afternoon and I never was able to figure out how to dismiss it.

Change Oil Soon notification in the corvette
Change Oil Soon notification

Unfortunately, the rain became heavy, and it was downright scary at times because visibility was so bad. The car wasn’t hydroplaning much, but the spray from the trucks was crazy. This wasn’t an easy afternoon of driving, and I had to concentrate 100% to make sure I didn’t end up putting this beautiful car into the ditch.

That’s not to say that the Corvette was a handful in these conditions. As a matter of fact, I thought it did extremely well and I never felt as if it couldn’t handle all that rain. We don’t see this kind of rain in southern California!

Arkansas state line on I-40 east
Arkansas state line on I-40 east
driving the corvette in heavy rain
Navigating wet roads, heavy rain, and high winds requires heavy concentration

I was feeling downright relieved when I started approaching the outskirts of Little Rock (my destination goal for the day) shortly after 5pm, but then the skies opened up and visibility went to near zero. It was also about this time that I started noticing cars in the ditch on both sides of the road, and I knew that I had to get off the road ASAP. Luckily, I saw signs for hotels just a few miles ahead in Maumelle, so I made my exit and called it a day.

I forgot how much I hate driving in heavy rain. Living in San Diego has spoiled me rotten, that’s for sure.

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