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Palo Duro Canyon

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My wife and I will be in Texas for ten days in May and were originally planning to spend the time within a 3 or 4 hour radius of Austin.
She recently sprung on me the idea of traveling 8 hours into the panhandle to see Palo Duro Canyon. (she's an art fan and this is apparently where Georgia O'Keefe got some of her inspiration)
Looking at a map, the region from Austin to the canyon looks pretty desolate. I don't mind driving especially when there is new scenery but a 16 hour round trip through a sparsely populated region of Texas has me a bit worried.
Is the canyon worth it? Are there things to do along the drive? Is it nice countryside or is it a little bleak? Thanks for any and all input.

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