Texas and New Mexico
07.05.2007 - 10.05.2007 27 °C
You know it's going to be a good day when your morning breakfast waffle is in the shape of Texas! We left Shamrock (settled by Irish immigrants, very popular at Paddy's day, apparently) and drove, the landscape slowly changing again to desert-like scrub. Another restored gas station, and onto McClean and the Devils Rope Musuem, all about barbed wire. Unfortunately it was closed (!) Further along was the 'Bug Ranch' - four VW Beetles buried nose down in the dirt. The sign said sign a bug so, with some spraycans that were lying around, we obliged.
Next we entered Amarillo, passing the airport for those that are interested (just as a C5 Galaxy landed, plus a Starlifter, then a Galaxy doing circuits.) We found a hotel, grabbed some food, then drove South to Palo Duro Canyon (yeh, us neither.) It is, however, big; only beaten by the Grand Canyon, and really impressive. Plus it had paved roads right down to the floor so it was a fun drive.
In the evening we arranged for the free pick-up from the hotel to the Big Texan restaurant. It was amazing. We were taken by a big texan, wearing an even bigger hat, to a huge white Cadillac limo with enormous bullhorns on the bonnet and driven across Amarillo to the restaurant. The place is famous for it's free 72oz steak (free only if you manage to eat it, and all the trimmings, within an hour.) Now I like to eat, but this is a whole different league! We were serenaded by three good'ol boys with a guitar, violin and double bass playing Country/Bluegrass stuff as we ate huge slabs of meat (sorry Eve.) Then we bought some tacky souvenirs in a gift shop with a rattlesnake in the corner and got the Texas Cadillac back to the hotel. Then we just about managed to stop smiling!
The following morning (Tuesday) we drove just out of town to the Cadillac Ranch (ten Cadillacs buried nose down from 1960 - 1969) No spray paint this time. Boo.
Then we drove on to the halfway point of the route, in Adrian, TX. We had a really nice lunch at the Midpoint Diner, talked a bit to fellow travellers and the owners of the Diner. Fate would have it that we ate our midday meal at the Midpoint Diner on the middle day of our trip down Rte 66, and also our middle day of our USA trip!
We drove on towards New Mexico, crossing the border and soon after plunged off of the high Texan Plains down into a rocky and mountainous landscape. We drove on, sometimes on the Interstate, for around 15 miles on a gravel dirt track (saw tumbleweed!) and reached Tucumcari.
This little town has quite a few Rte 66 sights, including our motel, the Blue Swallow. Was really nice, restored to it's heyday in the 40's and 50's, and owned by chatty and enthusiastic road trippers. We looked around the local dinosaur museum (surprisingly good fun) and cruised the neon lit strip.
The following day we had a coffee in the motel office and set off towards Gallup at the owners recommendation. Gallup is a centre for the Navajo Nation, a huge Indian Reservation, and also the site of lots of 50's and 60's Western movies. We stayed at the home of all those filmstars, the El Ranch Hotel. Cool ranch-house interior with a self-playing piano and the two level lobby covered in signed photos of the stars. Every room was named after a film star - anyone know room number 322, Carl Kempton?
We ate a nice Mexican dinner and drank a couple of bottles of Corona in the bar (brewed in Mexico, imported via Chicago. Made me smile, anyway).
This morning we left and drove West, towards Arizona.
Dave and Sarah XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX