Road Trip Day 3 - To Amarillo, TX

Had a couple of Svenhard Pastries (I bring individually wrapped ones from Costco along on road trips) and some coffee for breakfast.

Went to see Gallup's "Dude Man" Cowboy muffler man at 416 W Coal Avenue.

Did some browsing at First American Traders (one of Gallup's many Craft and Pawn Shops. 'Pawn Shops' in Gallup don't have the negative connotation that they do in some other places).

Began my drive east on I-40 (Historic Route 66). Stopped at Continental Divide for gas and a photo.

In Grants, New Mexico, I found the Uranium Cafe to be closed. There seems to be a recurring history of it going out of business.

I am listening to the audio book "My Life" by Bill Clinton since I am planning to go to the Clinton Museum in Little Rock. Actually, I read the book a couple of years ago, and it was long (>1000 pages) and somewhat painful. The Grammy Award winning audio book is abridged and since Clinton is reading it, is quite interesting (and it was available in the library).

Stopped at the Route 66 Casino to stretch my legs and use the facilities. With all the signs you can't miss it (on the western outskirts of Albuquerque) - Clean, friendly staff, and definitely a Route 66 theme. I signed up for a Ultimate Rewards Player's Club card and received a free gift of a nice insulated car cup.

I drive through Albuquerque without stopping in the city. I stop near Tucumcari for gas. It's about 42 miles from Tucumcari to the Texas border. I am trying to take photos of all the state welcome signs - this one I took from an off ramp at a funny angle. I really appreciate it when the state provides a tourist friendly turnout by their welcome sign. My GPS system really helps me with my Welcome Sign Quest, because it displays a dashed line on its screen for the state border.

It is about an hour drive from the New Mexico - Texas border to Cadillac Ranch.

Some people have said that Cadillac Ranch has a special energy source, similar to the Pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, or Jerusalem. There is no doubt that it attracts Pilgrims from all over the world. After visiting Cadillac Ranch, I can't believe that this was only one of my Secondary Destinations!

I leave Cadillac Ranch with a new feeling of enlightenment. It only takes about 20 minutes to drive to my destination for the night: The Big Texan Motel, Amarillo. It is still light so I can look at the Texas Shaped Swimming Pool (which for some reason is locked and there is yellow barrier tape on the gate - it looks nice enough though). I also check out the Horse Hotel, which seems to have several guests, and is a very nice feature for people who take their horses on road trips.

The motel is right next to the Big Texan Steak Ranch. This is another tourist Mecca which seems to have been made famous by the free publicity generated by its "Free 72 Ounce Steak Challenge".

Though I once ate 30 sticks of Satay, and another time ate 20 eggs, my better judgment keeps me from seriously considering the Steak Challenge (also steak is not really my cup of tea).

The atmosphere is fun with wait staff in western outfits and some roving cowboy musicians (who thankfully stayed away from me). It seems pretty busy for 8:30 pm on Thursday night. I order the "Six Flags of Texas" (which is Fried Catfish, Shrimp, Chicken Strips, and two Spare Ribs, side dishes of Fried Okra and Soup, and a Sweet Peach Iced Tea. The Fried Okra was the standout, everything else was pretty mundane.

An Asian guy was doing the Steak Challenge. He gave it a good try, but the steak got the better of him. Oh well, at least he got a T-Shirt, plastic cowboy boot shaped beverage cup, and a doggy bag of leftovers for his $72. You can see whether anybody is doing the Steak Challenge right now by using to the Big Texan's live webcam.

I used the wireless internet until about 11:30 and went to bed.