Route 66: Deep in the Texas Panhandle

Day 16: May 15, 2013
Start: Elk City, OK
End: Amarillo, TX
Miles Driven Today: 196 (including in-town miles)
Total Miles: 2,736

We left Oklahoma behind, but not before reminders of its history. Right before the border, we saw this memorial commemorating the rededication of Route 66 in 1952 as the Will Rogers Highway. Nice.

Will Rogers Memorial Highway

Will Rogers Memorial Highway

Texas. We finally made it to Texas.

Texas State Line

Texas State Line

Suddenly, the road and the land got flat. The green rolling prairie turned into sagebrush and wide, flat plains. The Texas Panhandle has been called the place “where the wind pumps the water and the cows chop the wood.” The former refers to the abundance of windmills, and latter refers to cow patties…and how they used to be used for fuel. Charming!

But perhaps cow patties would be preferable to what is considered snack food here. This tasty morsel was found at the Dollar General (el cheapo stuff) store. We had seen the Dollar Generals all over the area, so we decided to stop to get some spray paint (explanation later). This was on the snack shelf at the check-out.

Texas Snackin'

Texas snackin! Mmmmm…mmmmm…good? Marty Watts, this one’s for you!

We reached McLean, Texas, and stopped at the Devil’s Rope/Old Route 66 Museum. Tom wasn’t thrilled about stopping, but I wanted to peruse the gift shop. Inside was a fascinating account of the Dust Bowl and a Barbed Wire museum. While I wasn’t quite interested in the history of barbed wire, I was fascinated by the barbed wire art! Whowouldvethunk?

Jackrabbit Barbed Wire Art

Jackrabbit Barbed Wire Art

Tree and Swing

Tree and Tire Swing barbed wire art. I love the wind-blown tree.

Barbed wire cowboy hat

Barbed wire cowboy hat. Wouldn’t wear it, but…

Giant Cobra

Giant cobra. I have no idea what significance this has, but it’s kind of cool.

I’m glad we stopped. I saw something original and beautiful made out of something as mundane as barbed wire. That’s what I love about this trip. While the big things are (and will be) great, the little things fill us with wonder and joy. This is what we wanted to see and experience.

The next stop after McLean was at the Bug Ranch in Conway. Created as a parody of the Cadillac Ranch (an outdoor piece of artwork featuring 10 Cadillacs planted nose-down in the ground), the Bug Ranch features the hulls of half a dozen Volkswagen Beetles. We took our Dollar General spray paint and left our mark.

Tom Inspects Bug Ranch

Tom inspects the art at Bug Ranch

We left our mark at Bug Ranch

We left our mark at Bug Ranch

We motored on, mainly driving on frontage roads next to I-40. The old Portland cement roads peeked in at various stretches, giving us that satisfying whomp-whomp as we watched the plains roll by.

Today's Open Road

Today’s open road.

We reached Amarillo and took the Historic Route 66 path through town. The long path wound around the industrial part of the city…not particularly attractive. We did go through downtown as well as the SW 6th Street Antique Row district and finally reached our hotel. We got settled and then headed for our feast–a steak dinner at The Big Texan.

The BIG Texan

The Big Texan! YAY!

Mooo!

Mooo! MMMMM! Steak!

The dining room was filled with kitsch, and the place was terribly touristy. But it was FUN. We had a BIG Texan waiter (he looked gigantic) and we ordered our steaks and some cold, frosty beverages.

Kitschy and fun

Main dining room at The Big Texan! Kitschy and fun!

Of course, I couldn’t wait. I had to go see the steaks cooking!

Cookin' the steak

Cookin’ the steak! Can’t wait!

And then…it came!!!! Yes, that’s fried okra on my plate. *LOVE*

My dinner

My dinner…before…

But it didn’t last long.

My dinner after

…and after!

And yes, we did save room for dessert!

Texans really mean BIG

Dessert anyone? Texans really do mean BIG!

We waddled to the big rocker after dinner. As Tom says, “DAMN, that was good!”

BIG Rocker

BIG Rocker. After a meal like that, we needed one!

We had a great day today, and a great dinner tonight. Yes, the Big Texan is touristy. But the steaks were great, the drinks and dessert were both HUGE, and we had a great time! What could be better!

The dogs, however, did NOT get doggie bags. 🙂

Speaking of the dogs, we’ve been seeing real change in Juliet. She’s getting more vocal and bold (and more impish). She’s really coming out of her shell. We were walking into the hotel today, and she BARKED once at the resident dog. We’ve heard her bark maybe a half a dozen times in the last 18 months…this is yet another change for her. Hm…maybe not for the better!! But we have seen her showing more curiosity and less fear as the days have gone on. It’s wonderful to see!

Back seat driver

Juliet, the back seat driver

Tomorrow, we plan on visiting the Cadillac Ranch and heading out for another short drive day to Tucumcari (or, as I keep calling it, Tutankhaman. LOL!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Route 66: Deep in the Texas Panhandle

  1. Looks and sounds great, but I will avoid the Texas Panhandle after seeing that streach of road you took a picture of.

Post a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s