Day 17: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Start: Amarillo, TX
End: Tucumcari, NM
Miles Driven Today: 116
Total Miles: 2,852
This morning, we awoke to some terrible news about a killer tornado in Northern Texas. When we had been driving along out of Oklahoma into Texas, we saw some ominous clouds that were…just strange. We checked the forecast, and we didn’t see any tornado warnings, so we just motored on. Seeing the devastation of that tornado gave us pause; it made us thankful for our good fortune.
Before leaving Amarillo, we decided to visit “Antique Road”, AKA SW 6th Street. There’s about 10 blocks of shops, restaurants and galleries on this part of Historic 66. We first stopped at the Lile Art Gallery. It was closed, but there was a phone number on the door with a sign asking us to call. We did. The owner, Bob “Crocodile” Lile, was busy and wasn’t able to come down…or so we thought. A few minutes later, he called me back and told me that he was on his way! Super!
A few minutes later, “Crocodile” Lile pulled up in his car, accompanied by a couple of friends. Apparently, he had been driving one of his friends from a doctor’s appointment, and diverted to meet us! Once again, the kind, welcoming nature of people all along Route 66 has made this a very special experience.
We walked around to view the art (his, and that of local artists). The art pictured behind him is made from remnant paint chips from the Cadillac Ranch. He also has some very nice abstract paintings, furniture, decorative items and more at his gallery. We picked up a few cool items (not to be mentioned here in case one of the recipients is reading this). We chatted for awhile, and then went on our way. “Crocodile” was kind enough to give us a little gift as we left. Thanks!!
Walking around the Antique district, we spotted this sign. I thought it was kind of cool:
We bid downtown Amarillo goodbye, and headed for our next stop–Cadillac Ranch. Armed with our cans of spray paint, we left our mark on Texas:
But that was not the only mark we left in Texas. In Adrian, Texas, the midpoint of Route 66 (between L.A. and Chicago), the Sunflower Station Gift Shop had an old pickup truck with a “living” guestbook. Of course, we had to sign it. Luckily, I had my trusty Sharpie with me! Whoop!
Soon after Adrian, we arrived in New Mexico. As we approached New Mexico, the landscape changed. The flat Texas plain was replaced by dry sagebrush and mesas. It was as if someone turned on the New Mexico switch!
A couple of exits into the state, we encountered the Russell’s truck stop. Crocodile Lile told us to stop–the truck stop houses an impressive collection of vintage cars. now, the museum is free and quite impressive. However, after seeing vintage car after vintage car over the last few weeks, I’m almost vintaged out! 🙂 But it still was cool!
We are really looking forward to seeing the landscape across New Mexico. The look of the open road has already changed. We’re SO looking forward to Santa Fe tomorrow!
Soon, we were heading into Tucumcari, our stop for tonight. Our first sign was Tucumcari Mountain. Impressive at a distance…but a little less so close up. What really did get us were the little dust storms on the plain. We thought the clouds of dust were cars driving across the plain, but they turned out to be wind-whipped air swirls (we call them mini-tornadoes). It’s pretty dry and hot here, so it’s not surprising.
We got to our hotel, and the girls got comfy in the room. Juliet is exploring more and more. Jasmine is content just to be up next to me…my little lump.
We got into town around 3pm (thanks to the time change), so we left the dogs in the room and did a little exploring around town. We found a little trading post (closed), and Tom found another John Deere!
After a very yummy dinner at Del’s Restaurant (Tom mentions the superb Green Chile Stew in his blog entry), we are happily esconced in our air-conditioned room. We are headed for three nights in Santa Fe…a little respite after some serious time on the road.