Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Route 66 Day 9

Oklahoma City to Amarillo, TX today, so another fairly long drive. We started out on the Interstate (swinging off to visit a store selling Native American stuff) then switched back to the old road where it began to get really interesting, at Erick, OK. Erick has been described as the first town you hit going West which has a really Western feel to it: it only lacks the horses hitched to rails to complete the picture. The home town of Jimmy Webb and Roger Miller, Erick was delightful, and the road out of town was a wonderful old stretch of The Mother Road. We passed through Texola, supposedly pretty much a ghost town and the last one you pass before the state line. Well, since January it has been home to the Tumbleweed Grill, which is a beautifully restored old-style store-cum-diner. We got some lunch there and had a good long talk to the owner. The grasshoppers were deafening: apparently they get louder in dry times, and West Oklahoma has been in a drought for three years now. The owner has two collie dogs which we admired: someone abandoned them in the middle of the night near her store last year as puppies, so she took them in and called them Mose and Licker. we think this one is Mose.

After Texola we entered Texas, and the road remained mostly old concrete slabs. We made pretty good time though as it was empty, and we saw a side of America we wouldn't have seen: the downside of the American Dream, with farmers clearly having a hard time. In Maclean there was a Route 66 museum which had a big dilsplay all about the dust bowl of the 1930s. I knew the basics but I'd never actuaally seen pictures of the dust storms sweeping in. It also had a reconstruction of a 1950s diner. Oh, and it was a museum of barbed wire.

Then on to Groom, famous for two things: its leaning water tower (deliberately built that way as a gimmick) and the second largest cross in the Western hemisphere (overtaken a few years after to was built by a lookalike in Illinois).

Then it was back onto the Interstate for the fifty miles or so to Amarillo. The motel here is comfortable, with a pool we made use of when we arrived. We felt that on our one night in texas it had to be steak, so we ended up in the Big Texan steakhouse, to which we were transported by a complimentary limo.

The Big Texan offers a permanent challenge: if you can consume one of their 72oz steaks with baked potato, roll and butter and side salad, in an hour, you get the meal free. (If you fail it costs you $72.) There are six LED timers in the restaurant: when we arrived one was counting down, while another customer began his challenge as we were sitting down. The forst was a woman who failed, the second a man who succeeded. It seems they have 4-5 challengers a night, and around three a week manage the feat. Good publicity, that;s for sure. We just ate our steaks in the usual way, and splendid they were too: as good a steak as I've had anywhere.

Then back to the motel and bed (as soon as I'm done with blogging for the night).

Oh, here's the music for today. I'm told nobody in Amarillo knows it, but it staged a comeback when it was used in a charity telethon in te UK a few years ago.


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