2014 Travels travel blog

Carpes at the Amarillo Elks Lodge

Morning view of I 40 in New Mexico

Welcome to the Lone Star State

I 40 thru the Texas panhandle

Entering Amarillo

We visited the Big Texan
No, we did not take the 72oz challenge...

Sandi poses with the Big Texan mascot

An interior view of the Big Texan

Chicken Fried Steak at the Big Texan

We visited the Cadillac Ranch
"Highway Art" in the form of tail fin...

Graffiti artists continually alter the cars

Tail fins against the Texas sky

We visited an RV Museum

This Flxible bus conversion starred in the movie RV

A rear view of the 1948 Flxible

Beautifully restore 1948 Ford Super Deluxe 8
Note canvas "desert bag" on front...

The first Itasca is in the museum

Itasca #1, Carpe's forerunner

Amarillo's Fisk Building is now a Marriott Courtyard

Historic Route 66 (the Mother Road) runs thru Amarillo

We had to try Youngbloods

Youngbloods Stockyard Café

Youngbloods Chicken Fried Steak is justly famous

Mon, 05 May: Another road day...

The Wal*Mart parking lot got busy after dark and when we awoke around 0600 we had several Wal*Mart trucks as neighbors. It wasn't too cool so we only had to run the heat long enough to take the chill off.

Following breakfast we went thru our checklist, got everything ready for the road, and at 0730 Bob eased us out of the parking lot and onto I 40 heading into the rising sun.

It was a nice days drive all on I 40. We switched drivers at a rest stop in eastern New Mexico and Sandi continued east into Texas. The only gut tightening moment was when a passing Budget rental truck decided to move back into the right lane without having passed us completely. Thankfully the shoulder was clear so we could avoid the jerk—and we got to test our air horns.

We broke for lunch at a picnic area just across the border, after which we continued into Amarillo. As we proceeded east and descended from 6,000' to 3,500' the temperatures rose continuously. When we pulled into the Elks Lodge in Amarillo it was 95°F. And, in keeping with the weather we've experienced the past few weeks, the winds started to blow with a vengence.

We arrived at the Elks Lodge a few minutes before two Central Daylite Time. We moved from Mountain to Central time at the Texas border, so we "lost" an hour. Today's run was 253 miles with an overall fuel economy of 10.3 mpg. A tailwind and descending 3,000' helped us achieve that high a number.

We plan to stay here for three or more days. There are some great restaurants we want to try and also visit some of the area's attractions.

Wed, 07 May: And we play tourist...

We've been in Amarillo for a few days now and are having a great time. The weather, however, has been less than ideal, with high temperatures and strong winds. We've limited our outdoor activities to the morning and spend the afternoons burrowed in Carpe with the air conditioning running.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we started the day by giving Carpe a good interior cleaning. There was so much dust from all the winds we've had that every interior surface was a shade of ecru. So we got out the duster, vacuum, polish, etc. We even vacuumed the bears and other stuffed critters.

We did so much cleaning that we burned out the motor in our central vacuum system. They want $125 for a replacement motor so we're considering buying a small compact vacuum.

After we finished our "Broom Hilda" routine we headed out to the tourist info center and picked up maps and other tourist info. Then it was time for lunch at the Big Texan Steakhouse. The Big Texan is famous for its Free 72 ounce steak, free if you can eat the entire thing, along with sides, in an hour or less.

We'd eaten at the Big Texan when we came thru Amarillo in 2009 and it was definitely worth a revisit. We both had the Chicken Fried Steak, which was very good.

We then headed west to do some other shopping and finally back home around two to hide from the wind. It was a good day.

This morning, following breakfast, we drove to the Cadillac Ranch west of town. This is one of the first "Highway Art" sites and consists of several circa 1950s & 60s Cadillacs buried nose down in the ground. They encourage people to bring spray paint and add their personal touch to the existing graffiti. And there were folks hauling spray paint cans out by the totefull.

After taking some pix we drove to the RV Museum that is part of a local RV dealership. They have a nice selection of classic RVs, including the first Itasca ever built (Carpe's ancestor?), the 1948 Flxible bus conversion used in the movie RV, and many other great exhibits.

Then it was time to try Youngbloods Stockyard Café. We'd heard that they make the very best chicken fried steak in all of Texas, and we're here to tell you that it is pretty much the case. OK, back on the diet tomorrow.

From Youngbloods we drove thru downtown Amarillo and especially enjoyed seeing the 1930's era Santa Fe Railroad headquarters building and the 1927 Fisk Building that is now a Courtyard by Marriott. We returned to the coach via US 66, which runs thru the center of Amarillo.

Right now we are due to leave in the morning, but we may stay another day. Stay tuned...

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