John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

Ken & Lorraine Johnston's shirt makes it to Route 66 in Amarillo


April 10

We said good-bye to Santa Fe perhaps sooner than we would have liked but there are more adventures to be had and sights to be seen. Our journey to Amarillo took us from the southern Rockies, through the "hogback" ridges of Juniper and Pinon trees and down to the Great Plain dry land of central New Mexico. It never ceases to amaze us the diversity of geography and ecology we go through on this trip.

We were buffeted by winds gusting to 50 miles an hour but, fortunately, when we reached I-40, our direction turned east toward Tucumcari and Amarillo and the wind was more a tailwind the rest of the way. I had the thread of a song about Tucumcari going through my head which I found in later internet research was a recording by Jimmie Rodgers of the same name. It doesn't serve as a theme song for us because the refrain goes, "2 more miles to Tucumcari, then I'll never more roam." One thing we noticed after crossing into Texas is the change from dry desert to greener ranch land. There are lots of windmills used for pumping water from the ground and huge irrigation systems. We arrived in Amarillo around 4:30 pm after moving our clocks one hour ahead to Central Daylight Saving Time.

After checking in, we decided (OK, maybe I decided) to go out for dinner at the Bennigans next door. I remembered that we had gone to a Bennigans in Orlando with Katie after she told us about a fine testimonial she had seen on South Park. Our waitress, Nikki, didn't seem quite used to martini-swilling, wine-drinking Canadians and made some minor errors with our dinner order. Not wanting to be jerks, we made small talk with her about our trip and Brenda's interviewing skills got her talking about herself. It turned out she was a 19-year-old single mother who had traveled, like NEVER...OK, maybe once to New Mexico (68 miles away). She was very sweet and had big dreams of returning to school but you have to think it would require a lot of guts and hard work; we're pulling hard for her to make it.

April 11

We found that there was not a lot to see in Amarillo but it is a point on Route 66 and this would be our last contact with the Mother Road for a while. I put on the Route 66 T-shirt I had received as a parting gift from Ken & Lorraine Johnston in Palm Springs and we headed to the designated stretch of pavement for a picture. Keep in mind; we have covered LA, San Bernardino, Barstow, Kingman, Flagstaff, Winona, Gallup and now Amarillo as well as other memorable towns that are on the route but didn't make the song.

We traveled on to Lubbock with the intent of spending a couple of days. We had done some research the night before and discovered that Buddy Holly's hometown is a lot bigger than you might think. It has a population of over 200,000, making it almost the same size as Burnaby. It also is the home of Texas Tech University, now famous for it's 31-point comeback in the Insight Bowl this year for the biggest upset in major College Bowl history (if you care). It also has some very unique museums that caught Brenda's eye.

We pulled into a Comfort Inn & Suites off the Interstate, which turned out to be the nicest motel with the most comfortable beds to date. We drove around town to scope out the museum tour we would be taking on Thursday.



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