The motel where we were staying was just across the parking lot from the restaurant and we couldn't have been more ready to eat. The Big Texan Steak Ranch is know for it's 72 ounce steaks. If you can eat one (plus a baked potato, fried shrimp, a salad and a roll) in an hour you can have the meal for free. If not, you have to pay $72.00. We watched one man succeed and another fail. That is a lot of food!
We started out with a beer sampling and then ordered way too much food. Neither one of us are used to eating like this and we could barely make a dent in what we ordered. I tried the Buffalo for fun (didn't like it - too "gamey" for me) and Griffin had a hamburger (daring in itself for this Vegan!). We were serenaded by a lovely trio; we requested Willie Nelson's, "On the Road Again."
After dinner, we played some slot machines and practiced shooting and then very tired we retired to our room. You can be sure I checked and double checked for bed bugs!
We left Amarillo in the morning and drove west into beautiful clear blue skies. We were constantly check our weather apps and warnings to make sure where we were headed was safe. Although we hit a lot of wind and some pretty scary rain and thunder we seem to be leaving all the bad weather behind us.
We found a post office on our route and pulled in to mail some postcards. Bushland is the half-way point between Chicago and Los Angeles - 1,062 miles from either city. But that depends on who you talk to ...
We stopped for lunch in Adrian, Texas at the MidPoint Cafe.
The MidPoint Cafe was built in the late 30's and has changed hands several times. It was the inspiration for Flo's V8 Cafe in the Pixar animated feature "Cars." Dennis, the current owner purchased the restaurant a year and a half ago was delightful to talk to. I loved his story ... he was driving the Route and saw the place was up for sale. He was in a high stress job and lived far away from Texas in Tennessee but was used to traveling this area. It didn't take long for him to decide quit his job and by the diner. He told us he lost 40 pounds, was able to stop taking his blood pressure medication and loved what he was doing. He even learned how to bake the pies the restaurant has been famous for!
We enjoyed everything about this restaurant and the food was just what we needed at the time - pure comfort food!
And oh yeah... you can be sure we had pie. I sure hope I can fit in my clothes when this trip is over!
We continued driving through the Texan Panhandle keeping an eye on the weather behind us. We were pretty isolated on the back roads we were driving on and the clouds behind us were getting darker and darker. At one point a pick-up truck blasting a siren - the kind we could only image were warning sirens passed by us on the road. We checked the weather and it was clear skies our direction. But it didn't look good behind us.
We headed for Tucumcari, New Mexico and arrived late in the afternoon. The town is said to have received it's name for a kind of Romeo and Juliet story. The legend goes like this: An Indian maiden named Kari was so grieved over the death of her lover, Tocom, at the hand of a rival, that she took her own life. Her father, upon discovering the two, exclaimed, "Tocom!" Kari". The other story is that the name comes from a Comanche word, tukamukaru, meaning to lie in wait, as in an ambush. (Which is exactly how we felt hours later .... )
We were excited to see how cute this town is ... and especially our motel! It was perfect!
The Blue Swallow Motel was built in the 1940's from surplus WWII cabins and in 1958 the motel was presented as an engagement gift to Lillian Redman who was the proprietress for many, many years. The new proprietors Kevin and Nancy, are a couple from Illinois who lost their jobs a couple of years ago and decided to purchase the motel. Well, rather, Kevin did. Nancy was not as sure but a friend of hers convinced her she had nothing to lose. They moved out here and just like Dennis from the MidPoint Cafe, they could not be happier. The did a great job making us feel welcome and gave us some tips on where to eat. We took their suggestion and walked up the street and picked up some food-to-go and came back to eat on our front "porch".
The evening started out lovely with a bit of wind but clear as could be. As we walked home with our food we noticed the mesa off in the distance was no longer visible and the wind became stronger and stronger.
Our room had a garage next to it to park our car in!
We tried to eat our food but the wind became too strong and things started blowing over. The darling metal furniture in the patio area started to go first and we decided we had better retreat inside. We set up our food inside and turned on the TV but we couldn't get the sound to work ... and then Griffin discovered it was because the weather alert system was activated. Amarillo where we had just left, was under a severe tornado warning (not a watch ... a WARNING) and the road we had just travelled down was being flooded. We were one county over but it was frightening (really frightening!) and it didn't help to hear the wind outside blowing furniture around. We went to bed listening to the news of the extreme weather and tornados touching down in Amarillo. Griffin was ready to come home.