Sunday, June 10, 2012
We started the day with some of the worst coffee ever…well really only about 2 sips and then Jane made a pot in the Sprinter! Very few RV parks offer breakfast but the American RV Park in Albuquerque did so we thought we should not pass it up… well the cereal and breads were fine but the coffee was so bad neither of us could drink it. We were however on the road by 8:30 for our first day of Interstate 40 driving. We are breaking the 1,500 miles into 4 days – it could be done in 3 days; but why make it an endurance test?
The eastern side of New Mexico was mainly brown, flat with mesas here and there. There were a few cities but nothing much to stop to investigate. We stopped for lunch in Tucumcari and had a very interesting experience. The town certainly looked like it had seen better days – many of the towns in this area were boom towns along Route 66 but when I 40 bypassed them they fell upon harder times. It probably looked as bad as any town we have been to this trip. Many boarded up buildings and others with closed and for sale signs. One other item of note about Tumcumcari is the mesa right outside of town is said to be used as a model for the movie CARS. It looked just like any other mesa to me!
There were 3 restaurants that got good reviews on Virtual Tourist so we went to one – it was closed on Sunday. We went to the next one on the list – Kix on 66 and it was a real winner. Ben had a green chili cheeseburger and Jane had a chili rellano panneni - we split them both and they were both wonderful. That restaurant was a zoo – we were seated at the counter on stools. Every seat was filled with people coming after us waiting for a place to sit. We thought it was the church crowd on a Sunday but the manager said no – church was not even out yet….he was amazed. They had 4 cooks and 5 waitresses busy, busy, busy!
The route today has much in common the entire day - I 40; remnants of Historic Route 66 and the railroad. They are all constants on this common way to cross our great country!
Back on the road from Tucumcari, we headed into Texas. Texas was more small towns and seemed to have more agriculture – corn, wheat, and lots of cattle. We saw one of the huge cattle operations with the cattle in pens but most were grazing contentedly on the range – the way it should be! We seem to have left the drought behind as the fields are green and gold(where there is wheat).
Somewhere along the trip today we also passed from the square bales to the round bales for the hay or alfalfa. We also passed into another time zone and lost an hour today. Around 4:00 but really 5:00 we found ourselves in Shamrock Texas with the allotted number of miles driven for the day. We were tired so drove into Shamrock to see what we might find.
This is an interesting little town in the panhandle of TX. We are about 20 miles from the Oklahoma border. It has the tallest water tower (of it’s kind) in TX; has 600 motel rooms (including ours at a nice Best Western), has a new medical center, a golf course, and 5 restaurants. We chose Big Vern’s Steakhouse and Saloon which had a 16 ounce Ribeye special tonight and they encouraged you to share – so share we did and it was perfect both in amount and flavor. It was an excellent steak so now we don’t have to hunt for the best steakhouse in Oklahoma City! The other claim to fame for this small town is the Conoco Station (now restored) that was used as the inspiration for Ramones Body Shop in Cars the movie. Not sure my photo will do it justice and I don’t think I will be going back after dark to get the photo with the neon showing. Today it is a gift shop and chamber of commerce.
Day one down and 3 to go! We will try to find something interesting each day. We are beginning to be ready to be home.