Amarillo by Afternoon via Route 66

Sadly we leave Santa Fe today, the Land of Enchantment. Yet, there is always another adventure down the road. We’ve done the drive from New Mexico to Amarillo at least 5 times in the past 15 years. There is always some memorable places we stop, just to see how things might have changed.

We first drove Route 66 from Oklahoma to Santa Monica Pier in 2002. Over the years many of the Route 66 landmarks have disappeared. A few are still around, sometimes revived by new owners and sometimes painted so you know what they are supposed to look like. These pictures are from some of the places – Clines Corner, Santa Rosa, Vega and Midpoint Cafe, and of course Cadillac Ranch on the outskirts of Amarillo.

And unbelievably the song Route 66 comes on the radio!!Vega, Texas is the midway on Route 66 and we are happy to find the diner is still there with the wind farm across the way. Amazing to us was the huge wind farm just west of Amarillo. Here’s is what Wikipedia says – we think there are more like 1,000 turbines! Yes, it’s very un-Texan to under-exaggerate.

Wikipedia says: “The Wildorado Wind Ranch, completed in 2007, is located on approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) 25 miles (40 km) west of Amarillo, Texas and consists of 161 MW of wind turbines (70 Siemens Mk II turbines each capable of generating 2.3 MW at peak wind speeds). These turbines have the capacity to meet the electricity demand of more than 50,000 households. The Wildorado Wind Ranch was developed by Cielo Wind Power, of Austin, Texas, in conjunction with Edison Mission Group of Irvine, California.”

Cadillac Ranch – 10 old Cadillacs sticking out of the ground just west of Amarillo are surviving. What is disappointing to us is how man spray paint cans are laying on the ground as trash. This was never done in the past. Sad people think it is okay 😳😡We arrived at our Amarillo Hotel and did laundry for the first time on this trip. Dinner is at the Big Texan Steakhouse – a tradition if you ever come thru Amarillo. Funny we found out from the front desk at our hotel that they now have a limo that will pick you up and take you to the restaurant.

The limo arrived right on time. Big Texas Longhorns on the front and Dave is a great driver. He gives us a little bit on what is going on in Amarillo – oil industry and they actually manufacturer the wind turbine superstructures. Life is good in the Texas panhandle.

The Big Texan Steakhouse is even better than we remember because it is summer and bustling. And they’ve added a microbrewery, which is actually housed in a semi-trailer behind the restaurant (a portable brewery; what a concept!) Four men are competing for the possibility of a free steak if they can eat the 72 Oz Steak up on stage. A gentlemen is going around serenading at tables; good old Texas swing music. He stops at our table and tells us when he was 8 years old he had Bob Wills sing “San Antonio Rose” to him. He sings it to me, bringing tears to my eye as that was one of my dad’s favorite tunes from his time in the air force in San Antonio, and it’s long been Steve’s favorite song from his youth.

Back to the microbrewery: Not too bad based on our sampling’s.

Two huge steaks later – time to head back to our hotel. Love this experience every time!

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