26.05.2009 - 27.05.2009 84 °F
Room 229, Holiday Inn Express, Socorro, New Mexico
Thank you so much for your kind comments and emails. Much appurreesiayted!
Our flights from Chicago to Dallas and on to Amarillo were fine. We generally enjoy American airports (unless we're in line to go through Immigration, which we haven't had to do for years now). Other passengers are there to get from A to B; to make a meeting or pay a visit. Their aim is not to drink as much lager as possible before the flight and to generally behave like idiots. What a difference. And not every inch of airports is covered by portakabins!
In his comment, Paul asked for a daily question. Can't promise Paul but how about this one puzzling us. Why do airports not have clocks? We can understand casinos but not airports. Thought it would be in the airlines' interests to ensure people knew what time it was??
(PS US TV full of the Susan Boyle story). Oh my!
Anyway. At Dallas airport there was a moving moment. Troops were boarding a flight to who knows where. Some dignitary was shaking each of their hands as they went to board then everyone in the terminal applauded as the last one went through. John shed a tear. Some were quite cute too! There must a base here.
Star of our flight on Canadair Regional Jet was David the purser (head FA of 2). (He's having a go at some guy who left an oversized bag hanging out of one of the small overhead lockers).
Picked up our rental car and yes, hooray it's a decent sized Ford Explorer with satellite radio and Hertz's own navigator system "NeverLost". Never lost? Pah ! See below*
Actually we only got mildy lost finding out hotel. We dumped our stuff and went to find some dinner. It was getting late as we'd had to change rooms due to the safe not working (Bob having unpacked everything). But a safe is important given what we have been carrying around (cameras etc).
We went next door to the Texas Roadhouse. "Have you eaten at a Texas Roadhouse before?" "Nope". All very daunting. "Would you like to chose your steak now", points to cool cabinet full of giant slabs of beef. "Can we do that later please?". "Surething".
Then a lovely guy called Arron takes over. He guides us through the whole complicated procedure down to the 3 metal buckets left on our table, one of which is full of whole peanuts.
The bottom line is that we both ate Rib-eye steaks of the most delicious kind. Cannot remember better steaks. And portions were very manageable. We even managed to share a cheesecake (as it used to be) for dessert. Arron earned his tip. Bet he looks like his Mum!
- Well, when we were driving round Amarillo the following day, we were "AlwaysLost". The victims of the stupid Hertz system and a street naming system devised by a maniacal and sadistic planner. Most streets have names like S East Street which then becomes North East Street. West East Street becomes East East Street. And South North Street can become North North Street or Even East North Street. The map we had only had a few street names mainly of the S. East Street variety. There was a vague area marked "Route 66 Historic District" which was what we were looking for. The "NeverLost" System kept telling us we had reached our destination without ever getting there. Eventually we just stumbled up on it. Well worth it as quite a few businesses are trying to revive a down at heel district.
Previously we tried to find another human being in the civic center area of Downtown. For those readers who have not visited a typical American city, most are now like donuts, with all the activity of malls and strip malls round the outside where virtually all business is done, and the centre, where nothing happens apart from city government and sending criminals to jail. All the old businesses have closed and buildings converted to parking lots. Not that anyone wants to park there.
We are pleased to report that Downtown Amarillo is reviving itself with signs of growth, old buildings being restored and restaurants and businesses moving in. We had a smashing breakfast at a restored restaurant called Marizon. Arthur gave it **** (no Lumberjack Slam) else it would have got five stars.
Before that we had found another human being in the Civic Center. A wonderful lady from Chicago in their Tourist Information Office. She was desperate for some tourists to visit her and she unloaded a huge amount of her stock on us! (Who wants an Amarillo, Texas pin?).
We then went on to, not that far from, well, on the other side of the Interstate from, Cavenders. Incredible value for shirts, jeans, boots and hats. We both bought shirts and jeans and Bob bought boots and John a hat which he has not taken off since. (You see, no one laughs at you here for wearing a stupid hat). All set for our Western party then guys!
The bonus is the place is full of "cowboys" checking out the latest fashions and lariats.
After that, we spent most of the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon getting lost trying to find Palo Duro Canyon. Eventually we did and it was well worth it.
Today, Thursday, after a wonderful drive down Route 66 (now Interstate 40) across the rest of the Texas panhandle and New Mexico, we are safely ensconced in Socorro, New Mexico, more of which soon. Spanish is useful here!
Night night. Time for a Tex-Mex. Mmmmm!!
PS. Paul asked for a quiz for you all to enter. Prize of a Dollar placed on a number at a Las Vegas table (possibly Arthur's dinner table. Who's funding this, Paul?)
Here is today's quiz. Name this steer.