Oklahoma to Amarillo 

Or “Mexicans sure love them some Jeysus!”

Monday morning, gym then swim, fed & watered, Blue skies overhead, Bon Jovi’s ‘Dead or Alive’ on the radio, Captain Mike Barker at the helm and we are west Bound for Amarillo! After not very long it became apparent that all was not well with the radio station, the songs were skipping around like we were playing them from a turntable in the boot (trunk). It reminded me of the time I went to see the X-files movie and the projectionist got the reels mixed up, giving the film a Quentin Tarantino vibe and infinitely improving the plot in the process. 

I’m loving spotting familiar places names on this trip. so far we’ve been 24 miles from Tulsa, seen a sign for a town called  Kickapoo, Wichita (setting of my favourite song), Aurora (Home of Wayne and Garth), it just goes on! I’ve struggled getting postage facilities here, the idea of selling postcards AND stamps at the same place and time leaves a look of awe and wonder on the gawping,  baffled faces of shop staff. Am I seriously supposed to believe these people got to the moon? 

It’s not been helped by labour day weekend as places are either closed or having the kind of sale which if the TV advertisements are to be believed are based largely on taking advantage of the managers mental illness! This is apparently the American way so it’s not my place to judge.

There are some truly American sights that i didn’t manage to snap with my camera like a diner we passed with a rank and file of 50 Mack Trucks proudly sat with gleaming paintwork and polished chrome glinting in the mid day sun, looking poised and ready to charge the enemy, or the silhouette of oil wells on the horizon, apparently, small ‘Mom and Pop’ oil wells on the family land which can churn out a few barrels of oil a day. It would seem there is indeed gold in them there hills! Or the sign for the “Free 72 ounce Steak”, I fear if you took that challenge you’d end up with a colon like a fossilised donut! (But again, it’s their way…)

About half way to Amarillo we stopped at the Route 66 museum in Elk City and had a look at some interesting old cars and bikes and loaded up on some authentic Route 66 memorabilia which was probably made by a 9 year old in a Chinese sweat shop.. After our tour of the museum it was food time so we stopped at Pedro’s which is a Mexican Restaurant up the road from the museum (really John? Pedro’s? Mexican? No shit!). I’ve never had authentic Mexican food before and I’ll be sure to give it wide berth in the future. I’m convinced they have a secret method of shoehorning extra fat in there! Mick gave his a 4/10 (1 because it filled a gap and 1 for the coke).  So far it’s the worst thing I’ve eaten stateside, let’s hope it remains undefeated in that arena.

The restaurant itself is worth a mention due to it being bizarre. It was so colourful, it was like being in one of Ronald McDonalds acid trips! All of the chairs and tables are brightly painted and adorned with dazzling murals of Mexican scenes. The walls are full of paintings and decorations and there’s a rusty donkey (not a euphemism) standing sentry to the restrooms. It’s so bright that the part of my brain that processes colour shut down and for the next half hour I could only see in monochrome! Its also worth noting that they either hate vampires or love them some ‘Jeysus’ because there are crucifixes EVERYWHERE!  And then I found a mailbox! After asking in a clothes store, a couple of young ladies (who were very pretty but with terrible, terrible teeth..) informed me there was a post office around the corner.

The drive to Amarillo was a stark contrast to yesterday’s undulating hills, this is flat, damn flat! Flat, punctuated by a bridge every 10 miles and the occasional billboard advertising “Overnite RV park”, “we hire drivers”, diners, discount saddles, stores and the odd church (” Praise Jeysusah”) If not for these occasional variations on a straight flat road, you could be forgiven for thinking you were stuck in ground hog day and going slightly bonkers. The views this trip has had to offer has redefined my definition  of  “as far as the eye can see”.  There’s a wind farm with what looks like over a hundred windmills and I can only just see them, ghostly whirling matchsticks peeking over the horizon. We’ve just passed a stock yard with lines upon lines of cars like the ones pulled behind the lonely freight train we saw in Vinita yesterday. They went on for miles, and miles. These sleeping box cars stand empty with their doors hanging open. The once deep maroon paint faded by the elements to a watercolour like hue. The many years and countless miles have taken their toll and though they look decrepit I’m sure there’s many a mile left in them. 

We rolled into Amarillo and in light of the fact I didn’t get ask anyone “is this the way?” I redeemed myself by singing the famed song and playing it on the guitar as I walked through the hotel doors (quietly, these people have guns you know!). Did I mention we’ve bought a guitar? The plan is to perhaps give it to a homeless guy in LA along with a free lesson so he can busk, or we might just sell it and get blind drunk!

Red Lobster was selected as the evenings dinner destination.  Some of you may be aware that I’m a veggie but I have started eating fish again, this I think makes me a pescatarian or pesky vegetarian or some such.. I have to admit that as a vegetarian (or whatever) I was disturbed by the tank of live lobsters on the way in. Clearly they like the lobsters fresh and what better way than having them in a tank but the snappy bits (claws) were taped shut and they looked thoroughly miserable, which is understandable as they are effectively sat on a fishy death row! As saddening as the plight of these crimson inmates was, it did not change the fact that I was still hungry so a I ordered the captains selection (a bit of everything, deep fried of course, it is America!), shared some oysters with the boys and tried a bit of Mikes lobster which you might think hypocritical but I figured it was unlikely to get parole as it was already on a plate!

In short, Everything was delicious, my selection was very tasty,  Mick’s Island grilled Mahi Mahi with shrimps and crusty red potatoes got a 9/10, while Mikes Lobster only got a 7/10 due to it being slightly overlooked. Tomorrow we are bound for New Mexico, Santa Fe via Tucumcari to be precise..The Adventure continues..

J Dubya D

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