Amarillo to Albuquerque

I decided to stay in Amarillo. I arrived moments before some heavy rains. By the time I got my gear off the bike and into my room, it started pouring. From the local hotels, a place called The Big Texan Steak Ranch will pick you up in a limo, bring you to their restaurant and return you to the hotel.

This restaurant is famous for their 72 ounce steak deal. If you can eat the steak within an hour it’s free. Many try; very few succeed. 

The limo driver told me Joey Chestnut (the Nathan’s hot dog eating champion) finished a steak in  10 minutes.

If you choose to take on the challenge, they seat you on a stage with a time clock on the wall. The man on the far right is the only one that did not pay $72 for his meal. He finished!

I spoke to my dad that morning and he told me about a canyon near Amarillo. At dinner the guy at the next table talked about the canyon as well. Being tired from the crazy night of camping at the wildlife preserve I decided I would stay in Amarillo for an extra night. This would allow me to go see Palo Duro Canyon the next day and get some necessary rest. 

Below is Palo Duro Canyon. You are able to ride down into the canyon. Unfortunately I could only go part of the was on one of the roads as yesterdays rain had washed the out leaving silt on the crossings. Silt is a thin layer of wet clay that will take down any motorcycle. It is a super slick substance. But there is another road that was clear so I got a good look at the place.

I spotted this lizard chillin’ in some shade.

I saw this road runner sprint  across the road and hop up in the tree.

I climbed up into this small cave. It was wet inside and very slippery like the silt.

I had to return to Cadillac Ranch. I visited this place last year, but figured I could get some dramatic shots as the sun was going down. So I went back again. Glad I did.

The picture says it all.

Interstate 40 is the main artery between Amarillo and Albuquerque. However, dispersed between many of the exits are bits of the old Route 66. I hopped off the Interstate where I could to have a look at the magical road that once connected Chicago to Los Angeles.

A few of the motels of yesteryear still exist. Seeing this makes me dislike the Interstates even more. I realize many of the lonely, desolate towns I have passed through are a direct result of Interstates. These large roads robbed the towns of the traffic that once supported the local businesses.

I stopped by a car museum and said to the lady collecting the 5 bucks that I was hoping they had some motorcycles. She directed me to this wicker bike.

I veered Southwest on Route 54. Those few dead towns along the way also robbed me of vital fuel. I passed two closed gas stations and was getting desperate. 

I finally found an open station to fuel up in the town of Mountanaire. When you are out west, even if you have only gone 30 miles…if you see a gas station, top the tank off. It could really save your ass!

This is Quarai. Quarai is an interesting ruin and part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions. The natives had Pueblos here since the 1300’s. In the late 1500’s Franciscan Priests from Spain moved in with the native people and built churches in the pueblo style. This is what’s left of the church.

I had originally stopped at the ranger station in Mountanaire to ask about these sites. It was 5 o’clock and the sites closed at 6. The ranger told me I would have time to see only one. But when I spoke to Billy, the ranger at Quarai, he told be there were no gates at Abo 16 miles West. So I should feel free to check it out.

Here is Abo. I was very happy the sun held out. It disappeared behind some dark clouds a few minutes after these photos were taken.

I saw this little guy as I was leaving.

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