Amarillo - November 2003
A lightning visit to see my good friend Laurie and her brother Jerry in Amarillo.
I know I'm quite mad to travel all that way for a weekend - but I am known to be 'reassuringly crazy'.
Also Amarillo was surprisingly pleasant, considering my overall feelings towards Texas.
Amarillo does have a
few visual feasts. The first and most spectacular is the Palo Duro
Canyon State Park.
The 'Grand Canyon of Texas' is the second largest canyon in the United States, yet it remains relatively unknown. This makes it something of a find for the tourist seeking something special.
The weather was beautiful with warm sun, perfect for a picnic in the canyon.
Later in the day, after a quick stop at Home Depot, we went to the Cadillac Ranch. Why stop at Home Depot you ask? To buy spray paint!
The Cadillac Ranch is a tribute to a fine American automobile. A 'public' work of art, the cars are buried nose down in the ground and anyone that has the time or inclination can paint their name or an inspiring message to been seen or painted over by the next visitor.
In June 2003 all the cars were repainted black in recognition of the passing of one of the founding artists - but as you can see it didn't take long for all the cars to become a psychedelic riot of colour!
Laurie's brother Jerry really entered into the swing of things and was soon spraying away like a man possessed. He made my mark for me, if only for a few days!
Next time I visit we may go along with blow torches and paint stripper (or a sand blaster maybe) and take a vehicle or two back to bare metal!
Amarillo's famous alternative road signs are another feature that unfortunately I didn't manage to get any photos of. It all started at the Cadillac Ranch, where a sign said 'ROAD DOES NOT END'. From there road signs started appearing everywhere, including such oddities as 'FLESH EATERS' and 'HIRED ASSASSIN' .
Other things that Amarillo is famous for include Route 66 and the Big Texan Steak Ranch. The Big Texan serves a 72oz steak! That's four and a half pounds!
The $50 72oz steak includes a baked potato, salad, shrimp cocktail and roll. But if you can eat the steak in one hour or less while observing all the rules then the meal is free.
If I remember correctly, the fastest time this year (2003) was under 14 minutes. If you think that's fast, take a moment to consider the fastest time ever, 9½ minutes! Did this man chew?
The oldest person to eat the steak was a 69 year old grandmother, the youngest an 11 year old boy.