Betsy and Christian's cross-country adventure- Day 2: The only place to eat in Amarillo

Day two concludes in Amarillo, in the great state of Texas. We travelled from Little Rock, making it the shortest of our three days on the road. The weather through Arkansas and the better part (is there such a thing?) of Oklahoma! was torrential downpours separated by periods of blinding rain blowing sideways. We decided the most scenic thing on the drive today was the windmill farms by the side of the interstate in OK, and the fancy rest stops near the TX border.

Amarillo is the last decent sized town before you hit Albuquerque, New Mexico, which had been our original goal for today's drive. Unfortunately, the wind and rain took its toll on my driving endurance, and we decided not to push on for the remaining 298 miles through the Texas wastelands.

So we sit tonight in the finest hotel in Amarillo. No, really. The Holiday Inn Express is literally spitting distance from the fractured tarmac of I-40, but it's brand new, and pretty swank for $118/night. The room is almost the size of our condo, with a fridge and microwave, and swanky granite all over the bathroom.

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When I inquired at the front desk for places to eat, there was only one response: The Big Texan. Why only one answer? Because unless you want fast food, that's about all Amarillo has to offer.

But hey, The Big Texan has free limo service to and from all the I-40 motels, and is near a hog farm and a classy strip joint (looking for the words Girls! Girls! Girls! on the marquee is the best way to separate the wheat from the chaff of titty bars). It can't be half bad, right?

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Betsy was appalled that the great state of Texas still allows people to smoke indoors, and that we were required to walk through the smoking "section" (i.e. 3/4 of the room) to get to the non-smoking "section".

The dining room was an attempt at an 1800's saloon, basically a big room with a balcony level surrounding it. The centerpiece is an elevated table under bright lights, with a clock at the head. This is the table you're served at when you order The Texan's famous (in these parts, anyway) 72 oz. steak. If you eat it in under an hour, it's free. When we arrived, there was a dude making a go of it, who progressively began to look sicker and sicker as the meal progressed. He ultimately failed, and packed a doggy bag in shame. But people, this is 4 1/2 pounds of meat we're talking about here! You can even watch the spectacle unfold live on their web cam.

The waitstaff dress in cowboys and indians attire. Our waitress "Brittany" was dressed as indian princess Poke-her-hot-ass Pocahontas.

Service was on the slow side, but the food was decent. As I told the wife, I've paid more for a worse steak.

So if you're in Amarillo, you might as well stop in and enjoy all that The Big Texan has to offer, because really, where else are you going to eat in this shit-hole town?

Unrelated side note: iTunes users- you know that "sharing" setting in the preferences panel? Before you turn it on, you should consider that you'll be sharing your library of music and videos with everyone on your local network. Including your fetish porn:
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For some reason, I vividly remember my brief solo visit to Amarillo, even though it was uneventful. I stayed in a cabin without heat and went to a dollar theater to see "Fight Club." I woke up to a foot of snow. I couldn't wait to leave.

Happy trails on Day 3...

Why didn't you take I-10 and go through the good parts of Texas that don't look like the stereotype that everyone assumes consumes the state?
BTW, our friend Maggie attempted to eat that steak with her friend on a road trip. She was even identified a few months later at Coachella as the steak girl -- a kid had taken a picture of her on his family vacation.

Christian's picture

Good parts! Ha! You're funny.

As I said to your husband Mrs. Dearth, we're keeping our time in this godforsaken state to an absolute minimum.

Every time we stop, the locals look us over like they're trying to decide which flavor of Skoal to marinade us in for dinner.

To get to I-10 from Savannah and parts north, you have to go pretty far south out of your way to get to I-10. That leaves you I-20 and once you get west of Dallas/Ft. Worth, it's nothing but empty empty empty until you reach the I-20/I-10 juncture, whereupon I-10 is empty empty empty until El Paso. And when you get to El Paso, you wish mightily for empty empty empty again. At least taking I-40 gives you a break in the monotony by seeing a "Welcome to (new state here)" sign once in a while. Plus, driving down from the Sandia mountains into Albuquerque is kinda cool.

Also, f you want to side-trip to the Grand Canyon, I-10 and I-20 are both bad bets coming from the east, as you have to cross most of the north-south expanse of AZ, and in their case, drive past their ultimate destination for three hours and turn around and come back.

I had a big Texan once. His name was Wyatt, or something-or-other. And he wasn't nearly as 'big' as he claimed to be.