Where in the world is Amarillo, Texas? On Route 66 or as it’s called now, I-40, and it’s a long drive from east to west or vice versa. The sign when you get on the I-40 in Barstow, California says it’s 2544 miles to Wilmington, South Carolina. Only in the towns that are along that interstate highway will you see vestiges of the old route 66. But I stopped in Amarillo, only about 1100 miles from home. Here Route 66 meanders through the old town along brick and cobblestone streets lined in beautiful trees in front of charming brick buildings.
It’s not the first time; I’ve been here many times. It’s a natural stopping off place when traveling across the country. It’s almost directly in the middle of that long cross country highway. And there’s not much on either side for hundreds of miles so all the truckers stop here for the night. They must love it because on any Saturday night you will see row after row of trucks parked outside the many motels that line the highway into and exiting the town.
This is cattle country and Amarillo is surrounded by ranches and ranchers. The beef here is legendary. They still feed their cattle in grass meadows and don’t believe in GMO feed. I’m sure that’s why it tastes delicious and there are so many steak houses here. One of the most famous is the Big Texan which is East of town on the I-40. Their gimmick is a 72 oz. steak. If you can finish it plus the salad, rolls, and two side dishes and a soft drink in an hour, it’s free. Very seldom does anyone accomplish this. It makes the news when someone does. I think there have been 3 people who have been able to get it all down in an hour in the last 5 years! But it hardly matters. The food is awesome!
Thick juicy steaks, and large side dishes. My husband and I split an 18 oz. rib eye and got an extra side and a salad to split too. Our bill was only $34 and everything was wonderful! We didn’t drink though so that would add to the cost. They have lots of beer and wine. If you want to drink hard liquor, go to the bar on the side of the restaurant. Caution: If you are offended by busts of Elk and Deer hanging on walls do not go here. They are lined up side by side on all 4 walls of the restaurant, along with Moose and Goats. This is Texas. You have to get used to it if you live here.
Next to the restaurant is a store where longhorns are hanging everywhere. Snakeskin hats, belts, whips, and Texas memorabilia are all over the store. We like to shop there while waiting.
Another photo of the Big Texan:
But the Big Texan is just one of the great steak houses in Amarillo, and just one of the reasons to stop there. There’s the charming downtown with those brick streets. You might just see people riding horses downtown. And there are the stone and brick buildings and houses and the tree lined streets. And the many neighborhood parks and the health food restaurants. The very friendly people. And if you like to go target shooting, Amarillo is your kind of place. There are shooting galleries all over town. If you love old Western towns you might love Amarillo!
These are the kind of boots that most people wear there! I have a several pairs and I love them!
Palo Duro Canyon is about 20 miles South of Amarillo. It’s not the Grand Canyon but it has lovely vistas. It’s actually the second largest canyon in the USA. Here are some recent photos of it, on a May day in 2014. Isn’t it beautiful?
Here’s a red rock that juts out of the meadow in the middle of it.
Here’s another rock jutting up from the canyon floor.
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~Photos © Heather Burns 2015, Please do not copy.