Greetings from Room #2 at the historic Route 66 attraction, The Blue Swallow Motel.
Wifey and I have once again left the environs of our small town to venture across our great nation in search of all things kitschy in celebration of our wedding anniversary (10 years).
Long suffering readers of YASTM are in the know to our annual October tradition, but those of you who aren't, click here for a summary and recap of just what the heck is going on.
This year, we're Arizona bound.
After a crocodile tear-filled farewell by my 5-year old and a hearty "Don't forget to bring me a present..." backwards salute goodbye from our almost-9-year old, we piled into the import family truckster, topped the tank off with $2.99 a gallon 10% ethanol dino juice and rolled out of Dodge early this morning, the sight of my in-laws waving at us in the rear view mirror.
It took about 4-hours of constant conversation between Wifey and I to make up for the last few days of lost time we've not been able to spend with each other due to the ramped up directions our lives have taken as of late. By the time our vocal chords were growing weary of yapping, our grumbly stomachs and terminal hunger for cheesy-Americana at it's worst/finest, found us pulling off the highway and into the acres-and-acres of free parking belonging to this establishment.
You guessed it, the Big Texan in Amarillo, home of the free 72 oz. steak (if you can eat it in an hour, along with a salad, baked potato, friend shrimp and soft-baked roll the size of...well, Texas.
No, we didn't attempt the freebie cardiac angina meal, opting instead to share the 12 oz. ribeye, salad (with a dressing from the past called, roquefort - ask your grandparents kiddies, they'll remember this dressing), rolls, and a baked potato (with all the trimmings and then some) the size of well, again, Texas.
Several bigfoots, um, I mean gentlemen were in the throes of attempting to secure their free meal while we dined, and even though I'm all for gluttony of the culinary kind, watching these fellas down their chow was more consumption than I needed to witness. Still, it was fun to hear the guy with the HAT periodically yell out that table 57 had 12 minutes to go, while table 3 was down to his last 7 minutes.
Leaving the Lone Star state and it's impressively large (but still tacky as McMansion tract homes) Visitor Centers behind, we made a protein-fueled beeline for the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico.
Pulling off I-40 at Tucumcari's Route 66 access road, Wifey and I breathed a collective sigh of relief to be back in the land of ancient blacktop, motor court hotels with neon signs, and curio shops offering nothing of what you need, but everything of what you want.
Tucumcari's stretch of the Mother Road has certainly seen better days, but in the 45 minutes or so it took us to cruise up and down the town's 66 drag, and stumble upon the vintage Odeon Theatre in the old downtown district where we'll be spending a few hours tonight catching a flick, that tingly sensation of being submerged in something bigger, older, and cooler, pleasantly oozed out from behind our mini-mall and gated-community flooded senses.
Checking into the Blue Swallow Motel was painless.
Parking our 4-door import into the garage adjacent to our room was effortless (although how Howard "Happy Days" Cunningham fit his 4-door Desoto into one of these garages is beyond me).
And popping open my iBook and finding 3 bars of open wireless service via the Blue Swallow was priceless (even got 2 bars from the Motel Safari across the street).