Day 4: El Reno, Amarillo, and Santa Fe (Oh my!)

After a styrofoam bowl of Raisin Bran in the lobby of the Super 8, I left El Reno, OK for Amarillo, TX. Didn’t have any specific plans for what I’d do when I got there. My only real goal was to find The Most Texan Restaurant Possible and stop in for lunch.

Enter: The Big Texan

The Big Texan is one of those places that advertises itself on billboards for hundreds of miles in either direction leading up to it, so by the time you reach it you’ve been reading about it for hours and it’s now nigh on unpass-up-able. And boy I tell ya’ this place did not disappoint.

The Big Texan

L to R: Texas flags being hoisted for the day; 20° in the parking lot; the dining room pre-lunch-rush

As I approached the front door, a man wearing a plaid shirt, a giant belt buckle, faded jeans, a cowboy hat, and cowboy boots was walking out. I managed to subdue my grin at the fact that the first person I was running into in Texas looked like an actual wind-and-sun weathered cowboy, but I just about lost it when the man greeted me with a nod and an honest to God “Howdy.”

I figure it’s about the equivalent of visiting Mars’ Cheese Castle in Wisconsin and running into a square-faced, blond-haired white guy in overalls and a Green Bay Packers hat who greets you with a “Ya der hey!” (Wisconsin Visitors: If that ever happens to you it’s just too perfect a moment not to enjoy with a belly laugh, so please: laugh away!!)

I ordered the 8 oz. prime rib special for lunch. I have nothing to say about it except that it’s the best steak I’ve ever had. Not sure I can come up with any better way to put it than that.

Before I left I stopped in the gift shop, where approximately 130% of the merchandise was inscribed: “Don’t mess with Texas.” Sounding a bit defensive there, Texas. Are a lot of people messing with you? You guys uh… you gonna be okay over there?

A few more miles on the road and I was turning my clock back an hour as I hit the New Mexico state line and an abrupt uptick in “Bridge Ices Before Road” and “Dangerous Crosswind” signs. It’s an awfully beautiful drive for a road that’s apparently trying to kill everyone.

Speaking of beautiful…

Santa Rosa Lake Park

Santa Rosa Lake Park (Santa Rosa, NM)

And the sight that made me gasp out loud as I crested a hill heading north on 25:

New Mexico: Land of Gasp-worthy Views

New Mexico: Land of Gasp-worthy Vistas

I reached Santa Fe an hour earlier than I’d anticipated (thank you, time zone change) so I had time to drive around town a bit before meeting Chris, another internet friend (who also knows Carolyn!) for dinner. We went to Duel, a restaurant and brewery that you must visit if you find yourself in Santa Fe. As far as the beers go I can only speak to the Bad Amber (yum) and the Whistler (yum!!), but from the sound of it their entire in-house brewed selection is top notch. For dinner I had their Waffle Cristo sandwich and… I just… words cannot… describe… You guys. YOU GUYS. So delicious I think it broke my mouth. I couldn’t even speak.

I claimed a hotel room for the walrus and I after dinner, and quickly collapsed into bed. No writing. No work. Just the sweet bliss of oblivion.

Which is where I’m headed now. Sleep tight, travelers.


2 thoughts on “Day 4: El Reno, Amarillo, and Santa Fe (Oh my!)

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