Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 04

Left our motel at 7:20 a.m. after having our Bright Side Breakfast. John had just what he had yesterday. Linda had her raw bits (twang twang), juice, red raspberry yogurt and coffee (she was so sleepy she forgot to add chocolate).

There were just some light sprinkles of rain on the windshield about 20 miles east of Albuquerque and there was snow on the ground. It was not actually snowing at the moment but the outside temperature was 33 degrees and dropping.

At about 7,000 feet elevation and still just about 22 or so miles east of Albuquerque the outside temperature was 32 degrees so we were watching for ice on the road and bridges.

 At 41 miles east of Albuquerque and the outside temperature was 30 degrees and the snow began.

At about 54 miles east of Albuquerque also at an elevation of 7000 feet there were snow flurries and lots of snow on the ground. It was 28 degrees outside (but, thank goodness, not inside). The good news is that the snow plows had already been through and sanded the road as well as plowed away the snow. So, we kept chugging on.

There are a lot of snow pictures in the photo gallery. Some of them have been converted to black & white images because they look much more "dramatic" (actually they looked 99.44% black & white already. Just like Ivory bath soap!).

In Santa Rosa there was a roadside sign that said that "When Flashing Interstate 40 Closed". Thank goodness it wasn't flashing. Also, we saw a Love's gas station with unleaded at $3.66 per gallon. Looks like we did pretty good on our gas price in Albuquerque ($3.06.9).

At just about 10 o'clock we stopped at a Stuckey's along Interstate 40 to get some coffee and go to the potty. If you were ever in Texas years ago, there were Stuckey's stores all along the highways. Their most popular item was their Pecan Log Roll. Sure enough, this Stuckey's (co-located with a gas station and a Dairy Queen) had Pecan Log Rolls. You'll see them in photo gallery along with a pretty quirky sign in the men's room. John wishes he had a pen with him when he went in there. Just adding an "ey" to the end of one word would have made it a MUCH better sign. See if you can figure it out. As we were leaving, a big block of snow fell off the service station overhang.

Cecil B. de Tarvin decided the fluffy snow was worthy of being captured in motion so he proceeded to hold his video camera on top of the steering wheel and film and drive at the same time.  He exclaimed on the clip, "I'd better stop this before I go off the road!" And, he turned off the camera. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw a Highway Patrol unit right behind us with lights flashing. He really thought he'd been busted for reckless driving. Whew! Lucky for Cecil, he wasn't after us. It turned out that he was on his way to help some poor soul who had broken down on the side of the road with a U-Haul trailer. You can see this clip if you check out the little video on YouTube. Fortunately, it doesn't have the Highway Patrol in it! The link appears a little later in today's travelogue.

Glenrio sits on the border of Texas and New Mexico. It was once a thriving stop along Route 66. Now it's just a ghost town. One of Glenrio's claims to fame in the past was the First/Last Motel in Texas which sits just across the state line. You can learn more about Glenrio by clicking here.

Just after Glenrio, we crossed from New Mexico into Texas at about 11:00 a.m. Of course, in Texas that would be 12 noon. John gets to change the time zone on his watch again. Mother Nature did not recognize the state line so She just continued to send down the white stuff.

It only took Wilma about 2 minutes after crossing into Texas for her GPS system to realize she had crossed a time zone. She dutifully moved the clock ahead by one hour. Pretty smart for a car!

About 54 miles west of Amarillo and it resumed snowing. Heavier this time. Temperature outside is 30 degrees. Really fun driving weather all in all (we're kidding, of course). But it is beautiful too. There are some junky things that look quite scenic when partly covered with fluffy snow. We did feel sorry for the many cows we saw along the way that were milling around in search of food.  It seemed surprising to us that they weren't huddled together for warmth.

One of the good things about the bad weather is that the road workers are not out doing road work on the highway. Constructions zones are meaningless in this weather.

Driving in to Amarillo, we passed the Helium Monument. Amarillo was once the self-proclaimed helium capital of the world. You know, like Gilroy and garlic. Just after the Helium Monument is the Cadillac Ranch. Here there are ten cadillacs buried nose down in a field at the same angle as the Cheops Pyramid. Want to learn more. Click here.

We arrived at the America's Best Value Inn in east Amarillo (it's right on Interstate 40 and our room faces the freeway!) just after 1:00 p.m. It was snowing like crazy. In fact, the last segment of John's video posted on YouTube, which was taken from our doorway, shows the heavy snow coming down. Linda was amazed at how fast the snow could make it through the holes in her Crocs and invade her toes. You can view the entire YouTube video by clicking here.

Left for lunch just before two o'clock Amarillo time. John has successfully changed the time zone on his watch (Yea!). Besides Pancho's, John has been raving about getting back to a Whataburger. He remembers them from over 40 years ago in Texas. There is one right down the road from us, so sweet Linda suggested we go there for lunch. John got his Whataburger (with grilled jalapenos), small fries and diet Dr. Pepper. Linda got a "build your own" grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun (with mustard, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, jalapenos) and a diet Dr. Pepper (her favorite). A photo of our check in the photo gallery shows that if you are over 55 years old, you are in CLUBDR55 and get your drinks for free! Hmmm. Our server didn't ask for ID.  Apparently one or both of the old buzzards must look over 55. Whataburger was started in 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Now you know some more trivia! If you want to learn how it all started for Whataburger, you  can click here.

Tonight we're going to dinner at the Hoffbrau Steaks here in Amarillo. It has great reviews for steaks AND they have a grilled chicken with a Dr. Pepper sauce that Linda might try. I think we mentioned that she loves Dr. Pepper.

Before leaving for dinner, Linda called Palo Duro Canyon State Park and found that they are open at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow and they have snow only on the peaks, not in the canyon. So, we're good to go any time after breakfast. We left for dinner just before 6:00 p.m. Hoffbrau Steaks was only about six miles back west on I-40. No problems finding it (thank you, Wilma). The restaurant was really cute with signs, old license plates and taxidermied critters abounding. Lots of photos of Hoffbrau Steaks in the photo gallery today. Caitlyn was our wait person and did a great job. John had an 8 oz. bacon-wrapped filet mignon (he didn't eat the bacon), a salad with some blue cheese dressing and spicy black-eyed peas. Water to drink. Linda had a grilled tilapia and requested it be fixed with the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce and fixin's just like their chicken dish. She also had the black-eyed peas and some fried green tomatoes. Both meals were delicious and were served with a big sourdough roll. You can see their menu by clicking here.

On the way back to the motel, John dropped Linda off at WalMart so she could get some shoes more appropriate for our weather. When she got back to the car, we filled up at Murphy's, which is adjacent to WalMart. Gas was $3.27.9 there. Still better than at home.

There are 50 images in today's photo gallery. Hope you enjoy them. Don't forget to watch the short video which is linked above, or click here. John's calorie report: 421 under budget for the day and that includes the Snicker's Bite Size and Resse's Peanut Butter Cup Snack he hasn't eaten yet.

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