Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tales from the Road Part One

Last Friday the long-awaited trip to the Grand Canyon started with the drive to Albuquerque, a city whose name I have yet to spell correctly on the first try. We had all kinds of things packed for every eventuality, including three books on CD. This was a good thing because the first one we tried was a real dog. We persisted over two CD's before giving up in disgust and putting in a Sue Grafton mystery which suited us much better.

Our lunch stop was The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, where we stop any time we pass through. This is the home of the free 72oz steak (providing you can eat the whole meal in one hour). It's absolutely worth a stop, even if you don't fancy yourself a contender for the free steak. The steaks are good, the service is prompt, and the place must be seen to be believed. It even has an attached motel, a gift shop, a bar and slots. It's right on I40 and cannot be missed - it's the loudest yellow you've ever seen and generously festooned with every kind over sized eye catching tacky western junk. When we were there two contenders were attempting to earn the free steak dinner. We were not contenders, in fact we took half of our meal with us to eat for lunch the next day.

On the way to Albuquerque we kept our eyes peeled for roadside tourist traps. We saw plenty of casinos and trading posts, each more eye catching then the last. I saw a sign I could not believe but was not fast enough to get a picture of: "EAT HERE. GET GAS". Not getting that picture will be one of the great regrets of the trip.
At least I did manage to get a picture of one of the fire extinguishers at the Best Western nearest Old Town tarted up to look like a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every one I saw in the hotel was so displayed, without apparent irony. We walked down to Old Town to enjoy a good dinner at the Church Street Cafe, and headed out early the next morning.

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