Saturday, 26 August 2017

2017 Road-trip Day 8

Day 8 Tuesday 

After a good nights sleep, we awoke well rested in a little room, the Blue Swallow really is a little treasure, it has kept and maintain lots of original features including the rather large refrigerated air cooling system on one wall in the room.

After a coffee we were keen to make tracks into Texas, so we bid farewell to The Blue Swallow and headed a little way down the main road in Tucumcari  to Tee Pee Curios to make a few purchases and we were on our way, eating a breakfast of fruit and a bran muffin on the go.

With only one mistake, due to missing a sign, we were very quickly saying goodbye to New Mexico and Howdy! to Texas! We passed Glenrio at the State Line we headed onto Adrian to the Midpoint Marker to stop for some photos and to get a coffee in the Mid Point cafe.

 Time was getting on due to crossing over to central time and losing an hour, we continued through Vega, passing the Cadillac RV Park with several pristine Cadillacs mounted on ramps out front and on towards Amarillo - "Is this the way to Amarillo?"- we had decided to detour off of Route 66 so we could head to Palo Duro Canyon. It's a slight diversion of about 50 miles, but well worth it. 

Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest Canyon in America after the Grand Canyon, it measures 120miles long and over 20 miles wide and has a maximum depth of 800 feet. We took in the amazing views from the top of the rim, and watched the temperature rise as we drove down in the Canyon floor. 

Several times we got out of the car to explore, but only for short periods - there was a 3 mile hike, but it was recommended you took 2 pints of water per person per mile, I didn't think it fair to make Paul carry 12 pints in the heat! As always in this type of environment we resorted to type and broke out the Cheetos and picked up an ice cream before making our way out of the canyon and back on the road, once again picking Route 66 up then heading through Conway. 

The only place in Texas 66 that you can legally drive 70mph, so that's what we did, passing a giant peace symbol, the leaning tower of Groom, and the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere.

 I'm sensing a theme that everything really is bigger in Texas. We had to join the I-40 for 8 miles and was able to take the chance to stop at the Donley County Route 66 safety Rest Area, an Art Deco building, home to Route 66 exhibits, neon signs, historic info plaques and a handy tornado shelter. 

Back on the Mother Road we carried on, occasionally driving on old Portland concrete until we saw the beautiful Art Deco architecture of the U- Drop Inn and Tower Conco service station at Shamrock. We were checking in to the Shamrock Country Inn in town. We were amazed by this vintage 66 motel, the owner welcomed us and was obviously very proud of his place. 

He had kept it spotlessly clean and well maintained whilst still keeping all the original feature, our bathroom even had a built in electric fire - thankfully not operational. First things first, after we settled in we did some laundry we then went across the road to order a pizza in the tiny pizza place, despite there being a few restaurants in town, the steak specials wasn't very good for us vegetarians. Murphy's law was in play and as soon as we decided to walk the ten minutes up to see the U-Drop Inn that the pizza place would call to say our food was ready, never mind we only had stayed briefly at the U Drop Inn, planning to come back later in the evening when the neons were lit up. We walked the 10 minutes or so back, collected pizza, crossed the Route 66 road to our room, open beers then eat our pizza! 

Later on that night we went back up to see the U-Drop Inn lit up in all its glory. It is now a visitors centre and we planned to come and have a good look in the morning. But for now we were content to take in the architecture enhanced by the lighting, it really must have been something to see back in the hey-day of Route 66. 

Days Mileage: 289
Total Mileage: 1488

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