We actually reached Amarillo at 6:00 this evening. All things considered, that was pretty good. I was anticipating 8 plus hours in the saddle, and we made it in just under 7. Boy, were they tough hours, though. We were riding into the wind all day, and that's a bit like climbing on your bike - except you never get the downhill section. We literally had to work the whole time. I am beat!
|McLean is pretty quiet this time of the morning|
|Werner and Karen|
|Their bikes sport national flags|
Riding past some cotton fields and corn reminded me of one last thing to share about all that corn we rode past all summer: due to a record crop of corn (and soybeans) for this year, prices will be down for these two major cash crops. Farmers are expected to receive less than it costs to produce them as a result. So here they are, raising something as a cash crop and losing money on it. Bummer!
|Cotton, corn, and wind for harvest|
If your eyes are sharp, you may also see the windmills in the photo. As a cyclist, you learn that anywhere that there are windmills, you are likely to have some trouble with the wind.
|Nothing to get in the way of the wind|
There's nothing much to get in the way of the winds up here, so we battled that crossing headwind all day. After about 15 miles, our route took us onto Interstate 40. (No remaining segment of Route 66 for these miles.) It turned out to be easier to ride on the shoulder of the interstate than on the rough (and bumpy) original road, so we stayed with it for the rest of the day. All was well - plenty of room, good pavement, relatively clear of debris, and the occasional truck going by actually helped to lift our pace slightly as it passed. We had started out slow this morning, and I feared we'd be doing 78 miles at 9 miles an hour, but we did finally claw our way up to 10 mph and managed to keep it there to finish out the ride. And - our hotel was on the near side of town! Blessings!
There's nothing too very exciting to eat right here by the Super 8, but the desk attendant said that the limo driver for the Big Texas Steak Farm would come and pick us up - and that sounded just fine to us. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for dining at a place that advertised a 72 ounce steak dinner for free to anyone who can consume it within an hour, we jumped in the limo and had a great meal!
|Notice what's on the hood|
There is nothing subtle about the Steak Ranch. First thing - there's the limo. I've never traveled in an auto with Longhorn steer horns mounted on the hood before - but now I have! And the exterior is not exactly designed to blend into the environment. On the contrary, it's as outlandish as they come. Then you get inside, where they have a real, live rattle snake in the gift shop. Because, well - just because, I guess!
|Definitely not subtle|
|Doesn't everyone have one?|
|Pretty garish, but the food is good!|
The dining room is large, and loud, and decorated with lots of Texas stuff and a bunch of deer trophies. There is even a raised dias and a set of countdown clocks for anyone who is attempting the 72 ounce dinner. Roger and I opted instead for the 8 ounce filet, which we split. I have to say, it was delicious, perfectly prepared and very tasty. Salads, side dishes and a couple of beers and we were good to go. I guess having a great come-on like the free steak dinner does not preclude the possibility of finding a great meal otherwise.
The day's report: McLean to Amarillo, 68.8 miles/8234 to date
Our route is again pretty much due west