Monday, Oct. 15, Groom - Amarillo, 40 mi.
towns along the way: Conway
Wind out of the West today, 15-25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. No one got sagged in today, we all rode the all the miles. It was a slow, energy-sapping ride for me. I started at 8:00, and finished at around 2:30. Most everyone rode on the shoulder of the Interstate instead of the chip seal frontage roads.
On the way out of Groom I took a picture of this huge cross. Weighing nearly three tons, this cross was erected by a religious group in 1995 and is just shy of 200 feet tall. This was the largest cross in the Western hemisphere until a copycat erected a slightly taller one along I-70 in Effingham, Illinois.
Got to Conway about 10:00. Actually, I got to the Conway exit off the Interstate, so I didn’t ride through town. I was happy to see a Subway and gas station, as I needed a rest. Judy was there, so I had a cup of coffee and some crackers with her. Rode across the interstate to take a picture of Conway's answer to Amarillo' Cadillac Ranch, Bug Ranch.
Fought that horrific wind another two and a half hours, then stopped at a Travel Center off exit 81. Sat for a while, finished an energy bar, and had a Red Bull energy drink.
Moved onward. Before the busy merge of I-40 and US 287, we were instructed to get off the freeway. Kept going and was happy to see exit 74 for our home for the night, The Big Texan Steak Ranch and motel. They offer a free 72-ounce steak to anyone who can eat all of it in one hour!
Judy took Hewes & Susan, Mike, and me to see Cadillac Ranch in the car, as it was on the west side of Amarillo. It is an outdoor art installation dating from 1974 and comprised of a row of 10 partially buried Cadillac automobiles with their tailfins angling skyward; the tailfins trace design changes from 1949 to 1964. The original artwork was commissioned by local tycoon Stanly Marsh III and created a group of collaborators calling themselves the Ant Farm. The artwork is visible from I-40 in a field on the western outskirts of town. It has become norm that visitors to the site bring cans of spray paint and add graffiti to the cars; periodically the cars are all repainted in a solid color so that the process can begin anew.
We had a group dinner at the Big Texan Steakhouse, chicken or steak. Charlie had arranged for the mayor to come and welcome us. He enjoys cycling, too. He came around to all of us and wanted to know where we were from.
Charlie Graham, Rich Gallo, Mayor Paul Harpole, Judy DeSantis
Martha presented Rich with a Route 66 t-shirt signed by the whole group, and Judy with a Route 66 weekend bag and fanny pack. They both put in a lot of time and work putting together this wonderful ride.