Thursday, October 18, 2012


Tuesday, Oct. 16 - Ride leader Rich Gallo was driving the luggage vehicle back to New York City, so he offered to drive me as far as Indianapolis. We left Amarillo at 7:00 a.m., and drove as far as Marshall, Illinois, not far from the IL/IN state line. We passed by many of the same towns we had ridden through, and we talked about many of the sights we had seen in those towns.

Wednesday, Oct. 17 - Wednesday morning Rich dropped me off at a Starbucks, I-65 exit 130, near Lebanon, IN, a little northwest of Indy, and my nephew Danny drove down from Portage and picked me up. We were home in two hours.

Thursday, Oct. 18 - So now I’m in transition... my body is home trying to do the things I do at home, but my mind is still “out there, on the road, seeing new things, smelling freshly cut hay, talking to nice people, etc.” 

I’m so thankful that my body is feeling strong. This tour was a test for me - I wanted to see how my body would respond to so many back-to-back days of riding, and now I know - I could keep riding!

Groom - Amarillo

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.

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.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Shamrock - Groom

Sunday, Oct. 14, Shamrock - Groom, 57 mi.
towns along the way: Lela, McLean, Alanreed.

Cool and clear leaving the hotel at 8 o’clock. Winds picked up during the day, from the west in the morning, and switching to the NNE in the afternoon. We climbed and gained elevation all day (940’), making it a challenging day along with the wind.

Between Shamrock and McLean I took a few pictures. 

cotton field

shadow shot

old gas station

painted house across the interstate

We encountered a lot of rough pavement - big cracks in addition to the expansion cracks, plus chip seal

McLean was very quiet. I saw a few people going to church. Took several pictures. 

Phillips 66 station

Cactus Inn


Reached Alanreed at about mile 30, and was happy to find a gas station and convenience store. Used the restroom, bought a Route 66 Beer (root beer), and ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Rich, Bill, and Mike were there, too.

Alanreed store


Not much to see between Alanreed and Groom but the wide open spaces.

wide open spaces

The Leaning Water Tower was at the Groom turnoff. It was placed at the site as an advertising ploy during the time a truck stop was in business. The water tower was never properly installed in the ground, causing it to lean markedly, adding to the visual spectacle. It is marketing in the best roadside tradition and also made its way into the movie “Cars.”

Britten water tower in Groom

Charlie, in our group and who lives in Amarillo, brought us a wonderful barbecue dinner, which we had in the parking lot after our social hour. The only other place to eat was the Dairy Queen, and this was a much better option!

dinner pics

Tommow - last day into Amarillo!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Elk City, OK - Shamrock, TX

Saturday, Oct. 13, Elk City OK - Shamrock, TX, 56 mi. (I did 37 mi.)
town along the way: Sayre, Erick, Texola.

Morning was warm, already 70 when I left hotel at 8:00. There were high winds expected today, and possible severe weather. We would have started earlier but we had to wait till it got light enough.

Stopped in Elk City at the museum for a photo op.

Arrived at Sayre at about mile 19. I was tired from the wind, and needed a rest. I took some photos, and just as I was about to leave Sayre  I found The Brick Coffee Shop. I had a cup of good strong coffee and about a twenty minute rest.

It was another tough 15 miles to Erick, and I was again ready to stop and eat my PBJ for lunch. Stopped at the C&K Quick Stop. As I was eating my sandwich I saw Judy go by. Called her to see if I could get a lift into Shamrock, and she had a full load so I waited at the Quick Stop until she came back for me. Headwinds were 20-30 mph in our face - no fun!

Cabana Motel in Erick

Stopped in Texola to take a couple of pictures.

There's no other place
like this place
anywhere near this place
so this must be the place

After I checked in to the hotel, I rode back a couple of blocks to take some pictures.

Tomorrow is a 50+ day, and there will be a headwind, but it's supposed to be less, about 10-20 instead of 20-30. Also, it's supposed to be a little cooler, about 72.