Tucumcari, NM – Groom, TX

Day 38: (66 miles) To start the day Chris snagged us some delicious coffee from the lobby in the coolest Route 66/Blue Swallow mugs. Due to entering a new time zone we would be loosing an hour today, so we tried (and succeeded) to hit the road by 8:00 am. As we departed, Cameron, the owner, so kindly offered to shuttle our bags to Adrian as he, his wife, and their daughter would be heading to the Midpoint Café for lunch to celebrate its “seasonal grand opening”. We talked it over, and were so tempted to see how a 60+ mile day would go with no weight, but we thought it may be ‘cheating’, so we kindly (and sadly) declined the offer. We stopped at the Tepee Curios on the way out of town and found some great Route 66 stickers for our bikes. Then it was just us and the road. We followed Frontage road for around 40 miles which meant similar road conditions to yesterday. The wind didn’t pick up until after lunch and for the most part it stayed on our good side. After 20 miles on I-40, we had about four more off of the highway before we reached Adrian TX, the midpoint on Rout 66- 1139 miles to both ends in either direction (Chicago AND Los Angeles). We took a few photos at the landmark and found our campsite right down the road. For $10 we had a spot, a shower, and a microwave to use for the night. As we quickly set up camp while gray clouds closed in on us, a local gentleman stopped by to see if we had any alternative plans incase the weather took a turn for the worse. Picking up on our delayed response, he quickly started telling us of the ‘safe’ places in town we could go for shelter if needed. He said we would just have to get there- then he saw our bikes- he told us he would keep an eye on the weather and come scoop us up in his truck if it seemed too risky for us to sleep in the tent. We thanked him for his generosity and dug our tent stakes in a little deeper. We made a tasty rice and bean dish, and huddled in for the night while the storm passed by.

 

 

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Day 39: (58 miles + 3 to dinner) We awoke safe and intact, however the wind throughout the night caused a restless sleep for us both. As we were packing up the manager of the park greeted us and expressed his concern from the previous night and was happy to hear all was well. He wished us safe travels and we headed down the street to the Midpoint Café. We were disappointed to find out they no longer serve breakfast, but did have coffee (which we were certainly in need of) and pastries. We shared a raspberry white chocolate scone, a blueberry muffin, and Shayna had to try one of their famous “Midpoint Ugly Pies”. All were delicious. We enjoyed our coffee as we perused the gift shop and chatted with the owner, Denis, who had been expecting us since Cameron and Jessica had stopped in yesterday and mentioned we’d be coming in. We left the café full and happy. Right next door was Sunflower Station, another gift shop where we again met the owner Fran, who was the inspiration for “Flo” in the Disney-Pixar movie Cars. She graciously gave us a signed card and we purchased a few post cards as she told us about her previous role as owner of the café and that the gift shop was a result of her being restless in retirement. She explained how the movie had really helped business and Rout 66. This was great to hear considering the heartbreak we have been feeling as we pass through the numerous forgotten towns along the route. Thankfully it seems as though there is a small but strong base of people working to maintain the lure of this historic highway. We enjoyed the result of this effort as we ventured toward Amarillo today. The Cadillac Ranch, a collection of ten classic Cadillac’s dating from 1949-1963, all buried halfway in the ground at an angle reminiscent of the Egyptian Great Pyramids, was created by an art group that call themselves Ant Farm. The cars attract a steady stream of visitors, enjoying the chance to leave their mark on these trapped classics. We enjoyed the strange and unique beauty of this attraction but didn’t choose to contribute. We continued on, with Frontage road as our leader again. Although hot, it was a fairly flat and easy ride to the RV Park in Amarillo where we had made a reservation for the night. After arriving and setting up our tent we headed to a past favorite for dinner, Coyote Bluff. We each had burgers and shared cheese fries. We had learned earlier that a shuttle (a limo with steer horns adorning the hood) was offered from the campsite to The Big Texan- a restaurant offering a free 72 oz. steak if you can finish it within an hour. We weren’t up for that challenge, but we did have a few beers at the bar. We met a few truckers who were inspired and inquisitive of our adventure. We also met a German couple on their seventh trip to the states. He asked the bar tender for the same beer as Shayna not knowing it was an IPA, and he said “you like this??” in disbelief, and “never again!”. We talked more in depth with Tomas, one of the truckers from Missouri, and enjoyed some gelato before picking up the shuttle back to our campsite where we thankfully enjoyed a much more restful sleep than the previous night._D5A9421_D5A9434_D5A9439-Edit

Day 40: (45 miles) Doughnuts and coffee were offered in the lobby of the RV park so we were sure to take advantage of that before heading out. We again were able to mostly follow Frontage road for the day. Texas has been pretty flat and we’ve seen numerous windmills since arriving. We made it to Groom in the late afternoon. We had planned on having a nice Easter dinner, however upon arriving to the small town with a population of 587, we saw that almost all businesses were closed. After checking into our mediocre, overpriced motel, we realized that the Dairy Queen two doors down was our only option. We embraced it, ordered dinner, some ‘blizzards’ and watched a ‘Fixer Upper’ HGTV marathon in our room while witnessing a pea to quarter sized hail storm from our window. This spurred a new found appreciation for our mediocre room.

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