Above photo: Interior of the Devil’s Rope Musem in McLean, Texas
Day 3 Miles: 96
Shamrock, Texas to Amarillo, Texas
Today’s journey was almost called on account of rain … and poison. Today is the day I take methotrexate via injection in the abdomen, which always makes me sick to my stomach. And, when I awoke in Shamrock this morning, it was pouring buckets.
I arose and took my prescribed dose, then immediately went back to bed. It was 10:45 a.m. by the time I got up again. The rain awakened me. I was nauseated, but determined to get going. The weather report said the rain was headed north, and it was clear to the west.
While I waited out the weather I repaired a hinge on the washer/dryer door and called DirecTV about my poor signal. Hazel came by for a visit. It was time to retract the slides, but for the first time my slides were drenched in rain; what to do? The rubber seals on the slides acts as a bit of a squeegee, but I did not want the wet windows and sides of the slides in the RV. I went to work with the arsenal purchased in Utah for bug control, including the telescoping pole and squeegee.
It was one o’clock by the time I hit the road. My only goal was to take a photo of an old motel in McLean, Texas, and to make camp in Amarillo. I heard about a museum in McLean, but it held very little interest for me. That is, until Hazel said, “Today is the last day the Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean will be open until the Spring.” She wisely advised, “You should see these things while you can.” I nodded affirmatively, assuming she meant because of my health and my age, but she continued, “A lot of these things won’t be here in another 10 years.”
Oh, heck. I was already stopping at McLean anyway, to take this photo of a well-preserved motel:
I also wanted to see the very first Phillips 66 gas station in Texas, in its restored beauty:
Once it was time to find the museum, my GPS gave me turn-by-turn directions. I was one block from the high school when “Lola” advised me to turn right on Kingsley Street. I did not turn right on Kingsley Street, especially after such a heavy rain:
Making my way on paved streets, which seemed to alternate with dirt ones, I finally parked alongside the museum and went inside.
The building which houses the museum was once a Maidenform brassiere factory, but it closed in the 1970s when the work was shipped to Mexico. Admission was free. The docent, an elderly woman with a nasal cannula delivering oxygen, took one look at me and said jovially, “It took a lot of work for you to look like that, didn’t it?” I told her yes ma’am, it did. I wanted a cherry cola and asked if I could take it into the museum. She told me I could, as long as I didn’t drop it, but if spilled it, it was my responsibility to clean it up. Fair enough.
Now, I don’t pretend to know a lot about barbed wire (that’s “Bob Wore” if you’re a Texan), but the museum takes barbed wire to a whole new level. I had no idea there were so many different styles and designs, and then there were the sculptures made of the stuff:
And, much to my delight, there was a small Route 66 museum, which included some old motel signs that were not long for the world before they were brought in from the elements:
The next two photos are why I love small town museums. Take a look at the chef in the diner window! Look at the size of the hamburger in relation to him. What is his arm made of – a loaf of French bread? I think his ears are made of foam. You can’t make this stuff up.
There wasn’t much more between McLean and Amarillo that held my interest. I could see from the road but bypassed the The Ten Commandments, the second largest cross, and the Britten leaning water tower.
As I made my way along I-40 west, the Texas sky seemed larger than life. At times the clouds descended as if to eat me alive. I’ve seen some big skies in my day, including Oklahoma and Montana, but this took the cake.
Speaking of big, the signs for the Big Texan Steakhouse had been beckoning me for miles, and I took Exit 74 to check it out. This has been the place since 1960 – the place that fed your grandfather, as they like to say. Home of the 72-ounce, free steak, as long as you can eat it, and all the trimmings, within an hour. “Man versus Food” did a spot here. I effing adore places like this.
I scoped out a spot along the frontage road to park for the night, and confirmed with the bartender inside that it was safe to do so. It was time for prime rib and a couple of Manhattans. A young couple sat beside me at the bar and struck up a conversation. They were both Amarillo natives. We had a lovely talk, and when they left they informed me they bought my dinner. Those damned generous Texans!
After Hazel yesterday and this couple today, Texas generosity is bowling me over.
You’ve never seen nothin’ like the Big Texan. Here are a few inside shots to give you an idea of just how bigger and better Texans do it:
After a couple of stops in Amarillo tomorrow, I’ll be off to New Mexico, in the mountain time zone. But, daylight savings time goes begins the very next day. I think my clocks might explode!