Austin, TX to Amarillo, North TX - Van appreciation day. 500mi, 800km
Austin to Amarillo was the longest trip on the trek, the drive was around ten hours in total. We left camp really early, as everyone else was fast asleep under a sky full of so many sparkly stars. When we drove away from the site we spotted deer slowly appearing from no where, wandering down to where we had been camping almost as if they were reclaiming their home.
On the drive I also randomly saw a Zebra in some ones garden, I know in America the law of exotics pets is very lenient. Everyday on the trip we would stop of somewhere nice to have lunch. The time around we stopped of in a place called Anson, it was strange. It was quite a rural place, areas were rundown yet there was a pool, golf club and parks yet nobody was around. On top of the strangeness of that there was this building all fenced of with barbed wire, had no windows, the door was padlocked from the outside, yet inside you could clearly hear a TV or radio which was home to I can only assume stray dogs, who had a little hole to get inside and out, honestly it made me so upset. They kept yapping and barking at us, waggling their tails, I just wanted to take them home with me. I did write down the name/area of the place because I wanted to research what this place was but nothing came up when I typed it in to google. As we were leaving, we saw our first sign of human life, a policeman who drove up to where we was eating then around that area.
The long drive went really quickly, I loved our campsite the Armarillo KOA, it was such a cute campsite, if a campsite can be called cute. They had a little gift ship filled with some unique and interesting souvenirs so I picked up a few things here. Even now I was still finding it so strange how friendly everyone is, honestly in the UK I feel people rarely give strangers the time of day, everyone just keeps to themselves.
We relaxed at camp for a bit before heading to the Texan steakhouse. We had two limos come pick us up to take us there. The steakhouse was filled with taxidermy, a gift shop, a game of shooting, old photos that morphed into different images, it felt very Texan.
Now me and another girl on the group are vegetarians, this is most possibly the worst place we could have gone for food, the only vegetarian options were side orders... So I ended up eating a small bowel of macaroni cheese and fries. There was also a 72oz steak challenge going on which was fun to watch, they had an hour to eat everything as well as all the sides, there was a lot. Nobody completed it and I can't even begin to imagine how anyone can eat that much in one sitting, it was crazy. Here we also bumped into another trek group, and spoke to a few of them.
After dinner we headed back to camp, after getting ready for bed one of the guys in our group shouted night to everyone, next minute I hear him calling our tour leader over saying that he had found something in his tent. I'm pretty sure I was the worst person to come over because there was the hugest dead spider inside his tent! I just questioned him on why did you kill it etc. Turns out it was a prank and that him and our tour leader had found it earlier and wanted to scare us girls.. Afterwards they scooped it up in a cup and put it in one of the girls tents, followed by lots of screaming. Then it was bedtime and the most windiest night!
Amarillo, TX to Santa Fe, NM. 280mi, 450km.
Everyone always seems to picture Texas of the dry land of cowboy and Indian films, however it was only today that the landscape started to morph into that. From a far we could see thunderstorms, I don't know how many of you have ever seen a storm or rain from a far but it is really surreal.
We did our shop this morning at Walmart and whilst there our tour guide set us a photo competition which consisted of most American, hottest stranger, statue, most Texan, best dressed, excited about life, sleeping, Halloween themed, friendliest stranger, route 66 and cutest dog.
We stopped of at Cadillac ranch, a art installation consisting of Cadillac cars to represent the evolution of the car line, it was built in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels. The Cadillac's are all spray painted and we took a few cans to spray our own messages onto them, whilst everyone was busy me and my team mate spotted a cute dog so we ran and asked to get a photo with him.
Next stop on our trip was route 66, honestly, travelling along route 66 has always been one of those things I wanted to do. When I think about a road trip across America, route 66 is one comes to my mind. If anyone has watched Cars you will recognise Mater, apparently one of the people who owns one of the shops on route 66 voiced one of the characters in that movie, although I can't be sure who. We also stopped of at a gas station which had a route 66 museum inside it, which was interesting to walk around.
Sane Fe is beautiful, the buildings are pueblo style, in so many different shades of brown, it reminded me slightly of Star Wars... Here we completed the rest of our photo challenge running around, trying on clothes, asking strangers to do odd things for us (we asked an elderly man if he would pretend to be asleep for us, he said yes!) It was a lot of fun. On the way back to camp which was located near the Santa Fe trail was a picturesque location, we set up camp, had dinner then sat around the fire whilst Phil judge the photos, we ended up coming second after a tie-breaker. Since the bathrooms were located down the hill from where was was camping I got lost several times trying to find my way back in the dark, after breaking my torch! We had a thunderstorm tonight, with lightning flashing away in the background and stars all around us.
To read about the rest of my Trek America tour click here. I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end.