I put in five hundred miles today - traversed the width of New Mexico and most of the Texas Panhandle. Tonight I am at a very old motel, The Stratford Inn, in downtown Stratford, Texas. And it is cold! This is the coldest weather that I have experienced since December of 2009 when I was in the Ozarks for my father's funeral. Suddenly I am appreciating Arizona - but not much!
I would have been infinitely smarter to have remained on Interstate 40 across Texas and on to Oklahoma City, but I had an urge to explore the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles - so I took a sharp left out of Amarillo and headed due north. There wasn't much to see, and then the fog and icy mist moved in and obscured the monotonous view.
It must be tumbleweed season in these parts because they blew across the highway in front of my car the entire day.
Tucumcari, New Mexico, was one of the low lights of my day. The town advertises on billboards for about a hundred miles each way - with the clever slogan, "Tucumcari Tonight!" But it's not the type of place I would want to visit after dark. I pulled off at the first Tucumcari exit because my gas tank was completely empty and I had seen a sign saying there were 30 stations in town. (I saw two.) The first ten or so gas stations that I passed were closed and boarded up - or converted to flea markets. A couple had anti-Obama graffiti painted on the exterior walls - nice stuff like a stick figure of Obama looking like a monkey with a disparaging comment attached. (And one of the things the city advertises over the radio is its "famous murals.") What a sad little town.
I also made a pit stop in Bushland, Texas, which was not nearly as bad as the name implied.
The weather looks ugly throughout the area. Tomorrow I will make a decision whether to head toward Kansas City to see Baby Olive - or head to my new home in West Plains. I suspect it will be a long day on the road - regardless of which direction I ultimately travel.