I grabbed a quick bite to eat and left Chinle, AZ shortly after, wanting to get an early start on the long drive home. The plan was to break the return trip into three parts: Chinle to Amarillo, TX, then Amarillo to Kansas City, MO and finally Kansas City to St Paul. I stayed on interstates for the most part, mostly because I was concerned about the weather (the forecasts called for tornados throughout the plains states for the following 4 days), and whether or not I would need to seek shelter quickly if things got hairy.
In Amarillo I had a steak at The Big Texan, a touristy steakhouse that used to be on old Route 66. While the place clearly catered to tourists, the steak was really, really good. I don’t eat steak too often, so my standards might be different than others, but I was pleased. Their claim to fame is their 72oz steak challenge. Basically if you eat an entire 72oz steak and sides in less than an hour, your meal is free.
There were billboards all over I-40 advertising their “free” 72oz. steak, and they seemed to work pretty well. There was a healthy crowd at the restaurant for a Thursday night. No one took the challenge while I was there though.
The next morning I stopped in Shamrock, TX for some coffee and saw this really cool old Conoco station. Turns out it is the Chamber of Commerce for town, as well as a little Route 66 gift shop. I liked the signage, especially for the attached “U Drop Inn” cafe.
Thankfully, the weather held out for most of my ride home. It was a little wet when I left Kansas City, and incredibly foggy as I drove through Iowa, but by the time I pulled up to the house in St Paul the sun was shining and all was right in the world. I felt my first blast of humidity in three weeks which was simultaneously refreshing and oppressive.
I’ve been home a little over a week now and have had some time to adjust, decompress and reflect on my journey west. My next few posts will break down the trip, evaluating my favorites and least favorites, sharing lessons learned, and otherwise recounting my experiences on the road. In short, I will provide a post mortem, so check back for that.