The Bartay Vacation 2014: From Austin to Santa Fe

On Saturday, we left Austin for Amarillo.  That’s a 7+ hour drive across the outer Hill Country and Panhandle of Texas.  Lots of small towns with varied pasts, presents, and futures here:  everything from a nearly gone Wingate, to the booming communities out in the Panhandle around the rush for both wind and oil.  We got to Amarillo late, and found the hotel.

Derelict building, Wingate, Texas

Once we were in Amarillo, it was off to the infamous Big Texan Steak Ranch for steak. We were glad we went over here, it’s very kitsch and after a long day of driving, nothing is more fun than looking at a shooting gallery and a giant Hereford cow statue, all while we waited for our table.

The next morning, we awoke to a fine sunrise, a good time to go visit some interesting spots around Amarillo. First up was Combine City, a neat exhibit out in a field south-east of town.

Gleaner in the sun
Gleaner in the sun
Combine City, Amarillo, Texas
Combine City, Amarillo, Texas

Combine City is a rural display of antiquated combines, stripped of all valuable parts and buried end first. The owner decided it was better to let them serve this purpose than cut them up for scrap.

Combine City has about 12 old worn out combines buried rear first in the ground.  Instead of meeting the scrapper’s torch, they get to live out time stuck in the ground, for others to see.  After this trip, we ran back into town, and got ready to head west.  What’s west of Amarillo?  One of the most famous roadside attractions anywhere, Cadillac Ranch.  It’s everything you’ve already seen, a landscape covered with spray cans and 10 old Caddies covered in paint.

howdy!
howdyI couldn’t think of anything better than a simple hi.

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A commonly ignored TxDOT signTxDOT sign reminding parties that graffiti outside of the bounds of Cadallac Ranch isn’t legal.

After leaving Cadillac Ranch, we headed west on IH-40, what was once Route 66 through some small towns.  At Adrian, we came across the Midpoint Cafe. We were met here by very friendly folks in a cute, quaint diner.  The food was very good as well, trust us: you want to eat the pie.  This is a great bunch, if you’re ever out this direction stop in.

p781443582-6After Midpoint Cafe, we were on a pretty much non-stop trip towards Santa Fe.  The drive across IH-40 into New Mexico was plains, plains, and more plains. It’s so empty, TxDOT didn’t bother building exits or frontage roads for a ranch, they just put a few normal crossings in.  New Mexico offered more of the same, until we turned off IH-40 onto US-84 towards Las Vegas.  Quickly, the road went into the mountains out of the flat desert plains.  Soon enough, we were in Santa Fe for a couple of days…

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