Photo by Jake Splawn
Everything is bigger in Texas. Winds, skies, miles, the generosity of our hosts ... it felt good to arrive in Amarillo and be staring down at a day off from the road. We'd ridden 350+ miles in four days, an unseemly amount considering the headwinds this time of year. Still, Amarillo. Feeling pretty darn good about that day off.
To me, our days off are the most important of our trip. It's where we're allowed to be productive. It's amazing how much time there is during the day when you're not sitting down and pumping your legs for ten hours.
The funny thing about these days, however, is that they are busy and stressful. Happens so that there's a lot to do from the road ... planning out the next leg of the trip, catching up on the writing, giving Q*bert (my bike) some much needed - oft pleaded - love, writing letters and calling friends and family. Time slips gone like water through fingers to be sucked up by the dry and thirsty countryside.
But, ah, Amarillo. I took some time for myself that day, starting off my Easter morning with The Big Texan 72 oz Steak Dinner Challenge.
Photo by Jake Splawn
It was an unsizable sirloin cut. Thick and medium rare, it was a big fat juicy slab of cow that sacrificed itself for my ultimate discomfort. Noble cow.
Included with the dinner was a biscuit, a baked potato, a salad, and a small cup of deep fried shrimp. My strategy was as follows: cut the steak into quarters. Eat 1/4 steak, eat the salad. Eat 1/4 steak, eat 1/2 baked potato. Eat 1/4 steak, eat 1/2 baked potato and biscuit. Eat 1/4 steak, mixing bites with the shrimp. So, that's what I did. And it paid off.
The Big Texan itself was kind of like South of the Border - kitschy, with animatronic bears swiveling heads and growling from the second floor of their styled saloon. It was more complex than restaurant, really. There was a styled hotel village within a stone's throw of the restaurant, and within included a gift shop, a small 'laser shooting range,' a micro-brewery, and a stage for some good old fashioned country music.
I would say on the whole it was a disgusting yet amusing experience. Physically, mentally, visually. I certainly hope that's the last time I eat so much meat in one sitting, yet I dare not predict my food challenge future.
From there came a lot of laying around and farting. At some point Jake and Robin - our radically hospitable hosts - drove us over to the local newspaper, where we did our first legitimate news interview with Keys to Freeze.
It went very well. I started sweating meat out of my pores halfway through the experience and was grateful we weren't under the camera.
That night I worked briefly on my blog and went to bed. It was, in truth, my first real day off, and a much needed one. Onwards to New Mexico, land of the Wild West.