Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 1: Saturday July 25th, 2009

Overland Park, Kansas to Albuquerque, New Mexico

Quote of the day: “It’s like Medieval Nights [medieval themed family restaurant], but with fanny packs.”

In my Toyota Sienna mini-van I picked up Vince bright and early at 8:00 a.m. We had a long drive ahead of us, and we had planned early on to get moving at an early time rather than sleeping in everyday.

Our mission for the day was to make it to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The drive there was fairly dull, except for a couple incidents. One could be the guy who tried desperately to barge in on Vince in the men’s room at a gas station. Apparently not deterred by a locked door, he kept on pushing and pushing.

We stopped for dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. It’s a big tourist attraction and on the highway there are signs advertising a 72 ounce steak that is free – if eaten within an hour. There’s an excellent Simpsons episode about the very same thing, which I reminded Vince of several times. In the episode Homer challenges a trucker to eat the 72 ounce steak. The trucker, having won before, easily wins, though dies in the process. Homer, in a call to duty, takes over his trucking route and from there, hilarity ensues.

Anyway, the Big Texan is a huge restaurant, maybe the biggest I’ve seen with a definite cowboy theme. They had a gift shop, a firing range (fake guns as far as I know), giant buffalo heads, and various other things. We got seated up on the second level with a perfect view of two unfortunate young men who attempted the 72 ounce steak on a small stage on the first level below. Both finished, but I’m guessing are dead now.

The food seemed okay, though was not without incident. First, Vince’s steakburger was the reddest burger I’ve ever seen. They happily made him a new one though. My chicken sandwich tasted fine, but I drove the remaining four hours slightly hunched over in pain. Maybe we got them back when Vince accidentally knocked over his full cup of raspberry tea. A couple employees with full cowboy outfits came over and cleaned up the mess. But I don’t want to put the restaurant down. It was some of the nicest and most attentive staff I’ve ever seen. The manager came by twice and checked up on us, and our waitress was incredibly friendly and talked up a storm with us, while we made lame jokes, like “Just a bunch of guys from Kansas City!” to cover up the spilled drink and steakburger complaint.

Back on the road we made it to Albuquerque by about 10:00 p.m. their time, which meant we had left 15 hours before. A long day. We stayed the night at a Days Inn and enjoyed the complimentary breakfast in the morning.

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