Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 2, June 3rd - Pratt to Tucumcari

Off at 6:50 this morning, with sunny skies and a good headwind.  We made our first stop at Mullinville, home of Mr. Liggett's "totem poles."  If you've driven west of Greenburg KS on US-54, you've seen them. He is a folk artist who makes 'things' out of old farm machinery, auto parts, and anything metal that will cut and/or weld - often making a biting commentary about politics or the social order.   We missed seeing him at that early hour, but the photo shows a small sample.

Then the long trip to Liberal for lunch.  Got there about 9:30, so what to do until the Cattlemen's Cafe (our usual stop in Liberal since we discovered the restaurants in '02) opened?  Well, just down the street we found Dorothy's house (from "The Wizard of Oz") and the Coronado Museum.  We didn't feel particularly wizardly, so saw the museum only.  Who'd have expected gunplay requiring the National Guard intervention in a discussion of the location of a county seat?  Yep, they have the story.  At 10:30, we opened the cafe and had our favorite meals, chicken fried steak for Bill & pot roast for Sandra.

The plan was to stop for gas at Dalhart, TX.  Gas prices were a tad high (like $2.69) so we kept going all the way to Tucumcari, only 3 1/2 hours later.  First stop (after the comfort break) was the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, where the local junior college blends paleontology and art by making bronzes from casts of dinosaur bones.  Students dig the fossils, help prepare them, and hand them over to the artsy set to cast the bronzes, including a full size triceratops skull.   We also 'dig' dinosaurs, and Sandra even got  a ride on one.

Tucumcari, once a major stopping point on Route 66, was slowly decaying, so the locals decided to add some attractions.  It now is full of murals, many depicting the Route 66 history and others showing local history of cattle & railroads.  Dinner was at Dell's Restaurant, a Route 66 fixture.  As we drove by the landmark Blue Swallow Motel, we saw a bunch of classic 'Vettes pulling in, so we had to stop.  It's on-line, so if you're looking for some 66-nostalgia, look them up.  However, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.

Tomorrow we explore new territory, heading south thru Clovis & Portales to Lovington & Hobbs, where we'll spend the night.  Today 348.9 miles, 682 for the trip.

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