We packed up our tent and hit the road to Amarillo, our last spot before we headed to New Mexico. We can't take any trip without going to a zoo. When we parked our car, we noticed a handful of people were using metal detectors in this empty lot. I'm not sure what they were looking for but I bet it is buried treasure.
The zoo was small but the animals were so active. The lions started roaring, like all three were just roaring together. I haven't seen lions do anything but yawn. Everywhere we went around the tiger exhibit, they followed and paced near us, so while the lions were roaring, we looked behind us and one of the tigers was pacing. Still wasn't as terrified as I was with tarantulas in Palo Duro Canyon.
After the zoo, we went to the famous "Big Texan" featured on "King of the Hill," "Man vs. Food," and "the Shaytards." If you aren't familiar with this, they have a challenge that if you eat a 72oz steak, you eat it for free. While we were there, we saw four people attempting it. One man was ten minutes from having to be done and he threw up. Fortunately, we were seated upstairs, so it didn't ruin our meal. The restaurant has such a cool ambiance. They have old Boardwalk type games- fortune teller, shoot-out, and love tester to name a few. Unless you have a problem with taxidermy or gluttony, it is definitely a place everyone needs to visit at least once.
We were then on our way out of Texas. Before we did that, we had to stop at the Cadillac ranch. This is a place I have been wanting to go for a while. It is a row of Cadillacs halfway buried and the visitors add spray paint. We added some art. Mine is the heart. Aaron added "ADH." I apologize for the foot picture but it was really muddy around the cars so my flip flops got stuck and my feet came out.
We arrived at our destination! Aaron and I are doing a road trip so we get to experience a bunch of different places. Before we arrived to our destination for the night, we stopped at the coolest truck stop called "Russell's". They had a legit old car museum and a chapel on top of other things you would expect to find at a truck stop. What a great find.
After another hour or so, we arrived in Tucumcari, NM. This is a town that was booming when Route 66 was the only way to travel. Once a bigger highway was built next to it, the town had way less visitors. This story sound familiar? How about the movie "Cars?" I don't think this town specifically inspired the plot but I do know the motel we stayed in inspired their motel in "Radiator Springs". We stayed in "The Blue Swallow Motel" which included our own garage next to our room. The decor was vintage and adorable and the owners were very accommodating.
# 40 Sunday
Can you believe all of that was one day? Aren't we all glad I split this week into two blog posts?
Like I said before, we love zoos. When we arrived in Albuquerque the first place we went was the zoo. This zoo had a lot of animals we have never seen before. They also had a ton of babies (animals). The first animal we saw with a baby was a howler monkey. The mom saw us trying to look at her baby and I thought she would hide it. Instead she came right over to us and posed so we could best see the baby hanging off her belly. Here is the rest of the babies I can think of seeing: giraffe, hippo, elephant, crocodiles, and a chimpanzee. The zoo was like a labyrinth! The lady we got our tickets from failed to give us a map so we were just wandering along. The problem with that is we had to catch a train that went from the zoo to an aquarium/ botanical garden. We asked a kid working there how to catch the train to the aquarium. Despite his clear (vague) instructions, we missed the train. We finally figured out how to get there and waited for about five minutes when we realized we were at the wrong train! (Thanks kid). We were at the "African train." We had to be at the "Asian train." So, just like Bugs Bunny, we took a wrong turn in Albuquerque and ended up in Africa.
Once we got there, we had to speed through everything so we wouldn't miss the last train back. The aquarium was small but had a great variety of fish including Sharks, Stingrays, and Seahorses.
The botanical garden was lovely! It had beautiful sections such as a castle and oversized statues, an English garden, Japanese garden, a train garden, and a butterfly room. Like I said, lovely.
Today, we rode on the longest tram in the Western Hemisphere up to Sandia Peak. They have a restaurant up there and you can see where the ski lift is during the winter time but we just went hiking. For some reason, I was more terrified hiking in Palo Duro Canyon with tarantulas than in the mountains with bears. Logic.
We had a picnic at the bottom of the mountain and then went into "Old Town," historic part of Albuquerque. A lot of beautiful art, music, and clothes.
We ate at the Backyard Grill which is basically a fancy Mexican food restaurant. The food was fantastic. I definitely over-ate but oh my gosh I didn't regret it! On our way back to our car, we stopped into an interesting looking store. It was this olive oil/vinagarrette store and the sales lady gave us so many samples! Who knew olive oil came in other flavores? I ended up with a dark chocolate vinagarrette and a butter olive oil. Who knows, I may actually cook!