Road Trip Day 5 – Vandalism and a Taste of Texas

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Since we arrived in Amarillo quite late on Day 4, we saved all of our Texas fun for Day 5. And was there ever fun to be had!

We first headed West on I-40 about 10 miles, where, off the I-40 access road, sits one of the most popular roadside tourist attractions in the U.S. — the Cadillac Ranch.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

This oddball attraction has been around since 1974, when a local Texas millionaire decided Amarillo needed a different kind of funky art installation. A handful of old Cadillac cars were then buried, nose-down, in an unused field. And, somehow, this random attraction has become a Route 66 favorite.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Today, visitors are encouraged to cover the cars in all manner of graffiti.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Unfortunately, not everyone picks up after themselves…

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

My sister and I had fun leaving our own marks on the cars, though:

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

After half an hour or so out in the hot Texas sun, we were ready for some lunch. And what better place to go in Amarillo for a bite to eat than the Big Texan?

Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas

This roadside diner simply cannot be missed — literally, there are so many huge signs for it that you'd have to be blind to not notice it from the highway.

Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas

The Big Texan itself resides in a garishly yellow building with a giant longhorn cow and cowboy boot on display outside. There's also a colorful motel (complete with a pool shaped like the state of Texas), and a place to board horses for the night.

Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas

And, while the Big Texan IS known for being a kitschy roadside attraction, it's probably most well-known for its 72-ounce steak challenge. During this challenge, brave souls are given an hour to eat a 72-ounce steak, a salad, and a bunch of sides. Two people were taking the challenge while my sister and I were there (see the video for this). I don't think I've ever seen such a large piece of meat in my entire life. It was almost scary.

I stuck to a nice 8-ounce prime rib.

Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas

After our lunch (during which we were even serenaded by a roving country singer!), we checked out the gift shop and other fun areas of the Big Texan (such as a shooting gallery, bar, maze, and fudge shop). I picked up some very special band-aids, which I think are my favorite purchase of the entire trip so far:

Moustaches

Eventually, though, it was time to hit the road again. Santa Fe was our destination for the night, and it was on the way there that we finally started seeing some of the bluffs, scrub brush and big skies that I have always associated with “the West.”

Texas

Texas

Each day, I’ll be cutting together a quick video to show you what we’ve been up to. Here’s Day 5:

Tomorrow, it's on to Monument Valley, Utah!

——

Note: A big thanks to the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council for helping to put us up at the Hampton Inn Amarillo for the night. 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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30 Comments on “Road Trip Day 5 – Vandalism and a Taste of Texas

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  1. Love those Cadillacs! I am heading to San Antonio for the first time in November & I can only hope they have some of these quirky attractions!

      The Cadillac Ranch was so much fun! I’m sure you’ll enjoy San Antonio. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard great things!

    I totally missed this when driving through Amarillo but then again it was pouring rain and we were pulling a small trailer! Your photos are beautiful 🙂

      Aww too bad you missed it! It was a lot of fun and a great place to snap some colorful photos!

    Oh this makes me miss home… love the pics and am glad you made a stop in TEXAS. I love my state and love Houston even more… I doubt you will make that far south but if you do let me know and I’ll give ya some info on things to see and do. If you can’t visit Houston you must must visit San Antonio if you wanna party & Austin if you wanna enjoy a BEAUTIFUL city with amazing greenery.

      I’m glad we got a taste of your home state, too, Jaime! Unfortunately we did not make it any further south than Amarillo. But I think I’ll definitely have to come back to Texas someday!

    Cheerful post, love it! Also love the intense blue of the sky in the photos. Really nice! Enjoy all that big-ness. 🙂

      I am LOVING all the bigness! The West is pretty sweet, I must admit!

    The pictures are awesome! I always wanted to go to the Cadillac Ranch, we have to road trip through Texas one day. Have fun in Monument Valley, one of my favorite places in the U.S.

      Thanks, Dani! You should totally roadtrip through Texas! We had fun passing through the small part of it that we did.

      And Monument Valley was amazing!!

    I love this post and the pictures. What fun!! I am having fun living vicariously through your travels. I passed through Amarillo in the 1980’s and didn’t see any of these sights. I hope they weren’t there at the time. Otherwise, I was awfully obtuse. I do, however, remember eating at a McDonald’s that looked out onto a cattle ranch. I swear, it was the best McDonald’s hamburger I ever had.

      Hahaha, that’s funny about the McDonald’s. And, I think the Cadillac Ranch WAS there in the 80s, but it probably wasn’t a huge tourist attraction then like it is now.

    I am disappointed you did not do the steak challenge. That’s just what you do in Texas 😉

      Haha. I probably would have only eaten like 7 ounces, and then would have had to pay a ridiculous amount for the rest of it!

    I love that you can make your own graffiti on the Cadillacs! And I guess everything really is bigger in Texas. I would love to take part in a food challenge, but a 72 ounce steak sounds absolutely insane. Great post, as always. 🙂

      Legally graffiti-ing cars was a lot of fun! And the 72-ounce steak did look insane… I would never dream of trying it! I had trouble with my little 8-ounce one. Lol.

    Those Caddys look awesome! I love finding stuff like that – Australia had some seriously amazing sculpture parks out in the middle of nowhere which were great to stumble across 🙂

      I really love finding stuff like this, too! Makes the whole trip more interesting, I think. Plus, these old graffitied cars made for some great photos! Which is always a plus in my book. 🙂

    awe man, i was hoping you’d take the 72 oz challenge. that’s probably asking way too much but still it looks like you had a good meal. gotta love any place that has a huge bull outside of it.

      Haha, I think I’d still be in a food coma, had I tried that 72-ounce steak challenge! It’s just ridiculous!!

    That’s awesome!! Did you guys actually write/paint anything on the cars, or did you just take pictures with them?

    ~Sara

      Of course we spraypainted the cars! If you check out the video, you can see us at work!

    Vandalism in these cars is indeed a great adventure! I can’t imagine how many visitors already had spray paint on these cars. Great idea to entertain everybody, not a typical nature beauty like other places can offer. Btw, nice mustache! LOL

      Haha, it was so much fun! And yes, the amount of paint on those cars is insane… I think every once in a while they re-paint them all black to kind of “start over.”

        At least they are repainting it from time to time to at least have some fresh start for other goers there. I hope I have the chance to visit the place!

    […] attractions on offer. These are often what makes the journey fun. Some of my favorites included the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, and random “Indian trading posts” in […]

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