TX-NM: Get your kitsch on Route 66

The Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo is pretty famous. There's even a Simpson's article about it. So even though the food reviews were so-so, we went along. It's an awesome place, busting at the seams with weird taxidermy and Ye Olde Western kitsch.


It's famed for its 72 oz (2kg) steak challenge, where if you can eat a full steak dinner - meat, fat, gristle and two sides - in under an hour, then it's free. If you take on the challenge, you have to sit up at a special table with timers and sick buckets. Luckily no one took the challenge while we were there. Apparently the fastest human ever to do it was in about 8 minutes (ugh), and the fastest ever was a Siberian Tiger who did it in 90 seconds.


Just outside of Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch, which is reasonable self-explanatory.




As we drove into New Mexico, the landscape started to change from dryish fields to something hot, barren and deserty. Which meant the last thing we were expecting to see was... Scuba divers?


This is Blue Hole, an 80 ft deep sinkhole in the middle of the desert. It's about the size of our living room, but I guess if you're a scuba enthusiast in New Mexico, you can't be too fussy.

We spent the night at the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup. The hotel was built in the 30s by DW Griffiths's brother, to house filmstars shooting Westerns in the desert. The hotel has seen better days, but was also full of kitschy taxidermy, a self-playing old pianola and about a zillion framed photos of the stars who stayed there.


As we turned off the interstate and headed North, everything became suddenly more dramatic, with giant red cliffs stretching along the horizon. This is the Intercontinental Divide, the point that separates the water that runs off east to the Atlantic, from the water that runs west, to the Pacific. We were getting pretty tired, so we let the muppets drive for a bit. This, it turns out, was a mistake.