Published: February 2nd 2011January 11th 2011
I woke up in a hotel room, still tired, at 7am and began to get ready to leave. I showered, ate breakfast, which was the best breakfast I’d had all trip with yogurts and bagels available.
I walked outside to find the sun out and the sky blue with not a cloud in the sky, yet again.
Despite the -6C temperatures, the car was no frosted up. I later discovered this may have been because two of the windows were left open ajar from the night before.
Inside the car was almost colder than outside the car. I packed up the car and turned on the heating for a while. I then returned to the hotel room and watched TV until everyone else was ready to leave.
It wasn’t until around 9.30am that we eventually left Wichita Falls. We drove through Texas on the highway and decided to visit Oklahoma since we were just beside the border. We took a slip road off the highway and drove north towards Oklahoma. The side roads were far more scenic than the highway and there were fewer cars. It was so hot in the car from the sun by this point that I needed
to open the window to cool down, despite it being below freezing outside.
The trees were sparkling white and silver from the little water droplets that had frozen to ice on the tips of the branches, it looked like something out of a fairytale forest. There was nothing but aridness around. There were no mountains, just flat plains with a road running through it – the roads were winding more than usual for the US.
We drove further through Oklahoma, which really did feel like the middle of nowhere, there was the occasional town every 20-40 miles and it did make me wonder whether people really ever move into these places, especially considering the places we’d all been.
We drove down another country road whilst listening to cowboy western, blues and country, this road was very straight and there appeared to be nothing around. We stopped the car for photographs and everything was completely silent other than the noises we made.
There wasn’t anything around as far as the eye could see, not even another car.
We left the road and drove out of Oklahoma and began our journey across northern Texas to Amarillo. We joined the highway
again with all the truckers and sometimes another car – though never one from California.
We arrived in Amarillo, Texas and stopped at a restaurant recommended to us by a person I met in New York in Times Square who was from Oklahoma. It was a steakhouse that was being advertised for around the past 300 miles called “The Big Texan.” It advertised a 72oz steak for free, if you could eat it in under an hour with all the sides. We considered trying the challenge, but upon finding out that it cost $72 if you couldn’t manage it we opted for cheaper options. I had a 20oz filet steak, which wasn’t one of the best steaks I’d ever tried but it was really good.
The steak sauce on the plate was especially tasty. After finishing the meal with the sides, I still felt hungry strangely – it might have been because the steak tasted so good.
The Big Texan was not only a steak restaurant but was also a tourist attraction and a place for locals to get together for events. There was a complimentary limo service to and from the restaurant which offered people a ride to
and from the restaurant.
The tourist shop there sold everything you’d stereotypically think of when you think of Texas including cowboy hats, rattle snake plushies, belt buckles etc.
We once again began our journey, this time onward to New Mexico, where we had to change time zones. We entered New Mexico sooner than expected, and the drive to Santa Fe was only 2 hours. The first 2 or 3 hours of the drive wasn’t anything special until the sunset. The colours in the sky looked amazing. It was cloudy and the clouds were tinted orange, purple and red. The colours stayed in the sky for at least an hour until darkness fell. It was pitch black and we were in a desert with the temperature still being cold at around -2C. It was a place I definitely would not have been comfortable breaking down at, there was no mobile phone reception and no Wireless 3G reception, but our GPS did still work.
We arrived in Santa Fe at around 6.15pm and decided to meet up another person travelling around from the I-House, Jamie.
We met up with Jamie in the centre of the city by the plaza. It was completely
dead other than a few drunken people wandering around the streets. It was the first place I’d been to where this was the case outside of UK! People in Santa Fe seemed to be really into their alcohol and all the local bars were busy and well hidden.
Every restaurant and bar had a good selection of beer especially compared to some of the places we’d been where you were limited to a choice of 6 beers.
Although, the alcohol laws seemed a little tight when we tried to sit down in one of the restaurants, to find that we weren’t even allowed to dine there as there were people under 21 in the party.
The buildings in Santa Fe looked really cool, they were sleak and comfortable and looked as if they were designed by a different culture or race many years ago.
Santa Fe really felt like a small city in the middle of a desert, but I really liked the atmosphere it had around it.
Jamie had been hitch-hiking and couch-surfing his way around the US, gave us a contact with a couple who lived in Santa Fe so we called them up and stayed at
their house for the night.
Once again they were very welcoming. We talked for a couple of hours about many things before going to sleep. I was very tired so a good night sleep was essential for the remaining 3 days travelling ahead.
There are more photos below