Day Four by Dave Schultheis
Monday, May 27, 2002 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
After some initial tossing and turning, I slept pretty well. Awake at 5:56 a.m. Mountain Time, I got up and dressed, watched CNN Memorial Day coverage, packed the T-Bag and saddlebag liners.
I walked to the front of the hotel, started the Road King and brought it around to the room for loading, then went back to the lobby for checkout and Continental (crummy) breakfast. I left the motel at 7:00 a.m., fueled at the Chevron Station (almost next door), then continued east on I-40 in cool temperatures and wind, with periods of slight moisture.
About an hour later I stopped at Clines Corners for pictures and to browse their huge gift shop. Of course I didn't buy anything.
Another couple hours later I took exit 322 and pulled into a Chevron Station in Tucumcari NM. I had been this way in 2001 and all of the stores and stations were new in that period of time. I got a Subway Sandwich and then noticed that my American flag was gone; it had flown the coop, I guess.
Gasoline was 90 octane and the pump told me I had to go inside to pay. I guess they wanted a signature, so I signed. The clerk gave me directions to the courthouse.
Enroute there, the area started looking familiar, since it was the old part of town that I had seen last year. It didn't seem that warm, but the sign on the bank said it was 84 degrees. I found the civic complex; still no sign at the court house and still no sign at the Sheriff's Office, but the "Quay County Detention Center" sign was still there, so that was the picture I took.
Back on I-40, the last New Mexico mile sign I saw was 372, I think. There seemed to be miles of construction and no "Welcome to Texas" sign. The first indication that I was indeed in the Republic of Texas was the sign for "Mile 7." I stopped at a rest stop near Mile 12, took a couple of "Don't Mess with Texas" trash can photographs, removed the soft lowers and downed some Mountain Dew. (Yes, I am a creature of habit.)
There are many miles of Texas, especially the way I was going. I recognized Vega and Wildorado from my 2001 trip, and my next stop was in Amarillo at exit 71. It was warm and windy when I stopped at Wendy's for a Frosty. I found a shade tree and made a few phone calls. Family, friends and dog are all fine. I told my aunt and uncle near Tyler TX that I might not make it to their place that day.
Back on I-40 for a while, I passed the (famous) Big Texan Steak House, then had a short period of rain, then turned kind of south-east on U.S. 287 in windy conditions. I stopped in Claude TX for fuel, then continued through some very windy conditions with some sprinkles along the way. I stopped at a picnic area for a short rest, and it was very windy. I spotted a "Hall County" sign and got a picture. The wind continued as I passed through Memphis TX.
I made a brief stop in Childress TX and then enjoyed (!) 15 miles of construction, with only one lane in my direction. Did I mention it was windy?
In Quanah TX I turned north on TX 6 to get the "Oklahoma" sign. It was only a few miles to the border. Just beyond the bridge over the Red River, the State of Oklahoma had provided a nice long turnout for people to park and take pictures. I also got the "Jackson County" sign; then on the way back I got my "Welcome to Texas" sign, as well as "Hardeman County."
Back in Quanah, it was no longer windy but it was overcast as I sat and waited several minutes for a train to pass.
About 6:20 p.m. Central Time I pulled into a very old gas station with very old pumps in Vernon TX, where I got 92 octane gasoline. Then more miles of Texas at 70 miles per hour.
Shortly after 7 p.m. I pulled into a Ramada Limited on the outskirts of Wichita Falls TX. I checked into Room 131, took a picture of the motel, went out to Carl's Jr. across the street, parked the Road King right outside the room and put my stuff inside. This was a fairly new motel, so things looked to be in pretty good shape.
I talked to family on the phone, watched "Founding Brothers" on the History Channel, took a shower, watched some TV Land and went to bed about 10:30 p.m.
Miles for the day = 536. Miles for the trip = 1981.
Tomorrow: Rain, then good weather, then a family visit.