Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2010 USA Tour : March 23rd, Amarillo TX

Rt66signto Amarillo Texas

This is a journey that inspired a lot of singing and jokes from some of our friends around the world.

It was wonderful to, at last, be heading west. There is such a different feel once we travel west of Tulsa. I think this was also edged on by enjoying a sunny warm day. It was windy with gusts battering us hard on the freeway, but when we stopped the wind was warm and that was exhilarating too.

West of Tulsa means quieter road, less traffic, and far, far less quota hungry cops pulling over speeders and cracked back light offenders.

We love the USA and especially the USA people with their humour, optimism and incredible manners (in most places). The severe downside that irritates me and must irritate the people of the USA is the “legal” racketeering abuse on people. There is endless, everywhere you look, signage and notices along with verbal warnings that literally translate as “if you do not do exactly as you are told we have the legal right to empty your pockets, empty your bank account and even max out your credit card”

One incident we had was not having 25c to pay an automatic toll charge and no means of referring, and no change machine by the toll machine and no warning a toll machine was ahead. All I had was some euro coins. They were good enough to raise the toll barrier, but it quickly knew what happened, took a photo, automatically tracked our “tag” back to the RV renters who automatically deducted a $160 fine from our credit card. Total designed racketeering!

We parked outside a business on a Sunday that was closed on Sundays. The tow-away track still turned up within minuted and spotted us so we raced away before being hooked up and charged $500 to be unhooked. We saw a big truck turn in roadway with a notice warning of $1000 fines for trucks turning there. Sure enough a camera flashed on the truck’s tag and that driver will have $1000 docked somehow right away.

Anyway, enough of that “bitching” as I do feel these types of practices are so, so unfair on the USA people and I am surprised they have not rebelled against this unjust racketeering behaviour. “Legal” stealing is a very dirty disease here it seems, yet many folks here support it on the grounds that morality is about “doing what you are told”. It baffles me as people telling me something I accept as guidance and measure it against what the great spirit inside me rates as moral or not.

Back to the journey …..

Yes, we are in the west, less hassle, less pressure, lots of wide open and wild country. This is bliss !!!

Shamrock is Green

Again we had fun pulling into Shamrock TX, just over the TX border in North East Texas. Everything is greener there. There’s green grass while elsewhere maybe brown shrub and it seems all of the buildings are painted green.

When the people there hear Claire’s accent there’s loads of excitement. This time we heard that their St. Patrick’s Day parade and rodeo was scheduled for Saturday March 20th but heavy snow on that day cancelled all that, for the first time they can remember. Now I am wondering if Ireland will start up St. Patrick’s Day rodeos soon.

Rt66driveininto Amarillo

After delightfully driving through the Route 66 open plains lands of the Creek, Fox, Cherokee, Cheyenne and Lasoto tribes it was arrival into the Billboard capital of USA, Amarillo. We were very curious about visiting the “Catholic Superstore” promoted by several billboards, but missed it, only to wonder what was sold there such as life-size pope replicas, automated rosary beads, and confession box flat pack kits.

Our RV park for the night was the other side of town and what a delight this site is.

No trees, as there are very few trees around Amarillo anyway, but the park is full of facilities and wonderful people running the “show”.

A lot of space between parked RVs, very level parking places, and water, electric and sewer that work very well.

We had a night off from doing a concert so this was laundry and write up time. Laundry, bathroom, shower, and even work out facilities here are superb. Pricing superb too. Wi-Fi a bit weak though.

The restaurant on site was all pizza and good ol’ Amarillo beef so we headed back to town to try other options. Good ol’ American style buffets were abundant, a type of restaurant that seems to be dying out through much of the rest of the USA. $10 for all you can eat and drink, and terrific quality food too. Claire and I loved the steamed fishes, huge fresh salmons, spicy shrimp, lots of fresh crunchy veggies, sushi, baked and steamed mussels and a finish off from a huge range of ice creams and sorbets. We really pigged out, and despite being cheap buffet was a clean, ambient, nicely decorated and lighted restaurant with delightful staff.

Back to the campsite, we had plans for admin work, but instead it was laundry on and wait for the morning to collect it dry. The evening and night was warm, but the forecast for the morning was telling us something different.



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