John and I had agreed that as far as Best Western's go, this one was pretty shoddy. Breakfast only confirmed it. We have a suspicion it is actually a Best Value Inn masquerading as a Best Western. We agreed we will never go there again.
The morning stop turned out to be at Granny's Home Cooking' establishment in Pampa, Texas. It was well patronised and we were quickly served our coffee and cake. We remarked to ourselves that the cakes were small by American standards and minute by those of Texas. On fronting the cash register to pay, I was asked for $2.00. My exclamation of surprise elicited the response that the coffee was $1.00 per cup. "What about the cake?" I ask. "Oh, that is free." OK. Small cake is totally acceptable if it is free!
I noticed as we left that one wall was covered with crucifixes. I asked about this to be told simply that Granny collects them.
Heading west we traveled alongside a railway line for quite a while, interested to see so many trains, and all of them very long. The number of oil derricks also attracted our attention.
Amarillo was not far down the road and we stopped just before noon to discuss our next move. Over a very decent meal, sitting next to a large store of good wines (and the wine list showed vintages!) we decided that we would make a side trip to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, as John had not seen any great scenery thus far, it is the second largest canyon in North America and finally, we were unlikely to pass this way again.
We are glad we did it. It is impressive in scale and the features and colour contrasts are very attractive. The road goes down to the floor and along it, so it is quite an intimate experience. The main feature is the Lighthouse, but it is accessible only by a fairly strenuous hike. The visitor centre is excellent. John had spotted this in his LP Guide book and I think my friend Morris in Leesville LA had also mentioned it to me.
Leaving Palo Duro we had to retrace our path west and north back to Amarillo. All fine, except that there was this large rain storm between us and the road north. I stopped, changed to my rain gloves, told John 'we are going to get wet,' and got going. My prediction was proved correct within minutes. Fortunately the rain appeared to have shifted slightly south so we clipped the side of it and hence were indeed only wet and not soaked.
I want to mention my helmet, or more precisely the speaker system within it. The helmet is a Schubert C3. They are not available in Australia so I imported it from Germany. The communicator is actually a Scala Rider G4 built into the detachable neck roll. It Bluetooths to a pillion, another rider, my GPS, my music, my phone and ebooks on the GPS. The communicator is however for the C3 Pro helmet, and that model incorporates an antenna which runs around the inside of the helmet.my Bluetooth reception was poor and sometimes very poor.
I called Schuberth North America a few weeks ago and asked if I could by a separate antenna to retrofit my helmet. Well, they found an antenna for me, posted it to BMW Charlotte NC and did not charge me! Last night I found the time to install it and today I was zipping along hearing everything perfectly. Full marks for customer service to Phil of Schuberth North America.
Back to the ride, our time in the great state of Texas was very short, riding as we did across the panhandle of the north west. The rest of the ride to Tucumcari New Mexico was uneventful, although I was closely watching the position of two large rain storms to the south. The one was catching the sunlight and it looked spectacular. I hope to get one of John's photos.
In Tucumcari, K-Bob's seemed to be the place for dinner. The menu was plonked on the table and John's eyes lit up at the list of beers. Oops. New management. No license yet, so no beer nor wine. Sorry sirs. We won't be going back there, either!