The Texas Panhandle
Spud returned to Texas in August of 2012, this time to visit the 'panhandle' of the Northwest. The tuber was a bit concerned that the area would be overrun by aggressive beggars, but soon learned that the 'panhandle' moniker was given more for the shape of the area in the context of the rest of the state.
Somewhat relieved, the tater crossed from New Mexico across the dusty strip of land dotted with tumbleweed, oil pumps, and billboards. Lots of billboards. Curiously, the boards all seem to advertise the same thing, a restaurant in Amarillo known as 'The Big Texan'
The Big Texan is not just any restaurant. This staple on Route 66 has been around since 1960 and also sports a large motel all in the guise of a faux western town. Its claim to fame however is "The Texas King" a monster 72 ounce (4.5 pounds or 2.04 kg) steak.
The restaurant advertises relentlessly on the billboards that the steak is FREE, so needless to say, the potato started salivating in anticipation. Spud is known to be quite a meat eater so each passing billboard beckoned him to stop in for his free feast of meat nirvana. Finally after a few hundred miles, the colours of The Big Texan steak ranch came into view. the tuber parked and made his way inside.
Another massive sign met him at the door FREE STEAK. However this one had an asterisk and small text printed below: "Must be completely eaten within 1 hour "
Yikes! Spud thought to himself, but he was famished, so ready to take on the challenge. Another asterisk followed, with even smaller text below: "Steak comes frozen"
The saliva laden smile began to leave the tuber's face. Yet another asterisk and more text followed: "Steak also comes with butter, roll, ranch beans, shrimp cocktail, salad and A BAKED POTATO!!!!"
The tater was horrified with the genocide of his kind being practiced behind their facade. Fearing for his life and those of his brethren, he pulled the fire alarm then ducked into the kitchen to liberate his foil wrapped brothers. Fortunately, all escaped amongst the chaos.
The next day, after decompressing from the furor of the night before, Spud headed out of Amarillo, but this time to visit an art installation.
Who would expect to find culture and civility in such a barren dusty place as North Texas? Well no one frankly, that is until three sculptors named Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels set out to turn a string of sexy tail-fin Cadillacs into 'Cadillac Ranch'. The trio proceeded to angle the classic cars into the earth and bury them at roughly a 45 degree angle swallowing almost their entire front hoods. Perhaps suggesting the decline of the automobile industry in America which coincidentally started at the same time in 1974.
Today the buried Cadillacs are considered a public art installation where the public is encouraged to 'add' to the work by spray painting whatever one desires on one of the bodies. Spud has no respect for graffiti artists who illegally vandalize property with paint, so he has always soured at the sight of spray paint. However given this was a public installation that was sanctioned and encouraged, the tater grabbed a can and added his flair to the piece.
The drying paint over
the nozzle in the hot sun dropped paint all over the tater's hands. No
matter how much turpentine and varsol he used he couldn't get clean. Rather
than rub himself raw, he elected to pull his arms off and replace them
with new ones.