July 7, 2017
We woke up in Amarillo a bit early, packed up, and went to the Big Texan Steak Ranch for breakfast. We’d been here several times before; the first time way back in the 90s with our Uncle Clyde and Aunt Sybil, and we’ve always found an excuse to come back every time we pass through Amarillo. It’s a maze of Western kitsch and we love every inch of it. Sadly we weren’t around in the evening, or we would have ordered steaks. We had a good time and took a bunch of photos, then headed out East to see how far we could get.
We had decided, as a group, that we’d vote on how we’d spend our last few days of the trip. Granted, we’ve been gone for 2-1/2 weeks, so the kids were grumbling and kinda fed up with all the driving. Lynne and I wanted to go camping for our last night on the road, in the Great Smokies. But reading the crowd and judging how we felt, we all decided to press on and get back to Chapel Hill. It was a wise decision in the end, but it was quite a haul.
Our trip took us from the high plains of the panhandle, with wind power and large cattle ranches, through the slow hills of Oklahoma where the trees started to get larger and the air more humid.
By the time we go to Fort Smith, Arkansas, we were getting pretty hungry. Lynne did a Yelp search for a good local place to eat, and found something called Kountry Xpress. Turns out, the place is an Indian restaurant, and the ratings on both Yelp and TripAdvisor were outstanding! So, we just had to give it a go. The truck stop itself is pretty uninspiring, just a gas station with the regular truck stop gear and things, but right when you walk in you get the amazing aroma of Indian spices. We were skeptical but ordered Chicken Vindaloo (me) and Paneer Korma (Lynne), and some fried chicken and macaroni and cheese for the kiddos. It took a while to get the food, which was OK with us since we were so tired of being in the car, and when it did come it was truly outstanding. Thank goodness we made the effort, this was the best food we’ve had in quite some time, and rivals any of the Indian restaurants back home.
Onward through the night, we made it to Little Rock and pressed on, finally getting to West Memphis by around 11:30 at night. We pretty much just went right to bed, exhausted.