It’s ‘Amarillo By Morning’ for The Spirit and then to Albuquerque

November 21, 2018

Chuck Robinson


Three things come to mind when someone mentions Amarillo, Texas.

First, George Straight’s 1983 country music hit, “Amarillo By Morning.”

Second, because the city’s name so closely sounds like it, armadillos. Texas and armadillos. In fact, Jon Osburn, skipper of OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer, plans to be in Amarillo for Thanksgiving.

“I’m going to Amarillo for armadillo on Turkey Day,” Jon says.

He is scheduled to park the Spirit of the American Trucker at the Evan “Buddy” Haston Petro in Amarillo on Nov. 22-24. It is at Exit 75, Lakeside Drive, off of I-40.

Unless he feasts on roadkill, Jon may be out of luck with the heapin’ helpings of armadillo. It isn’t on as many restaurant menus as you might think. The folks at say they know of no restaurant in their city that serves armadillo, but there are several restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving Day.

The third thing that comes to mind with Amarillo: the Cadillac Ranch. That is something you can visit in your truck.

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation with 10 Cadillacs half-buried nose first into the ground. It was created in 1974 by a group of artists calling themselves Ant Farm. Cadillac Ranch was moved in 1997 from its original site along Interstate 40 to a new spot two miles west along the interstate because development was making the land too valuable to leave as a public art space.

The address is 13651 I-40 Frontage Rd, Amarillo, TX 79124.

Not far from Amarillo and the Cadillac Ranch is a 22-foot Texas cowboy statue, named Second Amendment Cowboy. It is a mile east of Cadillac Ranch. The cowboy is not armed, and some say it earned its name from people using it for target practice.

Both are along the transplanted Route 66. The place to get your kitsch is Route 66.

Another tall cowboy edifice along I-40/Route 66 near Amarillo is the sign for the Big Texan Steak Ranch. It has been there since 1960. For decades, the restaurant has offered a free 72-ounce steak dinner to anyone who could eat it within one hour. It is going to be open for Thanksgiving.

The Evan “Buddy” Haston Petro is named for an OOIDA Life Member from North Richland Hills, Texas, who was one of five drivers to earn the truck stop chain’s Citizen Driver award for 2017. He is a U.S. Army veteran who is active in his church and has logged more than 6 million accident-free miles during his career.

There are 280 parking spaces there, and the Iron Skillet restaurant promises on its website to have a feast ready for Thanksgiving.

Headed to Albuquerque, N.M.

There are at least two pop culture references lurking in our brains when Albuquerque, N.M., is mentioned.

One, for those of us raised on Looney Tunes and Merrie Melody cartoons, Albuquerque is where Bugs Bunny often took a wrong turn to end up in a new predicament.

Second, the TV series “Breaking Bad” was set and filmed in Albuquerque. Walter White’s house is there, but it is in a residential neighborhood and so not that accessible for a big truck.

Jon and his canine co-pilot, Sassi, are headed to the Jim Wilcox TA Travel Center at the junction of I-40 and I-25. It is at Exit 159A from I-40. From I-25, it is exit 225 for northbound traffic and Exit 227 for southbound traffic.

They are scheduled to be there Nov 25-27. This is the first time The Spirit has visited Albuquerque.

The TA is named for a 2017 Citizen Driver honoree. Jim Wilcox also was inducted into the YRC Freight National Driver Hall of Fame in 2013.

The Spirit will drive through Cibola National Forest, which I-40 bisects. It is on the east side of Albuquerque.

If you are in the mood for something educational and historical in Albuquerque, you might want to check out the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center at 2401 12th St. N.W., Albuquerque, NM 87104.

The museum has a large vehicle parking lot that can accommodate the semi-truck, staff there say. The center depicts the story of the people who created the pueblos, American Indian settlements consisting of multistoried adobe houses.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon Osburn, skipper of The Spirit. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You also can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.