I begun a week-long escape from July in Joklahoma with an eleven-hour haul from Bartlesville to Pueblo, Colorado.
I took the Dodge City route, but having suffered through the tourist trap there before, today I made only a brief stop in the Hispanic portion of Dodge for a rather authentic Mexican meal at Tacos Jalisco. I ordered their Carne Asada plate and added a side of queso…and the puzzled lady at the counter offered me some grated cheese instead of the queso dip I was expecting. I began to wonder if I’d made the right choice – my original target had been the old El Charro restaurant for some Tex Mex, but they were closed. What had I gotten myself into?
But while Tacos Jalisco had never heard of queso dip and their version of a Carne Asada was tiny chopped bits of steak, it was quite tasty and joined by an absolutely enormous homemade flour tortilla. I almost burned my fingers tearing it apart to form three wraps. Everyone but me in the entire joint was Hispanic and the food was cheap and good, although as I drove by Boot Hill, snapping a shot of a street sign, I noticed my tongue was feeling rather hot. So I stopped at a Dairy Queen to cool down my burning mouth with a dipped cone and headed on westward for the dreaded feed lot gauntlet.
Anyone who has suffered along the highways of southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado knows what I caught a strong whiff of at regular intervals as I poked my way through one little prairie town after another. My tummy rumbled with each breath, and I’m pretty sure I heard it gurgling the words “Tacos Jalisco” every so often.
The only real standout town was Greensburg, Kansas. It was wiped out in a tornado in May 2007. They’ve rebuilt much of it with brand new buildings and streets, although I didn’t care for the overdone streetlights. Several facilities had large windmills for power. Greensburg has certainly gone green in some ways. Its appearance is a stark contrast to the dilapidated struggling towns that dot the rest of the highway.
I rolled into Pueblo, which was rather quiet and sleepy today with little traffic. I drove past downtown and by an enormous and sadly quiescent steel factory to reach my Microtel. After checking in and collapsing on the bed for a bit, I ventured back out to drive a loop around some of the major streets of the south side, debating where to dine. I stepped into one recommended Italian joint, but it was cramped and crowded (despite the nearly empty streets outside) and the pizza didn’t look at all appetizing to my abused stomach. So I gave up and went to a Furr’s cafeteria where I could pick out some nice bland dishes – and got what I expected. ‘Nuff said.
There was still enough daylight to venture downtown, where I found many railroad tracks and a river that has been converted into a tourist ditch, er, Riverwalk much like the one in Oklahoma City. But at least their ditch/river opens out in a spot where they’ll rent you a paddleboat. I always loved paddleboats, but the area was almost deserted and I knew it would be better to save it for Tuesday lunch.
For the first time ever, I didn’t edit and upload today’s photos from my netbook, but instead imported them into the iPad where I used the Photogene app to edit them and the FlickStackr app to upload them. I enjoyed editing with the iPad and the Flickr upload went okay, but I had to break out the netbook to organize the upload set to my liking. So I went ahead and used the netbook for this blog post. The iPad is great for consumption and good for some bits of production, but the touch interface has severe limitations with online services that aren’t built to use it.
Tomorrow I’ll tour around the downtown area and have lunch there, and then hit the road for the Wolf Creek Pass on the Continental Divide and a short hike to Treasure Falls before falling down the western slope to Pagosa Springs.
For those tracking this adventure, here’s the Google Map.