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  My second visit to the Lone Star State. Texas is the largest of the lower 48, and one of the most populous. When originally admitted to The Union, a provision was included for the division of Texas into five states. Though this provision is unlikely to ever be invoked, it is still written into law. Texas is as large, and as populous, as many substantial nations, and is just as diverse. The Panhandle is almost like a part of the Midwest, while West Texas is a parched desert. Northern sections are flat, while the South is convoluted into mountains. Central Texas has large cities, while West texas is an area of small towns. The place is a nation in miniature.

Entering Texas, at Wheeler County.

This is a semi abandoned section of what had once been Route 66. There is quite a bit of what I call Scenic Decay, on old 66, particularly in the Southwest. These roads are still well traveled in the towns; but once outside, are quite desolate, with most travelers here using Interstate 40

Downtown Shamrock.

Municipal offices in Shamrock, including the city hall. All government should be this small.

The Justice of the Peace, and courthouse, sit with the rest of the county government offices.

A bit of old Route 66, and a very well preserved bit at that.

One of the most famous and most photographed landmarks on old Route 66.  This is the old Conoco station, which houses the Dew Drop Inn.

The famous leaning water tower, and a sign directing the hungry traveler to the Blessed Mary Restaurant.

With this being Texas, and still being in the Bible Belt, the sight of the world's largest cross, should come as no surprise. Perhaps a visit to the Blessed Mary Restaurant, advertised above, would now be in order.

I am parked in front of the Texas Visitor Center. This is on the outskirts of Amarillo, near the Big Texan steak house.

An icon of Texas is the longhorn cow. Actually, this is an icon of all of the old West. Today, the ranches have Hereford cows, and the diary farmers have Guernsey cows. These new breeds have nearly all of the wildness bred out of them, and are pretty helpless without human intervention. The longhorns, on the other hand, were more than able to take care of themselves.

The landscaped entrance to the visitor center, flanked by that banner of civilized travel, the vending machine.

Inside is a bit of air conditioned splendor, a very welcome contrast to the heat of the day. Though only one rack of material is visible in this photo, there are probably a dozen different racks of brochures, magazines, maps, and guides awaiting the curious tourist.

The Big Texan, on old Route 66. This place has been a legend for decades, and is a part of the former glory of old Route 66. If you can eat their five pound steak in an hour, it is yours for free.

Inside of the Big Texan. It is early afternoon, between lunch, and dinner, and I am just about the only one here.

If you are in town, and can't  easily get to the Big Texan, the Big Texan will come and get you.

When the Interstate took over, much of old Route 66 died. Though this old gas station is only a couple of hundred feet from the main highway, and clearly visible, there is no easy access to it, and no reason to exit the highway.

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