Given that we had successfully hitchhiked far further than we had thought we could on the first day, we took this opportunity to sleep in. We packed up at a very relaxed pace, and at 9:00am, headed out towards the city centre. Emily was dying to eat some Texan ribs, which was why we did not proceed straight to Trinidad yesterday. It was an early lazy Sunday morning, and we assumed that most people were at home or at church given that few cars were on the road. We found a place on the side of the ring road around Amarillo where we sat for a couple hours. Eventually, with the lack of traffic and the goal to make it to Colorado that day, we called an Uber to take us to a rib place. It was closed, so the driver kindly took us to a place he knew was open.
Within minutes of ordering, we finally were woken up to the fact we were now in Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas was the mantra we had heard throughout our lives, and we experienced it as we stared wide eyed at the absolutely massive 1lb burger that appeared in front of each of us. We saw a sign on the road before advertising a “Free 72oz steak” at Big Texan (only if you finish it within the hour with all the sides- otherwise it costs USD $72), and it really didn’t hit us how big that must be after we saw this burger. (For our non-American readers, 72oz is the equivalent of 4 and a half pounds, or four and a half times of the burger we were staring at…) It was truly daunting, and we ate a tiny portion of our food before packing it for takeout.
We had no problems walking around town looking for a ride after that, since we felt bloated and wanted to burn off our meal. Shortly after standing on the side of the road, a white pickup truck pulled over. After starting his car with a breath analyser, the driver told us about the American prison system and how prison had reformed his life (he is now on parole), he also told us how Amarillo is one of the most dangerous cities in Texas because of the amount of criminals that live there as a result of the many prisons around the city. Apparently, that is also the reason people are weary to pick up hitchhikers. On this bright sunny day, we didn’t feel the threat at all, and had a very pleasant conversation with him as he brought us around 50 miles to Dumas. At Dumas, we were dropped off at a gas station, and as we waited for a car, a couple cars pulled over and offered to donate us money. Laurent accepted USD $20 from someone who apologized that he was going in the other direction than our sign. After not too long, a woman opens her minivan, and we loaded ourselves on just in time before the rain got too serious.
sitting between McDonald’s wrappers, this second drive gave us a particular good view of the flat Texan countryside. We saw grain elevators and storage houses and cattle ranches. Our driver told us that we got really lucky with the weather, since the week before the temperature soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and was to return to that heat the following week. We got to enjoy the 80-90 degree weather in the meantime. She dropped us off another 50 miles down the road at a gas station, and waited with our signs. A number of people rolled down their windows and apologized that they didn’t have any space in their car. Eventually, one of the cars that was parked at the restaurant motioned for us to hop in, and he brought us all the way to Colorado Springs in his fancy massive red pickup truck. He offered to buy us dinner and introduce us to his mother-in-law who would be able to point us in the direction of a place to stay, but at the last moment, literally as we turned into the driveway of the restaurant, an unexpected intervention over the phone from his wife (she must have heard about us from her mother-in-law, who called 10 minutes before) scared of two hitchhikers meant that we were suddenly left scrambling for a place to stay. Instead of a free meal he could only offer us a pack of beef jerky. Shame that there is such a distrust of hitchhikers. We looked into some of the motels along the side of the road, but they either had no vacancy or cost upwards of USD $70 a night. So frustrating.
Colorado has a law against hitchhiking on interstate roads, and we struggled to find a place to stand in the dark that was suitable for drivers to pull over. We gave up after a few minutes because of the rain and inability to find a place. As we huddled under a roofed entrance of a motel, we finally got the good news we were not expecting but hoping for: one of the people we wrote to on Couchsurfing accepted. We literally jumped in joy, and called an Uber to take us to LaToya’s place. Two very excited pitbulls wagged their tails when they saw us, and LaToya made us feel at home and showed us unbelievable hospitality. Unfortunately, we were both very tired and had to go to bed soon, and were glad that we would be able to get to know her better during the next morning.