Rock Me Amarillo

i couldn’t pass through Amarillo without stopping by Cadillac Ranch. I liked how much it hadn’t changed since I shot some photos here a decade ago.
©2020 Derek Henry Flood

Amarillo- After exploring the history of terrorism in OKC and Norman, I headed for the principal city in the Texas panhandle. I didn’t plan this leg of the journey very well, or at all really. Amarillo was the last stop before my end point of Corona in rural New Mexico. I stayed in some dreadful motel pictured below. Checking in, the guy tried to shake me down for a non-existent cash deposit to which I explained to him as I booked a room on a cutting edge app, no cash would be changing hands thank you very much.

Rather than relax in the comfort of my room, I counted the hours until check out. The fact that I was the only guest made me think a homicide must’ve occurred at this place. It was only $29 a night and I was the only one foolish enough to check in. I felt such relief pulling out of the parking lot the next day. Some people were overly concerned I might not be properly social distancing while here on the road. Just look at the image below:

I was seemingly the only guest at this eery motel beside the I-40 in Amarillo. The place had three different names and there police in the parking lot looking for a suspect when I woke up and peered out of the blinds. I only stayed here because the listing for the local Days Inn-the chain I’d been frequenting since the first overnight in Virginia-implied it was adjacent a hospital so no thank you. This place was suspiciously cheap on the Hotel Tonight app for a reason.
©2020 Derek Henry Flood

Besides the mandatory stop at the iconic Cadillac Ranch I had discovered that the closing credits scene of 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed at a somewhat remote plot of land southeast of the city called Figure 3 Ranch. I’d found the semi-precise location on a fan site and Google Maps got me the rest of the way to a ‘town’ called Claude. The ranch was run by a local legend called Tom Christian. I kept reading till I stumbled on Christian’s obituary from 2018 and realised I wouldn’t be able to get past the gate to see the exact patch of land where one of my favourite childhood films was shot.

I had never known that very last shot as the characters gallup away from the Nabatean treasury in Petra wasn’t also filmed in Jordan. They must’ve wrapped the shoot and thought they needed one more bit when they got back stateside. I wondered why they came all the way here to shoot something they could’ve easily done in California where Lucasfilm is located. Nevertheless I was happy to at least have seen the entrance.

Some internet sleuthing led me to the (now closed) Figure 3 Ranch where the closing credits of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed.
©2020 Derek Henry Flood

I then drove back up to Amarillo proper and headed west out of town and popped by the aforementioned Cadillac Ranch. I was here almost exactly ten years ago and nothing had changed save for the spray paint patterns on the old car hulks playfully rotting in the sun above the soil since 1974.

A couple explores one of America’s best known roadside attractions.
©2020 Derek Henry Flood

From here I embarked on the last stretch of my Corona Highway travels toward Corona, New Mexico.