Nothing like a random powerlifitng adventure to brighten my day.
After a night of attempted debauchery, we got a late start towards Tejas. For the record, the young lady was feeding me the peanuts and I took the hint from her male friend and only cock-blocked as much as I felt I was obligated given the situation and my gender. Besides, when the cops (sexy lady cops, I might add) kicked us out of the apartment, we went our separate ways, never to meet again.
I roused my teammate out of bed at nine, 30 minutes before his last final was over, despite the objections of a partially clothed young lady I’ve never met. She seemed incredulous that, yes, we actually were going to Texas that day.
Somewhere in Kansas we got to enjoy a Hardee’s and intermittent naps while Geoff drove and we tried to recuperate. I’m not positive the level of tactile resolution the human anus has, but I can tell you that I felt that BM in the Hardee’s bathroom in a way I never had in my life; it was a delicate operation, like stacking a house of cards at the start, followed by a greasy avalanche.
There’s really nothing to report in between Kansas and Amarillo, except for a billboard we saw for “Howe Motor Company” featuring a generic shirtless Indian brave making the ubiquitous open-handed gesture of friendship.
Since we had long missed the early weigh-in in Hereford, we decided to find a truck stop in Amarillo and score some chicken-fried steaks, gravy, eggs and sweet tea. Our waitress may or may not have been a high functioning Down Syndrome and there were a ton of quit, loitering locals sipping on coffee, two very annoying tween girls and a man so fat his ass drooped off of both sides of a bar stool, and I don’t think I need to mention truckstops are designed to accommodate large derrières.
We got in to Hereford, around 12:30 am Saturday morning. Now, I wouldn’t entirely be surprised if a town named “Hereford” had a cow or two in it. Boy, was I right. Turns out there are hundreds of thousands of cows in Hereford. Anyone who has worked on the farm around a lagoon or hog house and has felt a blast of sickly, almost syrupy manure stench slam against your face and coat your intake manifold with a thin film will know what it felt like to step out of the car anywhere in the general proximity of Hereford. I’ve never been so happy to get my hotel air conditioner on.
Owing to the aforementioned Thursday night proclivities, we left in a hurry and I left behind my laptop, directions, a charged up phone and even the address of the place we were going or when we had to be there. This struck me in the hotel when I laughed to myself in the dark and explained to my amigos “We left on this trip on a moment’s notice, no directions, no phone, no contact information, we don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know when we need to be there and the entire venture is funded on plastic.” Perfect.
Saturday morning we were hoping to find some obvious meatheads who could direct us to the meet, but none of the folks at the continental breakfast seemed like the powerlifter types. I waited a few minutes for an old man to check what must have been every single email in the entire “internets” before I gave up and sheepishly asked the desk clerk to get me directions to the YMCA. He wasn’t nearly as hot as the clerk sounded on the phone when I made my reservations.
We found the meet, next to a park where about 2,000 school aged kids were fishing in a pond that must have been the largest body of water in Deaf Smith County. Yes, that was really the name of the county, because, ya know, it was okay to give people names based on their handicaps and gross physical descriptions back then.
As we were parking the car I realized I forgot my belt along with all those other things. I really like my belt, because I spent so much money on it. It’s a fat man sized black 13mm Inzer, single prong. It really makes me feel like a man, or at least some kind of LARPer about to don a chainmail blouse when I wear it. Big thanks to Steve at the meet who not only loaned me a belt, but volunteered all day on the platform.
We checked in, payed our entries and made for the local Wal-Mart for my traditional meet sub sandwich, generic Pedialyte and sports drinks. We got back and enjoyed the rules meeting, where we enjoyed an oral treatise on making friends. I started to get cold in the middle of the meeting, even in my sweats and Missouri Southern State College stocking cap. They must have had some hella air conditioning or something because I didn’t warm up until long into the meet.
There were a small number of lifters and we really took our time. I went 8 for 9, and Kyle didn’t even make a few of his third attempts, because this was a just for funsies meet. There were long breaks in between events and a generous allowance for the fourth attempts. We didn’t get done until probably 2-3pm Saturday afternoon. We got out of town and headed for Canyon.
I think this was my second attempt 551 deadlift, met my meet PR and went up a lot faster than last time in Des Moines.
Somewhere in Canyon we saw a giant cowboy statue and got directions from a Chong impersonator at a convenience store who told us it was “45 minutes” to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Fifteen minutes later we were in the park and decided Chong may have suffered some rather severe neurochemical disturbances from years of botanical abuse.
About this time, after being on the open road and miles away from Hereford, we noticed a peculiar smell. It was us! We smelled like dogfood. Honestly, I can’t believe we didn’t attract a pack of Mongrels in Amarillo but wait till I reveal what we did attract.
Palo Duro Canyon is kind of a big deal, as far as giant gashes into the surface of the Earth go.
The canyon was awesome. We immediately stopped the car at the side of the road and hiked down to look at an old rusted hulk of a car. My two comrades scurried down eagerly, bouncing and hopping like some kind of arid climate-acclimated rodents. I, being enormous, took my time gingerly stepping down the canyon walls. Now, I’m a pretty bright guy and I’ve had a thorough introduction to classical physics and calculus, so I suppose I should have been dimly aware that the farther we traveled down the canyon, the more hellish the climb back up was going to be. In retrospect, I suppose I could have just climbed all the way down and caught the group somewhere at the bottom.
As you can see, the guys scampered right up the canyon wall after they examined the old car. I was ready to set up camp and have a Hostess Cake.
Instead, back up I went. I didn’t have any problem really, and I could have made it anywhere my friends went, I just get there slower, with more frequent stops and with exponentially more swearing. To illustrate, here’s a series of photos illustrating my trip up to what I suppose the indigenous people must have called the Vagina Shaped Cave.
Alright, cool, Vagina Shaped Cave. I guess I really can’t pass by the opportunity to explore something like that.
Man, those guys really scampered up that path. I suppose it can’t be so bad, here I go…
At this point, I’m at about 8.2 motherfucker’s per minute on the Swearing Exercise Severity Index.
Now, this is a bad picture, but this is half of a discarded package of peanut butter crackers. I’m halfway up to the labia of Vagina Shaped Cave and I’m at 28 MFs/min, which is about my top speed. My lungs are heaving like a bellows, my face is red, I’m shimmying around in ball soup and I’m seriously contemplating eating these crackers. At this point I’m also resolved that maybe some more conditioning is in order.
Alright, I’m essentially there, go me, right? You’re thinking this part of the voyage is coming to an end, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.
To get the whole story you need to know a little about me. Sure, I may be an out of shape fat guy, but I’m a fat guy with a killer attitude damn it. So when I saw some fat middle-aged dudes hiking around up here I said to myself, I need to go where they can’t go. Just because I can. So there I found myself, clinging to the edge of the rocks and dirt, hanging from the side of a treefall for dear life, just like this tenacious little plant. I shifted all my weight onto the appropriate ass cheek and snapped this picture.
So I finally got to the top, or as far as I wanted to go. In the middle of the foreground are my two companions, and somewhere along the road is the car, hidden by a juniper bush. But it’s all downhill from here baby!
Eventually, we left the canyon and we went back to Canyon (see what I did there, I juxtaposed “canyon” with a little “c” with the town “Canyon” with a big “C”) so I could look at West Texas A&M’s new pedestrian mall with the “Original Texans” buffalo statue. I’ve been around real bison, and done experimental research with their bones and the statue downplays how shitless scared I would be this close to a real mamma buff. I love their campus and how impeccably maintained their buildings looked, but I’m not sure this would have been a good school for me. It’s completely flanked by churches, no bars in sight and I might be able to pitch a stone completely across their central campus in any direction. I’m not sure that would be my cup of tea.
What a pair of mighty traps between me and Momma.
Our arrival in Amarillo was pretty uneventful. We stopped at a gas station and looked up our hotel address and I had the girl of indeterminant age at the counter give us directions. She was hot, had braces and new spot-on how to get to our hotel, through construction and all. That, friends, is one hot package and I should have invited her drinking with us. There were also a couple douchebag teens in there dressed up for prom, who I made some jib at. Then the girl at the counter said something wistful about prom and I had to say “Honey, it’s been better than half a decade since I been to prom.”
We tried to go to the Big Texan Steak Ranch because we heard they had a good bar, which from the looks of it may or may not have been true, but we were turned away because they apparently close at 10:30. We would have gotten there, but Texas has this really absurd system of roads designed to confuse out of towners and waste as much desolate land as possible. I’ve seen the thing they do where if you take an exit intending on making a left hand turn you can’t take the far left lane or it will u-turn you back where you came, so we didn’t fall for that like we have in Dallas, but they also have this thing where you take an exit to get on the interstate but the exit bifurcates and merges either onto the interstate or a suburban street, and we were inept enough to get lost in BFE Amarillo. Also, we didn’t seem to realize that Business-40 and Regular-40 have different colored signs, something I as a seasoned traveler should have known.
We wound up at I-Hop and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs and hashbrowns so quickly in my life. Maybe I should have tried the big steak that night too. I also hit on our slightly chubby african-american waitress to know avail.
Agitated and tired, I had the front desk order us a cab to “Midnight Rodeo” where a police officer lifting at the meet had assured us was the best place in Amarillo to go if we wanted to chase college girls, dance, drink and not get stabbed. We had a taxi driver who seemed like a caricature of the kind of guy you would expect to drive a Taxi in Amarillo. He was middle aged, with a long face, straight silvery hair and a low, mild voice that made everything he said sound tempered by years of quit observation and experience.
We paid a $5 cover, which pissed me off and we found ourselves in a bar that’s everything I expected it to be. No draughs, only long necks but they had Ziegenbock and Shiner. There was a circular wooden dance floor reminiscent of a NASCAR oval where the shitkickers were dancing up a storm. Up here, these Yankees won’t even dance like that at a wedding. Every Caucasian male we saw had either a mustache, a cowboy hat or both and every pretty gal had a pack of cigarettes in her pocket or one hanging off her lip.
We were pretty content to hang out in the back, watch the hotties dance, drink beer and crack jokes. Pretty much the same routine we rock up here, but we were interrupted when two girls drifted up to our table one of them started pawing on Geoffrey like a 5’5″ kitten in blue jeans. “Damn, y’all are fine as Hell” is what she told us, and with me in the group this should have been our first tip these gals might be bad news. Her friend said something about “unless we were gay” to which I responded, “Kyle over here is” which she reported was good news for her gay friend. I’m not sure he’d forgiven me yet.
Turns out they were sisters and while one of them had Geoffrey doing the Boot Scootin’ Boogey, the other went off to get booze or something so I went over to the bartender that had my tab to get some more liquor. Incidentally, the good looking older bartender at Midnight Rodeo in Amarillo doesn’t water down her 7 and 7’s I can assure you. I noticed the girls were close by but I gave them my best Thomas Crown Affair squint and tried to be aloof. Somehow we all got reacquainted, and I worked the only game I have, which is making fun of the girl and doing my best to walk the fine line between enticing and unforgivably offending (Hitler jokes usually cross the line, I’ve found) Somehow I accused the perhaps less desirable sister I’d been dancing with of being a prude, and in return got flashed a solitary titty. I figured I was golden, I was going to get laid. About this time we got a good look at the gay friend, who was old, had teeth that make a broke-mouthed donkey look like he’s got fine veneers and a faded Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt. No offense pal, but with Kyle’s pretty haircut and abs, I’m pretty sure he could do better.
I watched my Panhandle Prize, with her “Momma” tattoo on her upper arm leave with some mustchioed figure in a cowboy hat, so I figured it was time to hail a cab. Texas has another puritanical liquor law that after last call if you exit a bar you can’t reenter, so I had to stand at the threshold and corral everyone into the taxi. None of us had phones that worked, so I didn’t find out until days later that the sisters had been texting Geoff to try to get us to come hang out in Panhandle, a nearby town. I would have hit it, been proud of it and told all my friends, don’t get me wrong, but in retrospect I’m glad circumstance culled those calvies.
We went back to the hotel, worked on some rum and diet and went to sleep. The next day we rocked the lunch buffet at the Big Texan just for the novelty. I did get a plastic trinket out of the deal and our waitress was a zaftig cutie. Turns out you can also get a 60oz mug of beer, which Kyle did. He slept like a baby on the way out of town too.
We stopped in Elk City, Oklahoma and bought some sundries (read: beer), made a big ruckus in the grocery store and ogled all the hot locals.
In Emporia, Kansas they have no Sunday beer sales, and in Olathe, Kansas we missed the deadline to buy, so we didn’t have any beer to enjoy Missouri’s lack of an open container law. Looking forward to Missouri’s beer-lobby supported Libertarian liquor laws, instead we found one of the only counties in the Kansas City area with no Sunday beer sales. We raced to the next county and just missed the early deadline to buy, which I, a longtime resident, wasn’t even aware Missouri had. Thus we had to experience the Hell of returning to Iowa sober. C’est la vie.
That’s my West Texas Adventure, maybe I’ll do it again next year. Maybe one of my loyal readers will sponsor the trip, ensuring my financial liquidity and in return I’ll take more pictures and get the write-up finished sooner. Any takers?