The mega Cross in Groom Texas

This Mega Cross belonging to “Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries” is located directly between I-40 and Route 66 in Groom Texas, is impossible to not see from either. That said, even as a Jew, the artistry of some of these things tends to impress me… whoever did this installation was actually pretty gifted, and has a tongue in cheek sense of humor, that I have got to wonder if the owners of the property who paid for it actually get.

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According to Atlas Obscura, this is the seventh-largest ‘freestanding’ cross in the world (at 190 feet)… so pretty frigging big. Like I’ve said before at other Catholic “Station of the Cross” tourist traps, Jews just don’t do shit like this… cause you know… the fourth commandment and all that good stuff.

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What I found kind of interesting was that at the base of the statue of Jesus on the cross, people had left engraved bits of stone

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As a Jew we place stones on graves, is this somehow related to that?

At the bottom of the hill is the last supper… And for reasons beyond me, into the dish from which Jesus is supposed to have lifted the bread, people were placing money

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surrounding the ginormous cross are the stations of the cross…. all of them impressive bits of work

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But what finally made me decide that I have to pat the artist on the back was the view as I walked towards the building with the gift store…. you don’t really get the full impact from a distance. Standing near the cross it’s just looks really pretty and inviting… but as you walk towards it, the impact hit me like a ton of bricks, so hard that it actually made me uncomfortable. I took a step back, looked again, and SURE enough I was damned sure the effect was intentional

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From about this position (and I’m not sure the photo does it justice) it looks like you’re looking between a woman’s legs into her vagina ….which is a paradise of gushing waters with the cross as her clitoris

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The alignment staying true even as you walk closer… wondering if Jesus is the G-spot

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… and note the placement of the huge phallic symbol. I’m sorry but there’s no way a professional artist did any of this by accident…. talk about the ecstatic moment of Christ’s love….

And of course inside you find a massive gift shop….

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Even the bathroom art made me giggle nervously… Seriously who was the artist and HOW in Christs name did he or her manage to convince the the folks footing the bill to allow any of this? Or were they THIS oblivious?

My ex-boyfriend who I was with in college …who my parents assumed would be the son-in-law, his mom was a painter who worked mostly in watercolors and used to do a lot of flowers along with Japanese inspired images (in spite of being Korean which I always found interesting). Anyway, my mom felt that she had to support this woman’s endeavors (since she might soon be family) and asked her to bring over some stuff that my mom could buy from her. I told her my mom liked flowers, so she brought a lot of those, and my mom looked through the pile, focusing ultimately on one image that she said called to her, but she wasn’t sure why. That’s the one she wanted….

I looked at my dad, who looked knowingly at me… and we both looked at Mrs Cha (my boyfriend’s mom), who was trying to smile. We all knew what she was drawn to even if she didn’t. Of ALL the images my mom had opted for the one with a massive phallic symbol in the middle. People do this all the time… artists know exactly what they’re looking at but the naive don’t see the hidden sexual messages in the art. THAT is what was going on here.

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These dish towels made me giggle

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I horrified this one nice southern lady by pointing out the art she was oggling (see above) because of what it cost for what it was, had to have been made in China. I’m serious, she dropped it like it was anathema, saying, “Oh you MUST be wrong, they wouldn’t sell that here.”… so I picked it up, turned it over and quickly found the “Made in China” mark… and showed it to her. Keep in mind almost all of these folks are the Pro-Trump, Make America Great sort.

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And then there was a movie theater showing a movie talk

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Restored 1929 Route 66 Gas Station : McLean, TX

Not only is this a restored 1929 gas station, but apparently, this was very the first “Phillips 66” brand gas Station In Texas.IMG_0311.jpg

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IMG_0320.jpgIMG_0313.jpgOne thing I found kind of odd was that while other restored stations along the route had glass windows and you could see inside, this one had boarded up windows that were painted to look like glass.

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That said, I found both the poverty and the politics of this town to be more than a little bit disturbingIMG_0316.jpg

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THIS in particular gave me the heebeejeebees….

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With emphasis on “the civilized world” …. WTF? SERIOUSLY?

Highly impressive rest stop: Mclean, Texas

I was on the opposite side of I-40/historic 66 headed in the wrong direction when I spotted this, but I had to stop and take a picture. It’s a rest stop that’s embedded into the side of the hill.

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What caught my eye was the beauty of its construction, but now that I’m reading up on it’s designed this way in order to function as a Tornado shelter (this being Tornado Alley)

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Blarney Stone: Shamrock, Texas

I kissed the Blarney stone… have I become more eloquent? In Shamrock Texas’ Blarney Stone plaza, SUPPOSEDLY, they have a small piece of the ORIGINAL Blarney Stone that at some point got knocked off of the main back in Blarney Castle: BlarneyIreland.  Only thing is it’s never been verified, so …

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They’ve encased the thing in a massive piece of concrete to keep it from being stolen

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VW Slug Bug Ranch: Panhandle, TX

Another Route 66 artwork is the VW Slug Bug Ranch, which is just east of Amarillo, in Panhandle Texas. This piece is sort of the baby brother of the much more famous Cadillac Ranch, which I was at a few days ago.]

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Unlike the Cadillac Ranch which was built by a well known art group, and funded by a multimillionaire,

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There was no one there to help me, and I was having a hell of a time finding a place to put the phone where it wouldn’t fall over… 

no one knows for sure WHO built this, or even for sure who owns the Bug Ranch. And unlike it’s more famous brother, almost no one bothers to come to see this one… only one other person was there when I visited.

The technically named, Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas

The Midpoint Cafe stands one what is supposed to be exactly on the midpoint of route 66,  so that it is located 1139 miles from the route’s original endpoints in LA and Chicago (initially I was wondering WHICH endpoints on which date… since we already know that on the LA end it’s been moved a few blocks, but Wikipedia says the endpoint when it was first constructed in 1928).

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The cafe has had many owners and names over the years, but according to Wikipedia, once the bi-passed towns began to organize themselves to try to put Route 66 back on the map…

“The president and founder of the U.S. Route 66 Association called me one day. He said, ‘Kid, you better do something because you are at the midway point of Route 66. You need to change that name.’”— Fran Houser, former owner of the Adrian Café

That said, I was DEEPLY impressed with the efforts they’ve made to drive home that point.
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directly across the street from the cafe I was able to take this photograph, ALL BY MYSELF… no one there to help me… how you ask?

THIS is how

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What you’e looking at is essentially a camera stand placed so as to give you the perfect framing for you photographs. You put your camera here, set the timer and run over to the sign and wallah, a perfect photo. (Of course I didn’t run, I used the count down mechanism I can trigger on my apple watch)

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Same stand photographed from the other side so you can see the bright white line proving the point yet again, that the restaurant sits at the midpoint

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In fact all its missing is a line down the middle of the floor

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unimpressive gift shop, but I was tempted….

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I didn’t eat here, so I can’t give a food review… while it all looked very tasty, there was nothing on the menu that was even remotely healthy. It consisted of things like grilled baloney sandwiches and pie… what I would describe as comfort foods for people who grew up in 50’s.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch is one of those classic American public art works that everyone has seen in pictures, and of course its been on my list of things to see in person. The fact that it was cold and VERY wet and muddy, kind of added to the fun

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Finding this was a little bit problematic. My GPS for my car had no idea where it was, and the address I had for it, the program didn’t recognize… but, as I was on I-40 there was internet, so Google maps to the rescue. It’s located between two off-ramps, so I took the one to the west of it, which brings you to a gas station. There I found a plethora of folks who had just come from there (and not one group of them either). I talked to a couple in the car parked next to me, and they assured me I was in the right place and it was about a half mile down the road and I couldn’t miss it because of how many cars were parked there.

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In something I had read on one of the travel sites I had referenced before starting my Route 66 trek, a writer had warned that if it’s wet, the mud becomes like tar and almost impossible to get off your shoes afterwards. For the last four years I’ve been schlepping around a pair of rubber boats for JUST such an occasion (and yes this does mean I had the boots in my car back in 2016 in Canada at the boat graveyard when the muck had actually pulled my shoes off my feet, only I’d forgotten they were there).

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Although some folks opt to take their shoes off and just kind of go for it… like this girl did… but it was raining and 48 F, what WAS she thinking…

IMG_9987It turned out this was a very good thing because in order to access the site you have to go through this gate, and because everyone takes a fairly similar path to the site, the ground is lower along the path and fills up with water, becoming a bog it’s very difficult to avoid stepping into, especially if like me you’re not sprightly.

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Over the years the piece has become interactive, not just with the elements, but also with the viewers, which is tacitly encouraged by the artist who created (aka the permanently  unlocked gate).

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People bring cans of paint to use, but most times don’t use all of it and leave behind half used cans for the next person…

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although others will come through from time to time looking for the empty cans and disposing of them.

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One foot in the air dripping muddy water

2nd Amendment Cowboy in Amarillo Texas

Why yes, I’m in Texas. This big guy stands right on route 66, in front of a small gift shop (with an unimpressive collection of things I’ve seen 100 times already) that visitors to the Cadillac Ranch from Amarillo have no choice but to pass, and also functions as the check in office for a small RV park.

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See the black box hanging from the fence?
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See the guy sitting in the car? He doesn’t look happy

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Remember that black box hanging from the fence in the picture above? I managed to sit my iPhone on that, leaning it back against the fence, walked over the spot, and then used my Apple watch’s camera app to trigger a three-second countdown… I was seriously impressed with myself.

The Helium Time Monument in Amarillo Texas

Why yes, I’m a geek. What’s your point? It’s a statue of the Helium molecule that’s located next to a Don Harrington discovery center that was closed by the time I got there. (It closes at 4:30, on a Saturday!!!?????? This is a Science museum in a major city… WTF?)

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It’s a sun-dial, but it was rainy, windy and overcast

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By visiting it I learned something I had not known, Amarillo is the Helium capital of the world… who knew?

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