New Mexico haven ‘like heaven’
We found heaven on a plate in Logan, N.M.
We were on our way back toward Ohio from Reno. For some reason, instead of keeping us on I-40, right outside of Tucumcari the GPS suggested we take 54 up through little slices of Texas and Oklahoma and into Kansas. After looking at the map and seeing we would be going through Hooker, Okla., and Liberal, Kan., I insisted we take the route. The weather was good, and it would be a change of scenery. I also love doing Facebook check-ins in places with names like Hooker, because I secretly have the mentality a 12-year-old boy. (OK, so maybe it’s not such a secret, but I needed a disclaimer.)
For those of you who haven’t traveled 54 through Northern New Mexico, it’s about as far out in the middle of nowhere as you can get and still have a road. Tons of grain and cattle haulers. You may be able to use your cell phone to scrape giant bugs off your windshield, but if you intend to make calls (or use your truck stop apps) you can hang it up. (Haha! See what I did there?)
There are a lot of tiny towns to look at (and slow progress – this isn’t a quick route, by any means), but not a lot of truck parking at restaurants. The few truck stops were more convenience store-type things, no sit-down eating. George had decided to make Texas and find a pull-off. It would be a “truck food” night.
We keep the truck stocked with basics. It’s not too hateful to eat from the cooler once in a while — it happens. It’s one of those things I’m not crazy about but can deal with.
We slowed down to roll through Logan, a little-bitty place fairly close to the Texas state line. At the far edge of town there was a light, a beacon if you will, advertising the Crossroads Family Restaurant.
Lo and behold, there was a big ol’ pull-off right in front. George made me a supremely happy woman by placing our truck directly in the pull-off and shutting it down. Neither one of us had been looking forward to eating beef-a-roni MREs. God bless the American soldier who has to eat that crap every day. Fills the belly but does absolutely nothing for the soul.
It was 6:40 p.m. The sign on the door said “Open from 7-7.”
“They’re not going to be happy to see us.”
“Probably not. We’ll order it to-go.”
We were greeted at the door by a young waitress.
“Hey, if it’s too late to sit down, we’ll be glad to order to-go.”
“No, no! Sit down. It’s fine. Sit wherever you like.”
The front table in the little dining room was occupied with four gentlemen and a lady. One guy in particular was clearly holding court.
“You can sit anywhere but on my lap.” He pointed at me. “Except for her, she can sit anywhere she wants.”
George chose a table and pulled the chair out for me.
“I think we’ll be fine over here, thank you, sir.”
We were being cool. As the outsider, you just never know if someone is pulling your leg or antagonizing you so they can soak you in gasoline and set you on fire. We’ve been in some really small towns that were a little scary — it’s always best to tread lightly until you know if the natives are friendly.
“I’m just kiddin’ with ya, have a seat and order what you like. We’ll feed ya’.”
George relaxed and started his “magic George speak.” He can talk to anyone. I attribute this to his Dad being Air Force and him moving around a lot when he was growing up. He never says anything weird, it’s amazing. I usually remain quiet and let him make friends for us.