To Sunray and Back

September 7, 2009


In all the hullaboo of the past couple of weeks, I have yet to give you a proper travelogue of my trip to Sunray, Texas. This is my attempt to do so now.

For those of you (like me until I actually arrived there) that do not know where Sunray is, it is a small town of approximately 1500 people about an hour North of Amarillo. It is quite a drive (took me 8 hours to get there, 7 hours to get back). And the sights I saw would blow your minds.

The GPS decided to send me through the wastelands North of the Red River, turn west in the horrible pile of smoldering buildings that used to be called Oklahoma City, and turn North once I hit Amarillo. It was an interesting experience. I got stopped by the border guard. They seemed nice enough people, bravely defending our nation from the roving bands of hippies and other sub-human scum that populate Those United States. Driving through the 5-mile wall was an haunting experience. Pitch darkness surround you, with the occasional crush, rotting bodies of those who did not escape the concrete pouring peeping out. WinStar Casino survived by forming a thick glass dome around their property before King Norris ordered the creation of the border wall, for those of the gambling persuasion. They even hired mole people to do all their outdoor services (valet services, parking lot lawn care, dome repair, washing mangled bits of human flesh off of visitors’ cars, et cetera). Most people probably would not notice the difference.

I am relatively happy to report that the Wasteland is attempting to at least restore the semblance of civilization they had going before they were accidentally nuked by Those United States. Unfortunately, they think civilization is measured in highway repair efforts. I drove through 4 different highway repair zones in my brief time in the Wasteland. Then again, the billboards tell a story that the denizens of the Wasteland had little idea what civilization was in the first place. Ads for this one Ham Sandwich joint peppered the first hour across the border. Once I got past the Ham Sandwich place, billboards for various tourist traps (casinos, drive-thru safaris, an action figure museum) showed that the Wasteland had little of value to offer. Kind of sad, when you think about it.

But still, the mutants that inhabit the wasteland still take legal tender and not crave the flesh of men, so it could be worse.

The effort I had to exert to get back into the Kingdom of Texas was much greater than the effort it took to get out, as one would expect. I’m not allowed to divulge all of the tasks one had to perform to prove one’s allegiance to the great Kingdom of Texas (we are trying to keep to riff-raff out), some of the things I am allowed to list (to try and scare out would-be trespassers) are:

  • Gargle 50-alarm chili.
  • Hit a target with a long arm whilst blindfolded.
  • Perform a bone-shattering roundhouse kick on a captured mutant.
  • Rip a mutant’s heart out without killing it and feed the organ to it.
  • Survive 5 minutes in an artificial black hole and then escape.

I got through, filled up the car, and continued on my way.

I got to see the largest cross in North America from the highway and passed by a place advertising a free 72 ounce steak (so those places you here about actually do exist). The Texas panhandle is a sparsely populated, hilly prairie; there is not much to see.

I had a nice visit with the parents. Apparently, Mom is cooler than I am (she has an iPhone, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account). They say one dies a little when ones discovers that one’s parents are cooler than one is; I think I had some hair follicles dissolve. Dad seems content with semi-retirement, having given up the lousy Wal-Mart job to work as a teacher’s aid for the school district. And R Lee Ermey hates gum balls but loves to paint with machine guns.

I pseudo-ignored the suggested route on my way back to Denton. My mouth had not yet healed up from the 50-alarm chili, which is so hot that Yankees would burst into flames at the mere smell of it, and did not wish to try again while healing up from the experience. The guards said King Norris is the only one able to consume it without being at least somewhat burned by the fiery dish. So, I stayed in Texas throughout my trip back. It drove my cheap GPS a little crazy, but it eventually found the right track.

I got to drive though Bowie, thus completing my efforts to at least visit all the cities that NCTC has a campus in. I also got to see the empty space that supposedly holds the mythical city of Decatur. They say that if you arrive in the actual city, you are vaporized by the giant, laser-shooting robo-ants that guard the recipe to “Texas Tea” (which is the source of all things Texan). It’s not exactly a recommended tourist spot, if you get my drift.

All in all, a good trip.

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