US 70, Day 3: Clovis, NM - Ardmore, OK
Forgot to mention my mileage for yesterday -- I drove 353 miles, for a total of 945. These distances include all side trips, noodling around town, etc., so it's going to be more than the road mileage.
Both New Mexico and Texas use horizontal overhead traffic lights exclusively. The only vertical one I saw was in a construction zone. Although I didn't see any on this trip, Texas will use "Signal Ahead" symbol signs with the signal horizontal on the sign.
On the NM/TX border is Texico, one of the many bi-named border towns in the country. At least they didn't call it New Mexas.
Right at the Texas border, US 60 splits away from US 70 again. US 70 and 60 met back at Globe, where US 70 ends. There's also a busy triple railroad track at the border. The border itself is just marked by a "Texas State Line" sign. Further on, there's a very worn stone Texas-shaped monument. And finally, there's a giant Texas-sized "Welcome to Texas" sign. Along with the other legal notices at the border, there's a sign giving the maximum speed limits. "Manufactured houses and house trailers" are restricted to 55mph at all times. All other vehicles are 70 day/65 night.
This part of the country has hundreds of miles of farms and ranches. It's America's bread basket and beef brisket. Giant central-pivot irrigation booms water wide areas, creating the round fields you can see from the air. Giant grain elevators are all over. There's also a handful of oil wells in a few areas.
US 70 crosses I-27 and US 87 at Plainview. Although US 87 (at least according to my atlas) diverges from I-27 in a few places, it follows the freeway in Plainview. The old route of US 87 is now Business I-27.
I had a late lunch at a Dairy Queen in Paducah. At Vernon, US 70 joins the US 287 expressway briefly. It's almost a freeway, but has a few crossover points.
Texas doesn't use standard mileposts for its US routes. Instead, TxDOT puts a reassurance marker with a tiny green plate giving the mileage every four miles. The ones on the opposite side are staggered, so there's a marker every two miles.
US 70 crosses the Red River on a new bridge. The old 1938 bridge still stands next to it. They're both about a mile long, but the old bridge is lower and narrower. Not that a big bridge is needed right now. Due to a drought, it's more like a red puddle. After crossing, US 70 turns to parallel the river.
US 70 intersects I-44 (Turner Turnpike) in a deserted area. Other than calling it "Turnpike", there's no mention of it being toll.
Ringling, OK has a circus-themed "Welcome" sign.
Coming into Ardmore, US 70 becomes four lane divided again. Instead of totally rebuilding the road, old sections are incorporated into one side or the other. So one side is narrow and rolls up and down the hills, while the other is wide and goes straight through cuts and over fill.
At I-35, US 70 joins it for about two miles to bypass Ardmore. US 77, on the other hand, goes through. US 77 has a strange dual-dual setup. It's a four-lane divided highway, and has a two-lane two-way frontage road on either side. This leads to a really complicated traffic signal at Grand Ave., with both the main highway and both directions for each frontage road having their own signals. To bring a little sanity to it, rights from the main road and lefts from the frontage roads across the main road are prohibited.
The only motor courts I could see looked really seedy, so I stayed at a modern Days Inn along I-35. I drove 412 miles today, for a total of 1357.
Next day: 8/27
Previous day: 8/25
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