At 8:00 a.m., the sun still shining in my eyes, I slowly came to realize that I had driven over 300 miles to see a big fiberglass bird. But, you know, I wouldn't bother if I didn't love this stuff.
His name is Paisano Pete and he's the largest roadrunner in the world. At 10 feet tall and 22 feet long, this guy is a challenge to even the most resourceful coyote.
Pete is unarguably one of the most recognizable roadside attractions in the southwest. Family after family stop to grab a snapshot with Fort Stockton's feathered friend, and every other household in Texas has a picture somewhere of the kids standing at his feet.
The endless, camcorder-wielding tourists, incidentally, make for a continuous stream of sharp-witted remarks, such as the ever-popular "My, now that is a big bird," and the inspired "My. Now, that is a big bird." But Pete doesn't complain. From certain angles, he actually appears to like the attention.
Sure, he has no animatronics. He doesn't talk or pluck a huge rubber worm from the ground at the top of every hour. He offers no historical or educational significance. But he's darned big. And in the end, that's all that matters.