Thursday, January 23, 2014


Due to Rufus sleeping in the van with us and becoming our morning alarm - we were up and on our way early Tuesday morning. He usually sleeps outside or in the trailer unless it is too cold or in this case too close to the train. We worried that the horns would bother him overnight.

Today's destination was El Paso. Since it was so early I wasn't sure if we would stay there or carry on to New Mexico. That's kinda how our days go - we see what we can find along the way and alter our plans accordingly. 

Highway 90 is a nice highway - quiet. Not always exciting though. Here the mountains are off in the distance.

With this type of terrain things stand out from miles away. Looks to be a blimp. Maybe for the border patrol - not sure. Guess you saw this on your way through Croft.

The mountains over towards Fort Davis. We were thinking to visit Fort Davis this year but then decided not to this year. It is a nice town but we have been there before and will probably be back this way again in the fall. Not worth the 42 mile detour this time. 

What looks to be a Pecan plantation - it went on for miles and miles.

At the intersection of the 90 and Interstate 10 is Van Horn. Only a population of 2,500 but with many many truck stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels - although most look like they are on their last legs. Instead of just stopping at the first truck stop we drove main street for a bit. A good place to stop and fuel up. In this part of Texas you really have to pay attention to your fuel gauge. There are many miles between each gas station.

Heading west out of Van Horn on the I10.

Back an hour - it's now 10:00 am. Way ahead of schedule if there was a schedule to begin with.

A nice ride and not too busy although it is a busy Interstate - lots of trucks. 
That is a talc plant on the right.

We stopped for breakfast at the last main rest area before El Paso. There were many of these long concrete supports parked there. And here they are again on the outskirts of El Paso.

We just passed a sign that the Interstate was going to be closed that night. Guess the trucks are all waiting to deliver the ramp supports. Pretty neat.

Now we can see where they are all going. 

El Paso is undergoing quite the ramp construction. I recall that they were working on this when we were through two years ago as well.

Ahhhh - taking the Interstate through El Paso. It's our third time. It actually does get easier although it was very busy today. I imagine it is probably busy most of the time. The lanes go from 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 and then back down again. I took pictures of our trip through back in February 2012

At this point, getting close to the downtown, Derek mentioned that maybe we should go take a look. Seriously? 
Although I did want to see the historic downtown of El Paso, I've never had the nerve to ask Derek to drive us there - I was expecting it to be a crazy place to get around in.
But if he was up for it - sure - let's do it!

So, here's our exit a few miles ahead. Good thing that it is well signed because according to my map exit 18 looked to be the right one. 

The interstate goes right past the downtown so once off it we were right where we wanted to be. We followed the signs to the tourist office.

We did drive around for about 10 mins to find a good parking spot. No large lots and much of the street parking was occupied. The Visitor Center signs announce free parking but we found out later that is for the parkade - that doeesn't help us much. You can see the van on the right.

We highly recommend a tour of the downtown. If you are in a RV the best place to park may be the casino we saw just outside of it and then take a taxi back - it probably wouldn't cost much. 

I caught Derek off guard - I wasn't meaning to get a picture of him - the Visitor Info Center sign. 

The ladies in the Center. They were very helpful and pointed us in the right direction to the main downtown area.

These maps are scattered around the downtown but if you stop in at the Center they'll give you your own which was very helpful.

This is the El Paso Convention Center

Lots of original buildings remain - this is the Hotel Paso Del Norte from 1912.

The Plaza Theatre from 1930.

The architect in me just loves strolling around cities looking at these buildings - the entire built landscape really. I find the central area of large cities fascinating. This is The Mills Building from 1910-1911.

Sadly, the San Jacinto Plaza was closed due to construction.

These types of buildings are just as interesting to me because they show the history and fluid nature of our built environment.

Imagine, Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot in concert in El Paso. Derek's a big fan. We checked on line but tickets range from $50 to $100. If we could have afforded three tickets we would have been tempted to come back for it, but not this time.

All this walking was making us hungry. Plus, the ladies at the Visitor Center had mentioned that there were food trucks on Mills Avenue. We LOVE food trucks.

What to do with three of them? Why, get something from each of course.

Home fries from The Reef Mobile Kitchen.

A selection of four tacos from the Korean Mexico fusion of the Takorexico Truck. Thanks Gilbert! Nice to meet you - you've got great food. Wish we could have tried everything!

Pork, beef, crispy chicken and vegetarian falafel. Yum.

And to top it off a nutella and strawberry crepe from Teresa and the Food Gallery truck. So nice to meet and talk with you Teresa, thanks again for the t-shirt offer.

With the three of us elbowing each other it didn't last long.

Continuing on our walk…..

The O.T. Bassett Tower from 1929/30.

The last stop - the El Paso Museum of Art. I was on my own - Derek and Cassia headed back to the van to check on Rufus. 

A beautiful interior but I made quick work of my look around.

A neat little shop where we parked.

Once I was back we readied the van and made our way back to the Interstate.

A few miles north and we were back off again. Our destination for the night - Walmart and Home Depot. It had been a long time since we could stock up on groceries. 

El Paso. Thanks. 

After just thinking of El Paso as a big city to get through, we were happy that we took some time to look around. Maybe next time we'll stay even longer. Although large, it is surprising easy to maneuver around and looks to have much to offer. We like how it is situated within the mountains - probably not a bad place to live. Thanks to the friendly people that we met from the visitor center ladies to the food trucks guys and gals. Take care, and hopefully we'll see y'all again next year.

Have you been and stopped in El Paso? We'd love to hear about your experience and where you like to visit there. We didn't go to the Franklin Mountains this trip but that might be a place to visit next time.

Can't help thinking about the ole Marty Robbins song - I remember travelling with my family when I was young - sitting in the front of our Dodge truck with this song playing on the eight track. Sigh.

Well, that's it for this post. We are now here at Pancho Villa State Park. Actually, I am in the Columbus Library - no wifi at the park. 

We are in New Mexico. More about the Land of Enchantment next post.


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  1. Man....why do concert tickets have to be so darn expensive! I'm remembering my first concert...Jackson Five in 1969...then it was on to the likes of Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Gloria Estefan, and last one KT Tunstall. Saw so many growing up...outdoor concert days with handfuls of bands. Glad you took the turn to much history...I'd like to have taken that tour. I want a handful of those tacos! Can't wait for the NM show! PS the title is in....truck swap this weekend!!

  2. We have passed through El Paso many times, but hard to take a 36 foot coach towing a car into the city. So thanks for the tour. Welcome to New Mexico !

  3. All too familiar trip! I worked in El Paso for three weeks last October. The pic with the Mesa St. exit is where I taught a course. Fort Davis mountains are way too cool and highway 90 is a blast. That blimp is usually up a few hundred feet in the air and tethered to the ground. You asked how long we will be in Canada? We leave home around the middle or end of April and return home in September! We will visit as many people as we can who are on our route.

    1. That's pretty neat Chris! Thanks for the info on the blimp! Glad you guys are doing a really good trip - lots of time - I wasn't sure if it was a quick trip or extended. You'll have a great time - so much to see between your place and the border and then through some amazing country up north in Canada.

  4. El Paso is a great place, and downtown looked real nice!! Those tacos--now I'm hungry for tacos!! Hmmmmm.....

    Safe Travels..............

  5. I hate to say this, but of all the times we have been in El Paso, we have never visited the Historic Downtown. As usual, you have added something to our "must do" list!

    1. Exactly Croft - we were the same - just a city to get through. Glad we did. We only had a 2 hour parking spot but a whole afternoon could be spent there - many museums etc. We recommend it.


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