Phoenix to El Paso

This has got to be the smoothest start we have had in all of our trips so far.  By 7:30AM we were pulling out the driveway with everything accounted for except a bag for the dirty laundry.  Can’t have everything, and that wasn’t a show stopper, so off we went.

Wanting to see as much of the local stuff without losing too much time, we opted to take the 60 and the 70 to Lordsburg, New Mexico, then connect to the 10 to El Paso.  What a great plan!  Most of the road had no traffic, and it no time at all we were in open, big sky territory.  I could have sworn that the bird I saw flying above us in the Pinal Mountains was a bald eagle – white head, yellow band, incredible wingspan.  Driving along the 60 has its moments, in that it is similar to driving through a time warp.  Many of the towns are small (although the Post Office was prominent on each main drag).  Houses border the road.  Superior was sad in all the businesses that were closed, with the ghost of quirkiness and a fun attitude while they were in their heyday.  Globe was large and well established.  Pima was the most prim and proper of the group – lots of cotton fields oblivious of the drought being discussed across the nation.  One note to the traveller – if you have to, by all means, avoid using the rest areas in Superior and Bylas.  Live cockroaches and less than sanitary conditions will make the staunchest camper go to a field and dig a hole, enough said.

In Superior we had switched driving roles, so I was at the helm when we made it to Lordsburg, which wasn’t what I expected.  Got a quick bite at the Arby’s in the Pilot Gas Station, and gassed up.  I had a hunch that the main attractions were on the road parallel to the 70 and perpendicular to the 10, but by then we had realized that we lost an hour due to the time zone and we would need to get hopping to make it to El Paso during daylight.

Blue mountains on the horizon are such a soothing sight for me.  There was more than enough of them – from the Superstition to the Pinal, Santa Teresa and the Gila, and Pyramid Peak, I was driving on a ribbon through heaven.  The sky exhaled small puffs of clouds that spotted the terrain with shadows.

Traffic was still moving, albeit a little heavier, when we crossed the state line to Texas.  A quick stop at the Visitor Center (and bless them for clean bathrooms!), picking up a few maps and enjoying a nice chat with the employees, off we went to El Paso.  I was quite surprised with how urban it is.  All walks of life, an unlimited choice of restaurants, and a really varied city structure.  We passed through Franklin Mountains State Park and saw where Mexico, New Mexico and Texas all meet – gorgeous, even though the visibility was on the hazy side.  Scenic Drive was a surprise – it had the look and feel of an Italian mountain road, scenery included.  Some swank houses hugged the hills, some complete with cypress and stone architecture.  We ended up on the UTEP campus, quietly smug with its pristine new buildings.

Dinner was at the local microbrewery Jaxon’s.  Loved the Jack Stout and Chihuahua Brown brews.  Denny devoured his steak sandwich.  I loved the potato chile soup, but the fajita salad was a poor imitation.  A slow sunset on the Mexican border closed down the night.

Tomorrow – a  longer drive to San Antonio.

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