Originally published 14 February, 2014
Prada and motorhomes. Valentine, Texas
Another 348 miles under us today. We got up, had a bite to eat, and headed to the car wash! The motorhome had a coat of grime and salt on it from our trip down here. Every time I would touch it I had to wash my hands. And all that salt doesn't help either. Best to get rid of it...and we did. Not a fine tooth comb cleaning...just enough to get the crud off of it. After about 40 minutes at the car wash (this thing ain't small), we put the truck on the tow dolly and headed down the road.
We head out of Marfa and we're about 20 miles down the road, and I see something in the distance......and I said to Laurie...."is that a blimp?" We got closer and I told her that I knew what it was........I had seen one in the Keys several years ago. It was a tethered radar balloon. They put it way up in the air...like 15000 feet. At this altitude, it gives radar coverage of a couple hundred miles. They're really handy for tracking drug planes.......and where it's located, in west Texas, I'm sure that's exactly what it's used for. We snapped a pic from a safe (i.e. won't get arrested) distance and got back on the road.
Happy Valentine's day from Valentine, Texas!
We went a few miles.....and headed into the next wide spot in the road...and it hit me. This would be a great place for a picture! It's valentine's day....and we're in Valentine, Texas! (Population 217) So a quick stop and we headed west again. For about 5 miles.
Prada Marfa (Actually in Valentine, TX)
We had planned stopping at this place. It's actually an art installation....it's in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from the nearest city. It's a Prada store. It has shoes, purses, and all that Prada stuff.....but none of it is for sale. The store isn't open. It's just for looks. I did think that two of the most different things in the world were Prada...next to the motorhome. So I made sure we got a pic of that! Then back on the road.
To show the irony of Prada Marfa, it looks like this in both directions.
It is a LONG way between things here. After leaving Marfa, it was 74 miles to the next fuel. After that, it was a long way to El Paso. We fueled....and we el passo'd through. It's a much bigger city than I thought, with a population a little less than Charlotte. The border fence was actually visible from the interstate....and it's tall. It's a very stark comparison...you look to your left, over top of the border fence into Mexico. El Paso has all the normal things we are accustomed to, like Home Depot, McDonalds, Kohls, Target....and Juarez has none of these.
Speed limit 80!!!!
Juarez, the city across the border from El Paso, has a murder rate that is off the chart...but down from years past. 2010 had over 3000 murders in Juarez alone, while 2012 only had 750. Almost all murders are drug and cartel related. In contrast, El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States for it's size. In 2012, they had something like a dozen or so murders. That's a pretty big difference. Juarez is also known as the worst place to cross the border into Mexico. Period. We passed.
Clowning around in Texas
We headed into New Mexico and after a bit more travel...we wound up in something I did not expect on a major interstate highway. We went through a border patrol checkpoint. All lanes from the interstate are routed through checkpoints, one for cars and one for trucks. I chose trucks as we are so big. Just as you approach the booth, you roll through a bunch of sensors and such set up along the road. We pulled up, and the border patrol officer said "Are all occupants United States citizens?" I replied, "Yes, we are." He told us to have a nice day and waived us through. Back down the road we go.
Border patrol checkpoint
Welcome to New Mexico!
We finally arrive in our next destination, Silver City, New Mexico. We have dinner in a diner in town that is stuff to the gills with locals. It had been there for over 50 years...and there's a reason for that. We had a simple, but great dinner....with fresh sopapillas! Ya gotta love the southwest.
Sensor array at the border checkpoint. These are on both sides of the road.
Tomorrow, we head to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Laurie has looked forward to this...so she's excited! More tomorrow!
Quote of the day-
"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." - Flaubert
Note: In the West Texas desert, you feel tiny indeed.
Song of the day-
Free and easy down the road I go- Dierks Bentley
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I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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