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Cielo Vista

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  • Day56

    Day 56 - HELL Paso

    June 16, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    We had an undisturbed sleep, despite the presence of so many ghosts in Tombstone. Apart from my reading glasses snapping!

    By 9.30am we were ready & back on the road. We continued east on the Arizona 80 to the mining town of Bisbee. It was dead, as if everyone was still sleeping in from the night before. The town was quaint, but we might have felt slightly out of place if we had stayed here. The whole town was decked out in Rainbow 🌈 Flags. Just south of Bisbee was the impressive Copper Mine, where there was a Viewpoint for us to stop at.

    On we went to Douglas, then headed north, still on the Arizona 80 to Road Forks. This road was virtually straight (unlike Bisbee) & virtually traffic free. The road was 81 miles long, through a rocky desert & it felt like you were genuinely in the middle of nowhere. Jackie was convinced that we could get murdered & never be found. We weren’t!

    On this stretch, which crossed into the State of New Mexico, we saw our 3rd Coyote which was on the roadside, but had slunk away before I could train my camera on it; then we saw a Roadrunner, but when I stopped a car appeared forcing me to move on without a photo. Finally a pair of Turkey Vultures munching on dead rabbit even evaded me by flying off every time I raised my camera, then only returning as I drove off.

    The only thing of note was a Monument commemorating the Surrender of Geronimo on 4th September 1886 in nearby Skeleton Canyon. Geronimo had surrendered several times previously, always escaping shortly after, but on this occasion he agreed to the surrender terms. He was in fact the last American Indian Warrior to surrender to the United States & this finally ended the Apache - US conflict.

    At Road Forks, we picked up Interstate 10 again, but came off at Lordsburg for water at the petrol station, then McDonalds for an iced coffee. It felt decidedly rough, mainly Mexicans & long distance lorry drivers. We didn’t hang about, but continued east.

    There was nothing to see on this road, but sign after sign warning us of the risk of dust storms & advice on what to do. They warned that in the event of a dust storm we could encounter zero visibility & we should pull over on to the hard shoulder & wait until it passed. We didn’t encounter a dust storm, just the odd dust devil, which was just as well as we had the top down.

    We passed by Deming to Las Cruces, where sadly I’d forgotten that we needed to seek out the jail where Billy the Kid was housed. The Interstate than headed south towards El Paso, but for no apparent reason the SatNav took us off on the 404 to Chaparral, not sure if it was ‘High’. It was actually a pleasant route, then we headed south on the 213 & over the State Border into Texas.

    We stopped at a Walmart for bottles of water & new ‘peepers’, then continued into El Paso for a look round. We headed for the city centre & drove past the Holocaust Museum, History Museum & the baseball ground called Southwest University Park. It was busy because fans were arriving for a game & resulted in us having a row about whether I should take photos or concentrate on my driving.

    By now it was 6.00pm, we had skipped forward an hour, so we decided to sort out our accommodation for the night. I found an absolute bargain on Booking.com, which was just a couple of miles away, but the SatNav was saying it would take 75 minutes to get there. It was in Mexico!

    Our next selection looked rough, so we tried again & chose Extended Stay America near El Paso Airport. It looked ok from the outside & was cheap, so we booked it on-line. The receptionist who had been smoking outside the back door had a series of forms for us to fill in, mainly deeming us liable to a $250 charge if we smoked within 100 feet of the motel!!

    Instead of dropping off our rucksacks, we went straight out to see what food was available nearby. We ended up at the Corner Bakery Cafe, where we both had very acceptable bowls of pasta & lemonade. After, we returned to our motel & parked our ‘inconspicuous’ car close to the stairwell. The stairwell was a disgrace, with dustbins, not just overflowing, but hidden by stinking bags of rubbish & there were fag butts everywhere.

    Our room is large, but the beds were hardly made, the sheets definitely hadn’t been ironed & there were bits on the floor. Luckily we have an end room, so there is no walkway outside our window, but the windows must be single glazed, because we can hear every noise outside. The other residents seem to all have vans & lorries, which they seem to feel the need to have to rearrange the contents of during the entire evening.

    As I write, we are in bed praying that our ‘Doodle’ remains unscathed over night. El Paso has a nasty feel about it. Every road junction has people accosting you, trying to sell you something. Jackie doesn’t feel comfortable here, but it is too late to go anywhere else. I daren’t tell Jackie that just 3 days ago, it was discovered that 100s of ISIS Fighters had entered the US from Mexico via the El Paso Border.

    Hopefully we will be out of here 1st thing in the morning & will never need to come back.

    Song of the Day - El Paso by Marty Robbins.
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    Angela Bambridge

    I know somebody you could have stayed with in El Paso!!!! What happened to Day 55?? X

    6/17/19Reply
    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Don’t tell us that now. This place is awful. Day 55 was the Doodle bug to Tombstone.

    6/17/19Reply
    David Byng

    Maybe you should set your sights slightly over ‘bargain’ !!! 🤔

    6/17/19Reply
     
  • Day26

    El Paso, TX

    November 24, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Une petite journée en terme de distance nous attendait aujourd'hui encore empreinte de souvenirs de notre voyage a vélo.
    On s'est arrêté dans la même aire de picnic où on avait dormi en tente il y a 7 ans. J'avais chaud au cœur en me rappelant les hurlements de coyotes qu'on entendait alors qu'on s'endormait dans nos sacs de couchage. Et de notre unique voisin qui nous avait donné de l'eau parce qu'on en avait manqué après une journée de vélo particulièrement intense.
    Après un petit 5 min de pause a ressasser nos souvenirs, on s'est remis en route. Le Hill Country est vraiment spectaculaire et les vues étaient encore à couper le souffle aujourd'hui. Après un dernier détour dans les montagnes, on a débuté la traversée d'un désert... 140km de route pratiquement droite. Le seul événement a noter c'est un coyote qu'on a vu de très loin en plein milieu de la route et qui ne bougeait pas du tout... On a finalement du ralentir avant qu'il ne se décide à bouger... Spécial :)
    En arrivant à Van Horne, on a décidé d'embarquer sur l'autoroute 10 et de la suivre jusqu'à El Paso.
    Belle journée pas trop chaude et ensoleillée!
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    amelio donofrio

    de belle route !! pas trafic cest bon pour moi xx

    11/24/18Reply
     
  • Day11

    Lodny dennik spojenych karavanistov 11

    June 23, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 34 °C

    Doobeda sme sa presunuli do El Pasa pred Walmart, nakupit zasoby na dalsie cestovanie a na pripravu obedu. po obede sme navstivili archeologicke muzeum a muzeum hranicnej straze. Nacerpali sme kopec nametov, ako sa co mozno najsofistikovanejsie dostat do Mexika a hlavne ako sa opat dostat spat do Usa, co sme hned mali moznost vyskusat :)Read more

  • Day7

    Day Six : Wombling libre!

    June 2, 2016 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    In the hushed yet excitable tones of Sir David Attenborough, I remark that on Day Six I awoke to an extraordinary sight; a beast whose majesty is eclipsed only by its scarcity in the wild and in the presence of which so very few can claim to have been.

    Luke was awake first ('Lukus Awakii-Firstus')

    But the most fascinating feature of the untamed Lukus Awakii-Firstus is that despite stirring from slumber several hours in advance of the rest of the pack, it is somehow able to be the last one prepared to depart from its night-time lodgings. Such a radical trait would indeed be worthy of further academic study, were there any applicable value in it whatsoever.

    When Luke was ready we got in the car and headed off for food. They say you can tell the measure of a man by the breakfast he chooses. I can't remember who said it; I might have read it on a Kellogs box, but there can be no questioning of our collective masculinity when we commence our day with four Denny's Grand-Slams. Our second such brekkie of the trip to date, the only measure that concerns me is that of an expanding waist-line; ballooning wider daily and transforming texturally from tight, sinewy firmness to a flappy, fatty, cookie-dough-like bulge.

    Next we stopped at a gas station, where Mark once again showed himself to be the hero we all know and agree he is. Whilst inside the station kiosk buying gas (heroic in itself, but it gets better) he was able to find something I've looked for literally everywhere I've been since I got here (aside from that one place we don't mention we went). But Mark achieved what I failed at and found and purchased for me a whole bag of Coffee-flavoured M&Ms! They're yet to be eaten as I'm afraid they might be the 'Best-Thing-Ever' and doubling back round to that particular gas station to buy more would be costly from a scheduling perspective and likely unpopular in every other perspective.

    From there we headed to Carlsbad Caverns via a picturesque drive through the appropriately-named Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This was very much the third instalment in the geological formations trifecta after the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley and Mark was in his absolute element as we undertook the 2.5 mile walk down, down, down, slightly up then further down, down, down and around the humongous underground caverns network. We actually nearly didn't get in at all as Woody threw his entrance ticket in the bin, like, seconds after he bought it. But the ranger gave him an ocular pat-down, deemed him not to be a security risk and allowed him through.

    Whilst wandering through the caverns, Luke postulated that the location might lend itself well to an action sequence in a James Bond film; for instance Bond might have to rapidly descend through the cavern in order to disarm a terrorists' bomb. Though I questioned the overarching strategy of a plot to bomb an empty, underground cave-network, this nonetheless sparked a back-and-forth that became increasingly ludicrous until Luke had to take a break on a bench, hunched over and giggling uncontrollably like a schoolgirl. Either due to 'science' the differently-composed air in the deep caverns somehow precipitated this giggle-fit, or alternatively Luke actually IS a schoolgirl and his portrayal of being an adult male with a job has been but a ruse. I also laughed a bit, mainly laughing at Luke laughing; a little like a schoolgirl laughing at another schoolgirl, but way more manly.

    Woody, Luke and I completed the cavern-walk, then approximately two days later so did Mark. We joked that he must have stopped to take a picture of every rock in there, but he corrected us by telling us he'd actually taken two pictures of every rock in case one didn't come out properly.

    We took the elevator out of the caverns and began the journey South-West to El Paso. We stopped briefly at a roadside historical marker detailing the events of the 'Salt War', an escalation of the 'Pepper Skirmish' that resulted from the 'Ketchup Conflict' during the 'Condiment Campaign'. But seriously, people died.

    We arrived in El Paso late afternoon and headed straight to the border that our visas, car rental agreement and gut-reaction upon seeing it prevented us from crossing. Mexico doesn't look great, but we waved to it as we drove past the border-fence. I like to think that if any Mexicans had spotted the mildly condescending wave of comparatively-rich, white-privileged tourists actively avoiding setting foot in their country, they would have appreciated it.

    We checked into the 'Budget Inn Motel', where the only thing 'budget' was the price, the rooms, the a/c units, the remoteless, CRT televisions and the general feeling of security whilst on the premises. We headed out to a nearby Mexican food place recommended by Mark's guidebook called 'Chicos Tacos' (the restaurant, not the guidebook). The signage proclaimed the chain to be an 'El Paso Institution', meaning it isn't good or successful enough to have expanded into other cities.

    The food was as interesting as it was decent; that is to say, 'quite'. The 'Tacos' were narrow, crispy things served in a sort-of tomato-based 'soup'. The burritos were closer to expectations, though only loosely rolled and containing potato instead of rice. Maybe this is actual, proper Mexican food and what we've been eating from Old El Paso and BarBurrito are mutated renditions of the original traditional versions. Or maybe they're just fucking with the tourists.

    Having earlier been the fabled 'Lukus Awakii-Firstus', Luke was tired so went back the motel after dinner whilst Mark, Woody and I headed down the street to a bar I'd found on Google Maps called 'Howie's Good Times'. En route we passed a place called 'Cabaret' advertising 'Girls, Girls, Girls ; topless and fully nude!'. This not being the 'good time' we were looking for (well, not for a moonlight-robbery $15 cover charge...) we continued on to Howies.

    If you were to imagine a typical American bar, this would be it; neon lights, pool table, friendly/busty barmaid and a casually discriminatory attitude. We were made welcome on the express condition we weren't gay and we ordered a round of tequilas; not because any of us liked them but because we were near Mexico and it felt obligatory - or else I considered it obligatory and thrust this obligation unto the others.

    Can honestly say I've never before enjoyed a tequila, but doing it 'properly' (lick of salt, shot, lime) as I've somehow never done before I found it surprisingly palatable. I had the idea that they should pre-mix these elements into one whole, long drink. Woody then told me what a Margarita was.

    We staked out a spot at the end of the bar and our novelty value as 'travelling Brits' had soon drawn in a cluster of folk (Mike, Louie, Marc and Jennifer) with whom we chewed the fat regarding our trip, the differences between the US and UK, the dodgy reputation of the restaurant we'd just eaten at and the potential gastronomic distress we might subsequently and resultantly experience.

    The owner was very proud of his beer selection, though with the majority imported from Europe they were slightly less-special to us. I had a California-brewed milk stout, Woody had a disgustingly fruity pale ale that he seemed to enjoy and Mark had something else. Though one of the key features of where we'd been seated had been duly noted by all of us, it was noticed as we left that we'd been sat in something a sign referred to as 'Horny Corner' with the 'breast view in the house'. Even considering the multitude of sights and viewpoints we've experienced this week, I know what I'd rather have on a postcard.
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  • Day14

    El Paso Zoo

    May 2, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    Fully documented animals

    Jamin Hancock

    Giraffe #2 "I think I saw a hole over there..."

    5/2/17Reply
    Ric Hancock

    Say.... WHAT???? That's crazy!

    5/2/17Reply
    Jamin Hancock

    They must be if our animals need licenses

    5/2/17Reply
    Patty Wohlgamuth

    They r so graceful for their size. Love them

    5/17/17Reply
     

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Cielo Vista

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