Greetings from El Paso!

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
"Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl...."

I have a favorable first impression of El Paso and El Pasoans. Friendly, industrious Mexican-Americans and a med-lg city that appears to be well run. Of course, that could be the fresh tortillas and incredible salsa talking....

This is the perfect opportunity to practice my Spanish, but I feel like a douche doing it, like I'm patronizing them - "Que pasa, amigo!" - when that is not my intent. I'm not sure why I feel this way. This is my freaking country, damn it, and I'll speak Spanish if I want to!

The trip on I-10 was alternately beautiful and desolate. Miles and miles of nothing - no thing - except scrub, with a hilly horizon and the occasional abandoned adobe casa. I'm back to that feeling of smallness surrounded by immense and expansive that I had in South Dakota. It's big out here. Like, really big. And sparsely populated outside the metro areas.

Our RV park is nice except for the rinky dink bath houses. We're only here for a week so I can deal. There's a heated indoor pool with a hot tub that Monello tried out last night, and it's pretty close to most of what we need. I think our days of grass and greenery, though, are over for awhile. It's brown here, with little flora and lots of sandy dirt. One of the things you learn when you travel a lot is to put what you're used to behind you and embrace the here and now, and both Monello and I are down with that.

Last night we went to a Mexican buffet. Do not think tacos and burritos - most of the stuff on this buffet was unrecognizable, and what's more they didn't have labels on anything. So we winged it and took bits of things that looked interesting. Unfortunately this led to me accidentally putting liver in my mouth and not having anywhere to spit it. But everything else was pretty good. Our server was pretty good about telling us what we were eating and how we should eat it. I made the mistake of taking a dish of their red salsa, thinking I would douse my food. Um, no. This stuff was like napalm. A little dab'll do ya.

This morning I took my car to the local Toyota for a check-over. Dropped it off, then Monello and I went to breakfast. He had eggs and toast, I had machaca and tortillas. Machaca is shredded beef with huevos, peppers, onions, and cheese. Served with hash browns and refrieds, and one of those warm homemade tortillas that I will never get tired of. I wonder how long it will take before I'm over Mexican food? Because I honestly don't see any end in sight, and now that I'm completely spoiled I won't be rolling around the chain taco shops when we get back east.

We have been assured that there is nothing to see in El Paso, but I have a list of a few things that will keep us entertained and help us get a feel for the area.
 

glhs837

Power with Control
If you are heading for the Gulf coast, swing by Boca Chica, SpaceX is testng a "hopper" version of their Starship rocket, formerly known as the Big Freakin Rocket....... And building the actual orbital test rockt of the same name. Road runs right by both facilities so you can see things.

 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
I'm glad yesterday's drive was uneventful. After the windstorm, I was quite skittish about driving out into the west Texas dust bowl. I10 is pretty much the only road down this way. So it wasn't like I could have gone a different way to avoid the plains and winds.

It was an amazing drive. We crossed 3 mountain ranges. The highway engineers did a great job in making the trip as smooth as possible. There were very few steep inclines. Instead the uphills were gradual. There were no switchbacks. Just once did my cruise control give out on the climb. El Paso's elevation is around 3,800. We gained another 900 ft altitude bump from Ft Stockton. The RV does performs poorly in the mountains. It's just a lot of weight for the V10 to have to launch forward. Add an incline into the mix and my MPH drops fast.

There isn't a single lawn mover engine repair man in the greater El Paso area. It's probably because there isn't a single blade of grass out here. It's all succulents, a few hardy trees and rocks. This place is a geologist's wet dream. I'm annoyed by the dust. At some point I will get use to it. I like to leave the screen door of the RV open when weather permits. But if the wind is screaming Mary, then I keep the door shut.

Vrai's blood type is currently salsa roja. I have a feeling that if Apollo ever gets replaced, the replacement will be named tortilla. You can't avoid the Mexican influence in this part of the country. Even the hispanics born on this side of the border are bilingual. You almost have to be to practice any kind of commerce.

Sunday's dinner had us at a place with maybe 15% gringos in the joint. I was always curious when foreigners visit America when they go to a restaurant that features food from their homeland. To me it would make sense to try something different when out of the country. But in ole El Paso the choices are mostly limited to Mexican food or some US chain restaurant, not counting the bazillion fast food choices here. Not as many donut shops down here when compared to other parts of Texas. There they are as common as Dunkin Donut shops are in Boston.

It looks like we may be taking an international foot tour while we are here. I know we can count on all of you if we need to cobble together some ransom money.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
If you are heading for the Gulf coast, swing by Boca Chica, SpaceX is testng a "hopper" version of their Starship rocket, formerly known as the Big Freakin Rocket....... And building the actual orbital test rockt of the same name. Road runs right by both facilities so you can see things.

Thanks for the tip. We will be back that way in December.

When we took our laguna cruise back in January, they pointed out the Space X launch pad with the hopper in it. You don't see it crystal clear but you can make out a tall structure in the distance. SPI wil be a great place to witness a launch from there. I wish I took a picture of it when they pointed it out to us.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
El Paso, huh? Can you see "the wall" from there?
It's funny you should ask because I said that to Monello this morning, that we should go see the wall. We'll walk across to Cd Juarez and I'll take pics.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
If you are heading for the Gulf coast, swing by Boca Chica, SpaceX is testng a "hopper" version of their Starship rocket, formerly known as the Big Freakin Rocket....... And building the actual orbital test rockt of the same name. Road runs right by both facilities so you can see things.

:roflmao:

With ALL due respect to you (seriously) they're in El Paso, right now - like at the crossroads of the southwestern US. :jet:

I don't think they're headed for the gulf coast anytime soon. :biggrin:
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
But if the wind is screaming Mary, then I keep the door shut...

Vrai's blood type is currently salsa roja.
I have a feeling that if Apollo ever gets replaced, the replacement will be named tortilla...

It looks like we may be taking an international foot tour while we are here. I know we can count on all of you if we need to cobble together some ransom money.

:lmao::killingme
 

glhs837

Power with Control
:roflmao:

With ALL due respect to you (seriously) they're in El Paso, right now - like at the crossroads of the southwestern US. :jet:

I don't think they're headed for the gulf coast anytime soon. :biggrin:
I didn't know which way they were going. If they were headed to South Padre, then it's a pretty short side trip. Having been across Texas on I-10 on a 450cc motorcycle, I know how huge the cross state trek is :)
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
I didn't know which way they were going. If they were headed to South Padre, then it's a pretty short side trip. Having been across Texas on I-10 on a 450cc motorcycle, I know how huge the cross state trek is :)
But we will be back in SPI in December and could see any launchings from our RV site, so hopefully they'll do that while we're there. :yay:
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Today I took a solo trip over to Fort Bliss. It's about 15 miles from where we are staying in East El Paso. I took the scenic route to get there. Good news is I didn't really see any roached out neighborhoods. There are some places that could use a little sprucing up, but no West Baltimore scary areas. At least not along the route I took.

Over by Bliss it the ringed by what I believe is called Franklin Mountain. The base is at the foot of the mountain. It's quite majestic. It might be worth a ride to the top. I wanted to take a picture but I know how the military is skittish on people taking pictures on base. I also visited the Fort Bliss National Cemetery. I was hoping to find a monument or plaque for an fatal accident that occured there in the 1990s. The military is big on honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It's a personal journey for me. Once when Vrai & I were first doing week long trips, we found a similar monument for the same event on Fort Bragg. It took us a bit of driving around to find it. The stone was moved when some buildings were torn down.

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After my futile search, I headed towards the exchange and commissary. I was shocked what I found. The military in Texas has stepped up their game in what they offer their soldiers. Bliss has a commercial area that rivals any suburban locale. The market is called Freedom Crossing. It reminded me of the outdoor stores in Bowie off of 301.

Here's the list of the stores currently in the crossing:

Freedom Keys
World of Beer
Smok’d
Stripes – The Alterations Place
Patriot Outfitters
5 Star Nutrition
Barber D.M.E. Supply Group
Under Armour
Military Clothing Store
Things Remembered
Old Fort Bliss Cigars
Harris Jewelry
Dollar Tree
GNC
The UPS Store
R & R Nail Spa
Pharmacy
Paul Mitchell Salon
Vista Optical & Optometry Care
Great Clips
Barber Shop
Texas Roadhouse
The Sushi Place
Smashburger
Denny’s
Dairy Queen
Chipotle
Buffalo Wild Wings
Commissary
Class Six
Subway
Starbucks
Smoothie King
Sarku Japan
Muscle Maker Grill
Manchu Wok
Healthy Pizza Company
Einstein Brothers Bagels
Cinnabon
Charley’s Philly Steaks
Burger King
Boston Market
Baskin Robins
Auntie Anne’s
Arby’s
Anthony’s Pizza
The Grand Theater
Gamestop
The Exchange

Pretty much anything you could want. No need to leave the base. It sure makes choosing a place to eat lunch interesting. This sort of set up would be fantastic in the remote or expensive overseas areas.

This base is full of troops. I was there at lunch time. Uniforms were everywhere you look. On our journey, I often go on base. Last base I was on was Lackland and it was a graduation day. It was busy but nowhere near as active as a Wednesday on Ft Bliss. Almost 9,000 people live on Ft Bliss. I'm not sure how many people work there and how many soldiers are stationed there.

There is a large contingent of Germans on the base. So many in fact that there is a German public school on base. That is the first instance I have heard of a foreign command on a US base in America. When I was stationed in Europe, I know it chapped a lot of people that there were American bases in Europe but no European bases in America.

El Paso has a lot of distribution centers in town. Many of them are well known US companies. Being so close to the border, I have to believe that a lot of the components are made south of the border then shipped north. The roads here are disproportionately blanketed with tractor trailers.

We are suppose to get rain today. From the looks of the landscape here, rain seems to rarely make an appearance. A lot of the creeks are just dry beds. Nodoby has a grass lawn. It's mostly crushed stones. Often weeds will poke up through the stone. It looks like it would be a royal pita to remove the weeds, so it looks like most people just leave them in place. Just about everything that grows around here has some sort of thorn(s) attached to it. Apollo will occasionally find the little sand burrs with his paws. I bet they are just as painful as those coquina shards found in the Florida Keys.

Gotta love southwest Texas in March. Where you get to run both your heater and your A/C in the same day. Good news is our campground has remained police shoot out free. Hopefully the rest of our stay here will be just as blase.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Last night after sunset we headed out to find the scenic drive. GPS lady got us close but put us into a convenience store parking lot. We were about 2 miles off.

The road is along side Franklin moutain. There were 3 look out points. We pulled over to get a perspective and take a few pictures. You can see all the way into Juarez, Mexico from there. The lights of the 2 cities bleed into each other. We could see I10 and knew that just south of there is where Mexico began.

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For a Thursday night, the drive was quite popular. The best lookout point had a full parking lot, so we didn't get to linger there. A few people built spectacular homes there in the hills. A short drive away we found more modest homes. The road ended right near the UTEP campus. It's a major commercial area. That's the thing about El Paso. It has neighborhoods but the commercial aspect of it overshadows everything else. The roads are somewhat laid out in a grid style. Most neighborhoods are minutes from some sort of shopping.

Sunday we are back on the road. At some point the RV will cross over into New Mexico. Then I can add another state sticker to my RV US travel map. I think that will make state # 31 for the rig. Not too shabby for 12 years of road travel. I did a bunch of states before Vrai was brave enough to join me rolling down the road. Apollo will also get a new stamp in his doggie travel passport. Good thing he travels well.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
My GOD!

Okay so here's what happened:

What we wanted to do was park on the El Paso side and walk across the bridge to Juarez. Shop, eat, drink, etc. I was all about contributing to the Mexican "economy".

Instead we got on the road that took us into HELL, aka Juarez, and then didn't want to let us get back.

We saw a visitor's center, with very nice center people who directed us to "downtown". So...okay.... We drove to the centre de ciudade...and...I don't even know what to say. It was a war zone.

So now we're in a Mexican war zone, with no GPS, and no cell service, and no idea how to get back to civilization. I'm not gonna lie, I had a minor meltdown and Monello had to pull over so I could smoke and get myself together.

So that happened, and while I was collecting myself Monello deciphered the map and had a vague idea of which way we should head. We headed that way and after a couple of corrections and a "**** it, let's go here" we ended up in the longest line I've ever been in to cross the bridge and be in El Paso. An hour and a half of inching forward to the promised land. With higglers in the lane line trying to sell us stuff and wash my car. Vete!!! Vete!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!! A very young woman with a bebe in arms, not even trying, just begging. I wanted to drop her a 20, but I knew if I did they'd be around me like feral cats.

So I have some thoughts about Mexicans jumping the border, but I have to process them because they're conflicting. Needless to say, I had a burning desire to storm the Mexican capitol and execute every motherfucking one of them. HOW could they preside over such a horrible place when something terrific is literally right across the ****ing river????? They can freaking see it!!! What kind of ****ing psychos are they???? It should embarrass that Mexican presidente that he's the King of Sh*t.

Now, let me tell you, I've been to Negril. I've see third world chaos. But it was nothing like Juarez. So yeah, Mexico, you suck worse than Jamaica. How does that make you feel?

I swear I will never leave the United States again. I kiss this hallowed ground and God Bless the USA. I don't understand why any dumbass would complain about anything in the US. I was never so glad to be anywhere than when we crossed that checkpoint and were back in the USA.
 
Solid reality check.

I got mine back in the 80s when I went to Antigua. Step off the hotel grounds and it was worth your life. I was so glad to get back onto a plane headed for the USA.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
And you know, I love Mexican people. In our travels we've met like 8 million of them and they're terrific. But Mexico ****ing sucks. So I want to gather them all up and bring them to the loving bosom of the Estados Unidos, but honestly most of them are pigs. They live like crap and don't even know how to flush a ****ing toilet, even after you tell them how. For as many of them that come over here and keep our motel rooms immaculate, they really are disgustingly filthy.

And I hate that.

Seriously, come over here, you Mexicans and Central Americans. We love your culture and embrace you. But leave your filthy sh*t behind and become Americans.
 

littlelady

God bless the USA
My GOD!

Okay so here's what happened:

What we wanted to do was park on the El Paso side and walk across the bridge to Juarez. Shop, eat, drink, etc. I was all about contributing to the Mexican "economy".

Instead we got on the road that took us into HELL, aka Juarez, and then didn't want to let us get back.

We saw a visitor's center, with very nice center people who directed us to "downtown". So...okay.... We drove to the centre de ciudade...and...I don't even know what to say. It was a war zone.

So now we're in a Mexican war zone, with no GPS, and no cell service, and no idea how to get back to civilization. I'm not gonna lie, I had a minor meltdown and Monello had to pull over so I could smoke and get myself together.

So that happened, and while I was collecting myself Monello deciphered the map and had a vague idea of which way we should head. We headed that way and after a couple of corrections and a "**** it, let's go here" we ended up in the longest line I've ever been in to cross the bridge and be in El Paso. An hour and a half of inching forward to the promised land. With higglers in the lane line trying to sell us stuff and wash my car. Vete!!! Vete!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!! A very young woman with a bebe in arms, not even trying, just begging. I wanted to drop her a 20, but I knew if I did they'd be around me like feral cats.

So I have some thoughts about Mexicans jumping the border, but I have to process them because they're conflicting. Needless to say, I had a burning desire to storm the Mexican capitol and execute every motherfucking one of them. HOW could they preside over such a horrible place when something terrific is literally right across the *ing river????? They can freaking see it!!! What kind of *ing psychos are they???? It should embarrass that Mexican presidente that he's the King of Sh*t.

Now, let me tell you, I've been to Negril. I've see third world chaos. But it was nothing like Juarez. So yeah, Mexico, you suck worse than Jamaica. How does that make you feel?

I swear I will never leave the United States again. I kiss this hallowed ground and God Bless the USA. I don't understand why any dumbass would complain about anything in the US. I was never so glad to be anywhere than when we crossed that checkpoint and were back in the USA.
Wow! Yikes! Glad y’all made it back.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
But wait! There's more!

I frankly admit I'm a nation builder at heart. I love the USA so much and especially now that I've rolled around it, and I hate the thought that people are living in these horrible places and being disgusting when their country could be so amazing.

Oh, but their culture!!! :faint:

**** their "culture". It sucks and it makes them suck, which is why they risk their lives to come to the US. I honestly think we should overthrown every single one of these crap holes and liberate their people. They wouldn't have to come to the US because their own country would be terrific. I don't know how any rational person would argue that.
 
So........ kinda go in a "liberate" them and provide counseling, not unlike the British Empire a few years back?
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
So........ kinda go in a "liberate" them and provide counseling, not unlike the British Empire a few years back?
Whatever. People shouldn't have to live like that. And if they want to, that's fine, but they can't import that filth to our country.
 
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