Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 21

Linda ran out of her Raw Bits Twang Twang and had Bright Side raisin bran cereal and a sliced banana as a lame substitute, along with coffee and OJ. John had coffee, OJ, a banana and a Texas malty waffle with Jif peanut butter.

The old buzzards and Fannie Mae were gassed and on the road by 8:03. Gas in Fort Stockton seemed to be $3.399 across the board. John went to an enroute McDonald's and ordered a medium Mocha. He's learned how to order the non-fat with "light chocolate" and no-whip. We had a nice surprise when entering onto I-10. The speed limit was 80 miles an hour (65 at night). It was a day for no gravel in our travel since there were no back roads that would not take us way out of our trajectory and we had over 5 hours of driving, even using the freeway.

We did gain an hour even before we got to New Mexico. Wilma had been indicating that it was after 10 am and all at once it was 9 something. Apparently Texas is so big it has at least 2 time zones. We soon came to a sign informing us that we were in a new time zone. This occurs just west of Van Horn, TX as you enter Hudspeth County. Neither Linda nor John were aware that Texas was in two zones.

The scenery was a vast desert that has been in a severe drought, so it was even drier than usual for the road to El Paso. There were lots of prickly pears, other cactus, lots of scrubby things, yuccas and vast areas of bare earth. We came to a Border Patrol checkpoint. The dog dutifully sniffed around our car. John commented that after seeing the miles and miles of desert, he felt these Border Patrol officers had a really difficult task. The officer's reply was "Every day".

There were some mountainous areas before and after El Paso. John remembers going to El Paso and into Juarez with his parents to a nice Mexican restaurant back in the 50s or 60s. That is not done so casually these days. This was Linda's first look at El Paso, other than from an airplane and the windows at the El Paso airport. John sweetly offered to drop her off in Juarez to shop for trinkets but she declined. That rascal knew she did not have a passport and would not be able to get back into the good ole USA. From the freeway part of the wall separating Juarez from El Paso could be seen along with an 8 to 10 block stretch of crowded housing in Mexico.

We were welcomed into New Mexico at 10:51. After leaving El Paso and driving in even more desert we came upon another Border Patrol checkpoint. At this site, they are constructing and even larger facility. John wanted to tell the officer that we were all citizens except the little chihuahua in the back. Reason prevailed.

Those who are weary of reading about Whataburgers can now rejoice even while John is going through his 5 Ws of grief. The Whataburger he had for lunch in Las Cruces was perhaps the last one he will have until next June when he is in Texas for his 50 year reunion. Or maybe the last one....ever! We did have one follower who asked “Just what is so special about Whataburgers?” John explains it this way: "First, the Whataburger buns are about 6" in diameter. You can get the burger on a smaller bun and even on a whole wheat bun if you desire. The buns are always really fresh. The burger comes with meat, lettuce, tomato, mustard, onions and pickles. For $.39 to $.49 (depending on restaurant) you can have them add sliced or grilled jalapenos. The coup de gras is that you can ask them to toast the buns on both sides and even request them to get them extra toasty. It is really a yummy sandwich. Don't need cheese. Don't need bacon. Just the Whataburger. Hence the slogan, 'Oh, Whataburger should be!'"

Our route out of Las Cruces was still on I-10 until we got to Deming where we turned northwest onto Highway 180 which took us to our destination for the next two days: Silver City, New Mexico. There were cattle and goats, windmills and some interesting clouds along 180. The puffy and swirly clouds we had seen earlier in the day turned dark and we went through some pretty heavy rain between Deming and Silver City. Eagle eye (or is that buzzard eye) John spotted a windmill that Linda was able to get a nice shot of out of her window. And since we were not on the freeway, we were able to stop briefly.

Linda has a classmate who told her that he had never heard of anyone going to Silver City on purpose. He said “I have relatives there so that's why I have been to Silver City”. We arrived into the city limits at approximately 2:13 and it was still raining. The Glad Tidings Church welcomed us with this pithy thought: “A tamed mind brings happiness”. Hmmmmmmmm! The old buzzards and Fannie Mae will have to remember to tame down our minds the next time we feel a spell of unhappiness coming on. But, as of today, Day 21 on our New Orleans Road Trip, we are all Fine AND Dandy, thank you very much.

Linda is esPECially looking forward to exploring Downtown Silver City tomorrow because of a video that the downtown merchants made. It was filmed in Historic Downtown Silver City, New Mexico from January 29-February 6, 2011, as part of a winning application for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2011 Great American Main Street Award. Merchants and downtown denizens gathered in their places of business and/or favorite hangouts to sing a line of the 1963 hit song "Downtown," written by Tony Hatch. You can view the 3:30 video on YouTube by clicking here.

We checked into our very nice clean room at Motel 6. We even have a microwave and a fridge (not always the case at no frills Motel 6). Linda washed up our delicates at the very clean and handy guest laundry facility about 15 steps from our room. So we are all set with enough tidy whities to make it home.

We had located lots of interesting-sounding Silver City restaurants on the internet but, now that we are here, it seems that many of them are closed on Sunday and today just happens to be SUNDAY. So our choice was pizza or Subway. We chose Subway. We got the address for Subway, asked Wilma to find it. When she said "Destination", it wasn't there. Then we tried Papa John's Pizza. It was located in a Shell gasoline station. No sale. The we stumbled across the Wrangler Bar and Grill. Good news, the parking lot was crowded! Almost always a good sign. We decided to dine there and were not disappointed. Linda had broiled trout with a salad and sweet potato fries. John got a chef salad with some bleu cheese dressing. They brought out a small loaf of jalapeno-cheddar bread that we really yummy. All-in-all, were glad we couldn't locate Subway!

Only 12 photos in todays gallery, but there are some nice ones of the sky and clouds. You can view them by clicking here.

Our funniest sign today was the 80 mph speed limit sign in Texas. 75 is the highest speed limit we had ever seen before. With all these long straight roads it is really hard to go 55 mph.

Plans for tomorrow were to go to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (free admission with John's senior pass). Plans were scrubbed when we went online and found they are closed until early December because of work being done on the highway. We'll find something interesting for you, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment