Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016-4 Willcox New Mexico to El Paso Texas


Willcox Arizona
Deming New Mexico
Sunland/ El Paso Texas

312 miles this week

Campground:  Ft Willcox Rv Park.  $20.00 Passport America rate.  Full hookups plus 18 of the most unusual cable tv stations.  Just a one night stay.  Free waffles and coffee in the morning.  Odd setup, waffle maker and coffee on a table in the center of an empty room.  I guess one is supposed to make their waffle and coffee and go back to their camper with it?

Campground:  Temperate Zone Rv Park.  $12.00 Passport America rate.  A simple park with great mountain views, full hookups.  Good Verizon cell service and at least a half a dozen over-the-air Tv stations.  15 miles north of Deming NM.  Ground is a mix of dusty sand and large gravel rock, not comfortable to walk on.  Owner didn’t want me to walk around the back half of park since he rents out the house in back.  No place to walk.

Campground:  Sunland Casino and Racetrack.  50 amp and water, $15.00.  Dump station available.  Paved parking lot sites.  Can stay in parking lot for free with no hookups.  Good location if touring El Paso.  Restaurants in the casino are good and inexpensive ($7-8.00 range).  Can watch the horse racing for free, not a fan of their slot machines.  Good Tv and cell phone reception.

Distance Traveled:  79 miles

A note on my boon docking/dry camping experience last week.  With the fridge and furnace using propane and very little DC power, I was able to enjoy the week with plenty of solar generated power.  I could watch as much tv as I wanted too, use the radio, have as many lights on as I wanted too, and I even used the toaster and small coffee pot.  The batteries recharge completely by early afternoon, leaving lots of time to use the microwave if needed and recharge the batteries before the sun sets in the evening.  Of course with Arizona’s bright sunny days and no clouds in sight those solar panels are easily able to do their job.

Willcox.  I had planned on staying overnight at the Visitor Center since a web site indicated one could do that.  I parked around the other side of a grassy median and after finding the visitor center closed, the owner of Apple Annie’s next door came out and berated me for parking in her parking lot which abuts the Visitor Center.  She was quite upset that the Chamber of Commerce would permit Rv-ers to park overnight at the visitor center since it takes money away from local Rv parks.  A short time later she came out and brought me two jars of a pepper jelly and a sauce that she indicated would probably work for my no-carb diet.  I had earlier indicated I would have loved to purchase a pie, but couldn’t due to my low-carb diet.  Very kind of her and possibly a peace offering after she put me down for attempting to camp for free.

many empty business's on old main street

Business route I-10, empty businesses

boarder patrol vehicles everywhere

historic part of town, opposite the train tracks

will have to go back when the museum is open

Apparently baking pies is quite the thing because the owner of the Rv park I ended up at also sold pies.  Apple Annie told me that her son owned a couple apple orchards and fruit orchards higher up on the nearby mountain range.  Also saw a couple large pecan, walnut groves and vineyards out in this very arid landscape.  Apparently this desert landscape can grow just about anything with irrigation.

Distance traveled:  150 miles

I’ve been in Deming New Mexico a number of times.  It’s one of those places on the way to where every one is going to or coming from.  A pass thru.  A way stop.  A small western town with plenty of local restaurants and some fast food chain restaurants as well, near by attractions, even a Wal-Mart and K-Mart right next to each other.  Though I wonder how long the K-Mart is going to be able to stay in business.

15 miles outside of town, the campground

I hurry up early this morning to get a few chores done before the strong winds arrive.  Expected gusts up to 50 and 60 mph.  A tumble weed blows by indicating the winds have started.  I was able to get propane for the camper, a spring latch to hold the storage box in the back of the truck closed.  It came flying open while driving down the road the other day.  Fortunately nothing jumped out and flew off down the road.  A quick breakfast, not easy to do on a low carb diet and visit to the Visitor Center for some info on touring the area.  By late afternoon, winds are definitely up and visibility is down to near zero.  Expect at least one more day of heavy winds.  Have rarely encountered winds like these, glad I’m not on the road.

Deming/Mimbres Museum

Mimbres pottery

most of the pottery found at burial sites

I've been to this museum in the past, but always something
new to look at

Speaking of roads, I-10 through Arizona  and into New Mexico has some construction going on and hopefully plans to fix some rough patches along the way.  Even with heavy traffic, I did my usual 65 mph and traffic flowed around me easily at the 75 mph speed limit.

I thought the campground would be a good location, between Silver City and Deming.  Unfortunately the weather which is windy and fairly chilly is not conducive to much outdoor activity.  Previously I’ve stayed at two state parks, City of Rocks and Rock Hound Park which I would definitely recommend.

Distance Traveled:  115 miles

With that said, I decided to head to El Paso Texas which is only 115 miles away. Further south, a bit warmer if not less windy.  Driving into Sunland park, a racetrack and casino I almost kissed the ground now that I’m parked on pavement for a couple of days.  I really appreciate pavement after spending time on dusty dirt campsites.  Across the street is an amusement park with rides, but mainly for the younger kids.

Oh, on my way along I-10 I stopped at the rest-stop outside of Las Cruses New Mexico.  They permit overnight camping in your Rv and it has really nice ramadas (sheltered picnic area).  Nice scenic views.

Ramada, picnic area and plenty of
space for over Rv-ing

view from rest stop looking down into Las Cruses New Mexico

giant road runner sculpture
El Paso Texas. 

Actually I’m staying in Sunland New Mexico which is a suburb of El Paso.  It’s where Texas, Mexico and New Mexico kind of mash up all together.  Lots of modern shopping centers and eateries on this side of town.  The Sunland Racetrack and Casino is privately owned.  Wouldn’t you like to own something like that.  The casino has spurred on the racing venue, with purses increasing from $35,000 to a quarter of a million dollars daily.

Getting back to El Paso, a mid sized city on the boarder with Mexico and on the very western corner of Texas.  The downtown area appears to be a lot of twisted, narrow streets where I drove down on a Saturday (free parking) and walked around a bit with a trip to the El Paso Art Museum.  Nice displays of  local western art, European and modern sculpture displays.  I also toured the National Border Patrol Museum.  Appropriate since one can see the large border fence separating the U.S. from Mexico.  The number of boarder patrol officers has increased from 1992 with 4,139 officers to over 20,863 in 2014.  The budget has grown from $262,000 to $3,634,855 today.  Some interesting displays including a rickety boat used by Cubans to escape Cuba in search of freedom.  Next door to the Border Patrol Museum is the History Museum.  Lots of dioramas and history on the Native Indians that lived in the Mexico, Texas, New Mexico region.  The colorful yellow and orange poppies and a couple cactus plants were in bloom along the nature trails.  Nice to get out on a day when the winds have calmed down.

Boarder Patrol Museum

Voyage to Freedom

History Museum

Poppies in bloom


ancient mastodons diorama

The Casas Grandes Region had a big
influence on this area during the
height of the Indian era

more poppies

sage brush is found everywhere out west

strawberry cactus

Downtown El Paso Texas and Art Museum

a coffee shop and art

city view

El Paso Art Museum

local artist

The education of Cupid

I'll visit the area a few more days before heading to my next destination.

more photos on my PICASA photos

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