Jan 122016

We were up by 7:30 yesterday morning, ready to start our long trip east from not so sunny Arizona. It was another cold night, so cold that when I ran the living room slide in, big sheets of ice fell off the top of it. Hopefully now that I’ve left the state the snowbirds can start enjoying some good weather for a change.

There was still a lot of snow on the mountains around Tucson from last week’s storm. This was the view as we were pulling out of the Pima County Fairgrounds at 10 AM.

Leaving Pima County Fairgrounds small

We got on Interstate 10 and pointed the nose of the Winnebago toward New Mexico, not sure where we were going to stop for the night. As I said in yesterday’s blog, we have reached the point where a 300 mile day is about all we really care to do. But I also added that when the road is good and we’re enjoying the ride, we don’t mind pushing it a bit more.

It was a good day for traveling and before long we were entering Texas Canyon, a wonderland of rock dramatic formations that I always enjoy seeing.

Entering Texas Canyon small

Texas Canyon rocks small

Texas Canyon rocks 3 small

Texas Canyon rocks 2 small

Back in the days when the West was really wild, there was a Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach station in the canyon until the stages stopped running during the Civil War, when all the troops were sent back east to fight the Confederates. Cochise and the Chiricahua Apaches controlled this land for many years, and woe onto any unfortunate traveler who crossed their path. Just looking at all of the rock formations, you know this had to be a great place for an ambush.

Eventually we crossed into New Mexico and almost immediately ran into road construction, with the highway down to one lane in several places for a mile or two at a time.

New Mexico welcome sign small

And we had not left the snow behind us, either!

Snow on mountains small

Snow on mountains 2 small

Going into Las Cruces, one might think they were somewhere in Colorado judging by the scenery.

Las Cruces Mountains small

We had thought we might stop in Las Cruces for the night, but it was only about 2 o’clock when we got there and we decided to push on. We did make a quick pit stop at a rest area, where this big guy greeted us.

Roadrunner statue small

A couple of miles before the Texas state line we left the interstate and got onto State Route 404 and followed it east for eight miles to hook up with State Route 213, which took us south a few miles and into Texas. From there was it just a few more miles to the 375 Loop, which bypasses El Paso on the east side.

Welcome to Texas sign small

We usually take this route because the traffic on Interstate 10 through the city can be heavy and hectic. Unfortunately, this time around we should have stayed on the interstate. Between poor signage, road construction, and a GPS that wanted to show us the scenic side of town, we got all twisted around and had a very frustrating time of it. I’ve never liked driving through El Paso, and I told Terry the next time we go west we’re taking Interstate 40 through Amarillo and Albuquerque, no matter how far out of the way it is and what the weather is like.

Eventually we did get back on the interstate and continued on to Van Horn, where we stopped at Southern Star RV Park for the night. We discovered this place back in February when we were headed to Arizona for the Escapees Escapade rally and really liked it. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s clean, level, and the folks in the office are very friendly and helpful. There is easy access from Interstate 10, and at $15/night with Passport America for a pull through 50 amp full hookup site, it’s a heck of a deal.

It was a long day on the road, and with 430 miles behind us, we were more than ready to get a bite to eat and call it a night. We walked over to the Van Horn Cattle Company a couple of doors down from the RV park because the folks here and two of our readers have recommended it both times we were here. I’m glad we have that out of the way and won’t have to do it again.

So where will today put us? It’s 420 miles to the Escapees Lone Star Corral in Hondo, where we will stay for a night or two. If the weather and the road are as good as they were yesterday, we just may go for it. I guess we’ll know by the time we put the jacks down at the end of the day, won’t we?

Thought For The Day – It doesn’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “Befuddled On The Bypass”

  1. I figure coming out of Tucson could have been where you ran into traffic with a capital T. Since you didn’t mention it, I guess it must have easier driving than I’ve experienced pulling a trailer. Good for you!

  2. Well, it was 38 degrees last night here at TGO in Florida.
    I guess Florida is getting ready for you Nick.

  3. Emjay, the fairgrounds is on the far southeast side of Tucson, pretty much all the way out of town, so no real traffic to deal with.

  4. Ah yes. El Paso roads. Last time we were there leaving the famcamp took the road to the loop and the entrance ramp was closed for construction. Hadn’t been just the day before. Quite the adventure working our way back to I10. You’d think they would tell you before you pass the point of no return.

  5. I just came the opposite way on your route. I, too, hate driving through El Paso and dreaded it. But on this trip I happened to go through on a Sunday – what a difference – still some traffic, but easily driven! I’ll make sure in the future that I always schedule going through on Sunday.

  6. Nick, The Southern Star RV Park in Van Horn just re-opened a couple of years ago with new owners and they’ve made a lot of changes. It used to be the Eagle’s Nest RV Park and it was in bad shape before it closed. It’s nice to have it re-opened as there are not a lot of choices in that part of Texas!

  7. Nick – If you have time, drop south to Seminole Canyon State Park, 40 miles west of Del Rio. Fascinating place. There is a plethora of ancient rock art in the area. The mystery is who drew it. No one knows. They give daily tours into the canyon. You cannot believe how magnificent the canyons are. West Texas is incredible.

  8. Just curious. Your 2nd to last paragraph mentions both the long drive & the Van Horn Cattle Company. Is it the long drive or the Van Horn Cattle Co, that you are glad is over & won’t have to do again?

  9. David, let’s just say that next time I’ll stay home and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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