A journey thru the desert of New Mexico and the West of Texas. Lonely
Silver City, 16th March
Bisbee the next morning: sunshine,
We head on towards Silver City. On the way a look at the huge former copper mine in the outskirts of the town.
The drive – rather boring: desert like flatlands on the left side, not much difference on the right side, the highway in front. Wow.
Arriving in Silver City it’s even colder. Well, spring seems to be slightly delayed.
As a change a visit to a laundry to spend some lazy time until the socks are clean again.
Then a stroll thru the rather small, but astonishingly well preserved historic district …
… and a visit to the town’s somewhat rough brewery to sip some excellent IPA.
The next morning we plan to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings some 100 km to the north.
But to start with, 1 of these wonderful motel breakfasts. Of course, definitely nothing to remember – except of the waste heap at the end of the excellent meal of pure convenience food.
A little over an hour thru the hilly landscape of the Gila National Forest. In the upper parts still some snow.
The Gila Cliff Dwellings are managed by the National Park Service. As usual in this part of the world, 1st we have to learn how to behave at this place. And these important rules are not simply written on a signboard to be ignored by all visitors. No, a ranger explains each and every visitor that they may not munch greasy hotdogs with sauerkraut’n’ketchup when entering the dwellings, that they are not allowed to drink beer on the way to them – even if older than 21, and that they have to spit out their chewing gum immediately. Violations will be prosecuted without exception’n’mercy.
Poor Rangers having this same speech every 5′; poor visitors forced to listen to this endless instructions.
Whatever. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are pretty interesting and worth a visit.
Alamogordo, 17th March
On to the famous White Dunes National Monument in the south-east of New Mexico. The world’s whitest sand dunes; we have to see them.
We leave Silver City to reach in the early afternoon the non-descript town of Alamogordo. A journey thru New Mexico’s desert – a kind of a trip thru the great nothing. Visibly a dangerous area.
Alamogordo: Just a road, with lots of motels, all American
Whatever, nothing to see or to do – except for the nearby White Sands National Monument. A few sq. km wrested from the surrounding missile testing range. An astonishing situation probably created under a pretty liberal administration. Supposedly, to be corrected in the framework of the current
Anyway, let’s take the chance to explore this area before history is reversed.
So we drive a few km out of Alamogordo to reach the national monument. Then a stroll over the dunes. Again we’re warned to enter – not because of nonfunctional missiles.
Terlingua, 19th March
Next day: a few hours to the next sensation in New Mexico: the Carlsbad Caverns, the world’s largest caverns, or maybe the largest in the US or at least in New Mexico. Who knows.
As it’s a national park, again the hell a lot of instructions on how to behave, what to do and what will be your direct way to hell should any rules be ignored.
Then you’re asked whether you prefer to enter by elevator or on foot. Of course, we walk.
A deep entrance. About 300m down, thru a long tunnel for more than an hour.
Then the big room – truly huge. Another hour to explore’n’admire …
… and to imagine.
Important notice to all US and Canadian citizens: You are kindly requested to ignore the picture at the left. And not to look at it. It might be against the law. Who knows.
Finally the way out. A ranger giving the same instructions every 2′ – the whole day long, 7 days a week and a simple elevator bringing you some 300m up.
It’s late afternoon. We drive on. Not because we’re so keen to reach Ushuaia, Argentina that early. It’s rather about extremely expensive motels in nearby Carlsberg town and weather too cold permitting camping.
Thus, some 100km to the south. To Pecos. A terrible road. The hell a lot of traffic, all involved in some oil exploration business. Left and right of the road oil pumps, gas burned off, a lot of smoke.
Probably the whole area is part of the President’s Accelerated Climate Change Program as part of his greatification or firstification policy..
In Pecos motels are still pretty expensive. No other choice – we take a room in a lousy 1.
Finally a dinner in a pretty basic Mexican Cantina – but maybe the place to dream of the better side of the Great Friendship Wall.
The whole night the road passing in front of the motel room remains pretty busy. Huge trucks roaring to the oil fields.
A good reason to leave the next day early in direction of the Big Bend National Park.
But to start with 1 of these excellent motel breakfasts: today they even have eggsausagecheesebiscuits. Maybe you don’t know what that is. Never mind nobody eats that stuff in any other country.
But for motel owners it’s convenient to offer these biscuits to their esteemed guests. You simply take it out of the fridge in the lobby, go to your room, unpack it, microwaive it for 2′ 26″ (not more), eat it (for obvious reasons as quickly as possible), if possible pour it down with a lot of tasteless coffee.
Kindly don’t tell the Human Rights Commission about these biscuits.
After this ultimate gourmet delight we’re ready to move on. The 1st km still thru oil fields. Black smoke at the horizon …
… later it improves.
By noon we arrive in Presidio. A desperate village at the Mexican border.
We drive eastwards. Thru the Big Bend Ranch State Park. Along Rio Grande, thus the Mexican border.
And were definitely shocked. For the 1st time we see this lousy small river. A river so small you easily can cross it on foot. And no wall. Even not the slightest sign of a wall. Mr. President what’s about your promises? During election campaign we definitely learned, that a wall will be built as an absolute priority and Mexico will pay for it. And now?
Strange but we also cannot see any Mexicans crossing the border. Neither criminal 1s, nor others. Just nobody sneaking illegally northwards to reach the paradise.
What the hell is going on? where is this invasion we’ve heard about? With whom do they fight in this newly declared state of emergency.
Well, maybe we’re in the wrong place, or at the wrong time.
Maybe it’s just politics. Who knows.
Anyway, we drive on. Admiring lousy Rio Grande, the desert …
… and especially all the flowers in the desert.
Driving over passes and along canyons …
… to finally reach the village of Terlingua in the early afternoon. And that place is a real pain in the ass. No joke.
So be warned. It’s Eldorado Motel.
Of course, all accommodation in Terlingua is heavily booked. It’s next to the Big Bend National Park and currently, everybody enjoys spring break. And this seems to be a reason for everybody to move to Terlingua. So all camp sites, RV parks, motels, B&B, and anything else are fully booked. Except a room in the Eldorado Motel. We take it despite it’s incredible prize, otherwise there’s no chance to visit the national park.
Well, it’s a room with a balcony (cracking away, full of garbage and with direct view on the restaurant’s rubbish), a jacuzzi in the room (no hot water, plumbing not functional) and a room you feel its historic dimension (at least from the last 5000 guests using it). What the hell, we already paid for it.
Nevertheless, now you’re warned. Should you ever be in Terlingua, we highly recommend you to avoid this place. Should you not find any alternative, immediate suicide would be the option of preference to a night in Eldorado Motel.
A rundown motel asking an unacceptable rate – no reason to discourage. We simply leave this place to visit Big Bend National Park.
On the way some clear signs of the prevailing spring break madness.
We follow the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive thru the mountainous desert landscape …
… to reach the Santa Elena Canyon for a short hike.
Back to our beloved motel. Unfortunately we decide to munch some bites at their restaurant. Whatever. You’re warned:
Don’t go go to Eldorado Motel in Terlingua
The next morning back to the national park. To the Chisos Basin.
A hike on the Windows Trail.
Still in the park, a side trip to Rio Grande at Boquillas. Not really interesting – maybe except some strange souvenirs some Mexican try to sell to innocent American tourists.
Dear Uncle Don, we really were convinced you made the greatest and most perfect deal ever with the Mexicans to ensure their financing of the Great Friendship Wall. Thus, the existence of these souvenirs is definitely not comprehensible.
Then we’re on the way to Alpine. Some 100km to the north.
Suddenly some strange noise. Prado cries for something.
Well, we’ve driven some 3500 km since the timing belt has been replaced in Las Vegas.
Probably time to get busy with all collateral damages caused by this great mechanic.
More about this issue and of course much more soon. In our next post.
In the meantime simply remain jealous and expect impatiently the next post to be released.