Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 8 - April 26th

Ft. Stockton is soon a memory in the rear view mirror as I head to El Paso and beyond.  I’m starting to get a case of Gethomeitis, especially as I know this particular stretch of roadway is long, straight, and boring.  Add to that some pretty hefty winds (probably 30-40MPH from the left/South) and blowing dust and it’s just a fun day!

I was too busy staying on the road to take too many photos of the dust, but those clouds you see here is actually dust.  These are pretty much all I saw until getting relatively close to El Paso.

OK, one interesting bit of art on an overpass outside of Ft. Davis, Texas

One other thing we don’t see much of in California

Entering El Paso, one can get a good look at the fence that separates the USA from Mexico

This sight is one that has always meant El Paso to me even though it is really a landmark on the Mexico side of the border.

For some reason those smoke stacks have always stuck in my mind and seem to make some statement to me about our relationship with the border towns in Mexico.

So much for Texas (man, that’s a big state!).  People who have never driven across Texas have difficulty realizing just how big a state it is.  Here’s one comparison – it is approximately 830 miles from El Paso to my home in the Los Angeles area following I-10.  I-10 is roughly 850 miles across Texas.  Yep, it takes longer to cross Texas than it does to drive from the Texas border to Los Angeles.

New Mexico required a stop in Mesilla – home to the court house where Billy the Kid was tried, convicted and sentenced to be hung.

 On the way to Arizona, I spotted this –

Guns, gas, and fireworks – does it really get much better than that?

Just in case Mother Nature thought I hadn’t had enough wind and dust, she gave me a bit more

I left I-10 around Steins, New Mexico and headed south on US-80 headed to Douglas, Arizona.

I thought this formation was interesting

About the time I crossed the border into Arizona, I learned something about the Garmin GPS that I didn’t know (although it may be in the instruction book which I’ve yet to read).  Garmin reports the estimated arrival time in the destination time zone, not the one you happen to be in currently.  So, I’ve been looking at the arrival time for Douglas, Arizona and translating that to riding time and fuel supply.  Yeah, yeah, I know, if I had looked at the trip statistics screen it would have given me the distance to destination and time to destination but that would have required two button pushes.

At this point I’m committed to Douglas as my destination and the next available fuel – this is going to be close.  I figure I’ve got around 60 miles of fuel and 62 miles to Douglas.  My speed goes down to milk a bit more mileage out of the bike as the sun also sets.

US-80 is not what one would call well-traveled.  In fact, it was down-right lonely out there.  I only saw a couple of border patrol vehicles headed the opposite direction between the border and Douglas.

Yep, I made it.  I put 3.9 gallons of gas in what is supposed to be a 3.5 gallon tank.  You know what they say about fools and drunks, right?

I found a great little restaurant in Douglas – the New Grand Café on North Avenue G – recommended.  This place would be right at home in Hollywood from an ambiance perspective, or maybe someplace like Santa Monica.  Very enjoyable.  Good food, lots of Marilyn Monroe photos, and an excellent wait staff.

Spent the night at a Motel 6 that was recommended as being inexpensive (not compared to what I had been paying) and providing what I needed in a motel, i.e., a clean bed and Internet access.  Not recommended.  Yeah, it had WiFi for an extra $2.50, but no in room refrigerator, and was pretty basic.  I didn’t remember Motel 6s being that basic.  Oh well.

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