Well, by now we have become intimately acquainted with El Paso. For a while there, I thought we were relocating to this border city.
We arrived late afternoon, having driven through yet another day of dust storms. In New Mexico, they are more daring. They don’t tell you to take a detour while they close the road. They just tell you to be cautious. The same seems to go for Texas. Daring folks, I tell you!
So after several hours of keeping Roadie steady, me sneezing from the dust, we pulled into our campsite in El Paso. Our evening went well enough as the winds finally died down around 8pm. We woke up to a cool but bright day. With all that clean laundry, we thought it would be a great way to celebrate by enjoying the indoor pool. Besides, the showers were stinky. So we had a lovely swim and showered outside by the pool. Not bad at all.
Our next stop was Fort Bliss, a very large army base, where Leon hoped to visit the museum. Now getting into a base down here is like entering a foreign country. We brought out our passports and drivers’ licence and waited while the nice men at the counter checked us out. We were issued a 30 day pass, so we were good to go!
I was rather amazed by the size of the base. It’s a full city in itself. Leon said there are thousands of people who work there. We found the museum and walked around at our leisure, learning all about the US Heavy Artillery Division named Old Ironsides. We also learned quite a bit about the history of the area, why El Paso was of such strategic importance and all about the fight to gain the future states of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico as US territory.
After a quick stop for lunch, we drove towards the gates hearing a horrible noise coming from our poor Roadie. Not able to drive more than a few metres, Leon parked safely and walked to the security gate to call a tow truck while I waited in the camper. Did I tell you I like to crochet when we travel?
A big, burly truck driver drove up in his big, burly towtruck and took us and Roadie to the nearest Midas shop, with which we have had several encounters. Our beloved Roadie is getting old and unfortunately requires new wheel bearings more frequently than I need to go pee. What can I say? Roadie is just old. Twenty-five years old, actually. Perhaps we need to get it something made of silver?
Well anyway, we ended up having to take a hotel room for the night. The room wasn’t so bad. The only restaurant nearby was a Sports Bar called Hiney’s (yes, as in your behind, tushie, butt). It’s a poor man’s Hooters, if there is such a thing. Each table was equipped with its own TV, so we got to watch CNN while we ate. I know that doesn’t sound very glamourous, but we never watch TV when we travel with Roadie, so it was a bit of a treat.
The next morning we had hoped to get on our way rather quickly, but sadly had to wait in the room until it was check out time, then in the reception until my stomach started to growl, then at the Denny’s where they tried to serve me a gluten filled gluten-free lunch and then back at the hotel reception. The hours dragged on with only our laptops and the internet to keep us company. Well at least I caught up on my blogging. And I had Leon’s excellent company too!
Finally, after 3pm, we were able to retrieve Roadie and get on our way. Our destination was just 2 hours east in Van Horn, Texas. It might have been a lovely town once, but it’s a bit tired now. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a quiet evening in Roadie, making plans for the continued travels.
At some point in the evening, I checked my watch, my computer and my phone. Each one had a different time. Odd! The oddest was my watch which had completely stopped a few minutes earlier, in spite of a new battery which was installed just 2 weeks ago. I truly felt like I was in a twilight zone moment.
This morning, my watch was working again and both the computer and the phone agreed on the correct time. We got on the road and immediately noticed an odd noise from the left front wheel. Not again!!!
Leon pulled over at the nearest garage where the mechanic took the tire off and had to tighten the wheel. We were able to drive about 500 km after that but as we parked this evening, we could hear the left wheel lamenting. Sheesh!!! Are we ever going to get to the coast?