For all you fans of Daisy's, Corita's, and Paul's travels in a twenty-three-footer, sad news. The freaking blog company (we think Google) has made some adjustments in the software and we can't upload our photos. Dozens of other bloggers have complained of the same problem and Google is offering no response or solution. So we will do our blog without photos. Ain't that a hoot. And we know how much you love our photos since they are damn near award-winning. Plus we have some beauties so far on this trip.
First off, on Friday we left Green Valley (southern AZ) for what's turned into an annual trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. We are writing this a full day later on Saturday evening in Van Horn, Texas, sitting in an RV park in our little 23-foot Lance travel trailer with the side slider. We will no longer be able to refer to it as the all-new for 2010 as the manufacturer has come up with a 2011 model that makes this one look like a Model T. So we will simply refer to this now as the "Lance A Less" instead of the "Lance A Lot". Get it? You probably don't. But hell, we've had a few glasses of wine. The dog is snoring but still can't drown out the big rigs flying down I-10.
Our first day along this interstate took us some 225 miles east of Green Valley to one of the garden spots of America: Deming, New Mexico. We encountered two dust storms, lots of highway construction, one accident and a rattlesnake at a rest stop. We picked the rattlesnake up by its tail, put it in a WalMart plastic sack and threw it in the trailer. Don't know what we were thinking but we've never had a rattlesnake before so we thought this would be cool. Oh, by the way, a Union Pacific freight train is rumbling by us now, about 500 feet away. That's on one side. Then on the other you have big rigs zooming by non-stop. Lord, how we love these road trips. But we digress...back to the snake.
We decided to pull over to make sure that the rattlesnake was still in that plastic bag but wouldn't you know it. It somehow freed itself. And as we write this we have yet to find the rattlesnake. It's somewhere in this trailer. It's about three feet long, about as big around as a hot dog and loves to snap at people. But we're not worried since we live with snakes, scorpions, javelinas, bobcats, mountain lions, and legions of illegals: it's all part of God's glorious plan.
Anyone have any idea where a snake might be hiding in the Lance-A-Less? We've looked everywhere. We keep listening for a yelp from Daisy. She'll find it.
Oh, did we tell you about Deming, New Mexico? We were there once for a TV assignment on a big farming and ranching infomercial called "America's Heartland" (which, by the way, is still on the air)....where were we going with that? Oh...yeah...Paul and the cameraman got really excited about Deming which is something like America's watermelon and chile capital. Well, what drove them nuts was seeing a dwarf walking the streets of this dusty little burg. And for whatever reason Paul still gets a laugh out of going and looking for the Deming dwarf. Had one sighting about four years ago but haven't seen the little bugger since.
Have we offended you yet? Stick with us. We will.
Deming has a promotional campaign going on that encourages you to "visit, stay, and explore Deming". Oh yeah. Short of the dwarf (no pun intended), I would shoot straight on through to Las Cruces, another New Mexico piece of work.
From Las Cruces, however, it's just a short hop, skip and a stumble to the Texas border town of El Paso, gateway to Juarez, Mexico, North America's shooting gallery. Juarez literally butts up against El Paso. The only thing separating the two cities is the Rio Grande which is nothing more than a concrete ditch. Oh yeah.
Anyway, El Paso is where you begin a nearly one thousand mile trek across what Paul considers to be America's sorriest damn state in the lower 48. (Disclaimer: I'm typing this under duress. I like Texas.) Now we'll grant you, there are a few bright spots: Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin. But beyond that, the Governor, one Rick Perry, needs to visit well-traveled I-10 across his state and see what a collection of garbage this place has become. Gov. Perry, like so many other governors in this great country of ours, has concentrated most of his economic efforts in the big cities. And those big cities are doing just fine for the most part. It's the little out-of-the-way places such as Pecos (see our blog from 2009) that desperately need economic help. But he probably doesn't give a rat's butt because the votes ain't there.
IS THERE NO PRIDE IN AMERICA ANYMORE? Can't these Texans who pride themselves with the slogan "Don't Mess With Texas" see that it's already one hell of a mess?
We have always liked Texas (I still do). Have spent a lot of time here producing travel stories helping to promote tourism during the 1980s and 90s. What the hell has happened since? They can blame it on border violence, insecurity, the economy, President Obama, Janet Napolitano, the alignment of the planets, or the decline in Palin's popularity but Rick Perry is governor and he is failing miserably. Thank you very much. (Paul is dictating this, remember?)
Well, tonight we sit in Van Horn, Texas in an RV park pancaked between trucks roaring down I-10 to our south and Union Pacific freight trains to our north. Van Horn is a town struggling to maintain its dignity. It used to be a thriving farming, ranching and railroad town with the main cross-state artery pulsing right through its center. Now the interstate has bypassed it along with passenger trains. These days it's the domain of RVers and a few other road- weary travelers stopping at the hotels and restaurants and campgrounds that are left. Granted, you can say that about many places in the U.S.. But Van Horn sits in the middle of nowhere. It's the only stop for one hundred miles in either direction. And it is worth your time and effort to spend some time and maybe overnight here. If you're camping, consider the Mountain View RV Park. Looks like a better place than the park we ended up at.
By the way, one of sportscaster John Madden's favorite stops on his cross-country motorcoach trips is here in Van Horn: a restaurant called "Chuy's". Good quality standard Mexican food and fun to visit. A few blocks down the street is El Capitan, a restored Spanish-inspired hotel where cattle ranchers and train travelers rubbed shoulders back in the 1930s. An elegant spot where a room for two with breakfast will set you back a hundred bucks. Look it up.
And as a testimonial to the people of Van Horn we crossed over the railroad tracks where we saw a sign with a large Marine Corps emblem on it. The sign said "We will take down this sign when these men come home. " The three men referred to were a Marine sergeant, a lieutenant and captain serving in Afghanistan. Flags fly around town in support of these men and the troops in general. And that's the way these out-of-the-way places are. They offer up what what so many others only give lip service to. For instance, O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Savage and the rest of that ilk. This from Paul, an ex-Marine.
Toward the end of the day we pulled into a gas station and saw a homeless man with a scruffy little dog sitting nearby. Daisy had lots of treats in the truck which she wouldn't eat. We offered them to the man for his dog. Damn near as cute as Daisy (the dog, not the man). A little terrier mix that showed up at his campsite in October. They've been inseparable ever since. We have become bleeding hearts for situations like this and so felt very good that we able to help in some little way. Plus it's Lent.
Anyway, getting back to the title of this blog and in hopes that Governor Rick Perry actually reads this, which we doubt. Forget your "Don't Mess With Texas" promotion since you are messing it up enough.
Tomorrow, we're off to Big Bend Country, south of Van Horn. Hopefully we'll find the Texas we once found and not the rattlesnake we lost.
So stay tuned. More offending comments to follow. We'll even take on some of those self-important damn liberal-progressives.
I think I just heard a rattle. Uh-oh...