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Mountains near Van Horn, Texas

We got a late start this morning.  However we will enter the Mountain Time Zone and that gives us back the time we lazily lost.


As soon as we left Fort Stockton the terrain changed.  It became flat as could be to the North and is covered by what appears to be sagebrush.  To the South, in the distance, rise the Davis Mountains.  These are the location of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory.  We had originally scheduled in a visit to this important site, but my illness forced a cancellation and change of itinerary.  We will, I hope, come back to West Texas and the Hill Country one day.

Unusual desert flowers and seed pods
  It is a wonderful area.  All of the Texans we have met have been so friendly.  I may not agree with them politically (Red State while I am from a Blue), but I certainly enjoy their company.


As I am writing in my paper journal prior to posting on this blog, the scenery has made some changes.  The land we are traveling on is almost 3,500 feet in altitude.  There is no humidity, the air is cool and I am smiling because I am back in the Far West.  There are mountains rising in the distance.  That makes my heart sing.  Mountains are my favorite places.  Although there are pine trees in the coastal regions of the South, they do not have that wonderful way of perfuming the air that one finds in the mountains.  The sound of wind flowing through pine needles is as soothing as that of a creek or river rushing through rapids.

Yucca leaves


The mountains near Van Horn, Texas, are not pine-covered.  They are covered with sage and mesquite.  In many ways the terrain reminds me of the Pearblossom Highway between Palmdale and Victorville in California.  Sage and yucca predominate.  The mountains are not especially tall, but at least they are made by Mother Nature.  In Florida, beautiful as it is, the highest elevation is the debris pile from Homestead after Hurricane Andrew ripped that community to pieces. 


We made a stop at the last rest area in Texas on I-10.

The Ladies Room at I-10 rest area in Texas
  As usual it was cleverly designed and very well cared for.  The restrooms themselves were open to the sky (sorry for the description of this type of place, but it really was beautiful) in part and with a mosaic of a Spanish-style mission in the ladies’ side.  Jag said the men’s side had the Texas star.  I had to take a photograph of the gals' side.  There were some beautiful yucca plants growing there as well.


We quickly went through El Paso, stopped at the New Mexico Welcome Center (now do you really think we would miss that?) and reached Las Cruces and our motel, the Comfort Inn, about 3 PM.  The room is comfortable.  The bathroom is for handicapped people and I asked whether they would rather we be in a different room, but they said it would be okay.

"Sam and Mira" are welcomed to the Land of Enchantment
  They have others.  Like last night’s room, this is a Choice Hotel and, because of our use of that group on this trip, it is free.  That is a big help to us.


We had some very nice Middle Eastern food for dinner at a restaurant named International Delights.  It is a simple place where you order your food at a counter and they bring it to your table.  It was very reasonably priced and quite good.  I had shawerma which is very thinly sliced lamb or beef served in pita bread with some lettuce, tomatoes, yogurt and a red spicy sauce that I cannot remember the name of!  It is sort of a Middle Eastern taco and it is really yummy.  The Greeks have something very similar called gyros (pronounced yeeros).  Jag had a chicken kabob that he said was pretty good.  That is a compliment from him and comes rarely.


Tomorrow should be a lot of fun.  We will visit the Amerind Foundation on our way to Tucson and Green Valley.  Best of all will be seeing some special friends from my days running the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.  We haven't seen each other for almost 20 years.  How could the time have flown by so fast?  Because we will be with friends for the next few days, I apologize in advance, if I cannot find the polite time to post to this blog. 

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Mountains near Van Horn, Texas
Mountains near Van Horn, Texas
Unusual desert flowers and seed po…
Unusual desert flowers and seed p…
Yucca leaves
Yucca leaves
The Ladies Room at I-10 rest area …
The Ladies Room at I-10 rest area…
Sam and Mira are welcomed to the…
"Sam and Mira" are welcomed to th…
Sam & Mira ride in the cart
"Sam & Mira" ride in the cart
Fountain at New Mexico Welcome Cen…
Fountain at New Mexico Welcome Ce…
Sam, Mira and Ajja
"Sam, Mira" and Ajja
Las Cruces
photo by: furiousfowl