We left Balmorhea heading west on I10 past the merge with I20 coming in from the north. Suddenly we went from a reasonable traffic level to massive truck congestion. It is hilly heading for El Paso and none of these trucks can manage a steady speed. 70 mph down the hills, 55 mph (at best) going up. And if one is trying for a steady speed, say 64 mph, it is like Bumper Cars. So we just back off a bit or speed up and pass a clump of trucks.
The garbage dump that is El Paso starts about 30 miles before you get there. Trash everywhere along the sides of the road, run down houses and ranches. Rusted out cars and trucks abandoned where they stopped running. And then El Paso itself is 30 miles of construction, lane shifts, uneven lanes, big changes in speeds and as many cars and trucks as will physically fit on the roadway most exceeding the speed limit by 10-20 mph. We just get in the lane next to the right lane to avoid all of the on and off traffic and stay there. Keeping up (posted) speed is no problem except for the speeders. There were a lot of 12′ wide lanes. That gives us about 16″ on each side.
And even more constuction is going on building the Trump Taj Mah Wall. Miles of black rusting steel or concrete walls with every scrap of vegetation scraped off on the northern side and what looked like surveilance towers every hundred yards or so and lots of border patrol cars. All designed to keep us in.
Good thing we didn’t have to stay, just get through it. We had to go through three Border Patrol check points so far in Texas and Arizona. No stops in New Mexico. We might not like the current immigration policies but these folks are doing a job that someone else designed for them to do. Just like the folks at the airports. They were all courteous and businesslike. Asked the questions they needed to ask and we were on our way. Pictures taken of us and the coach at every stop. They all had on body armor and weapons nearby. It has to be a miserable job out in the middle of the desert in the heat. I wish their job was not mandated by politics. I wish they could all be teachers or home builders or anything else that would benefit society in a positive way.
We were headed for Leasburg Dam State Park about 20 miles north of Las Cruces. Shortly after entering New Mexico there are cattle feed lots on the south side of the Interstate, one after another. Some separated by irrigated fields growing cattle feed. There is little different here than there was just 50 miles to the east in Texas. But being in New Mexico just felt better. Every bridge is a work of art. Everything looked cleaner. Somehow we felt much more at ease.
This is another very nice New Mexico Stare Park. Good water and 30 amp power. And the New Mexico Sky. The Leasburg State Park is only $14 per night as are all of the NM State Parks. The low dam is on the Rio Grande River to create a pool for irrigation of more than 31,000 acres. There are huge pecan orchards, fields of chile peppers, alfalfa, cotton, onions and corn. And vinyards and wine making is important as well.
The water was mostly being routed around the dam while they were rebuilding part of it. There were lots of hiking trails and day use areas for this small park visited by more than 110,000 people each year.
It was cool at night and warm during the day. Just across the river was the town of Radium Springs. Very few still living in that glowing spot.
We stopped here so we could take a day trip to White Sands National Monument.
More on that later,
Roger and Susan