El Paso to Columbus NM
Today was a housekeeping day. There is a great laundermat about 2-miles from “our” Walmart. Clean and large with machines that work. We happily found we still had ~8 dollars on the card we had loaded the last time we were here.
After two hours of washing and drying we moved down the street to the Vista Central Market where we loaded up on some local foods – guacamole, fresh produce, pulled pork, smoked brisket, nacho cheese…
The trip heading west took us through the Franklin Mountains. We reminisced about a hike we had taken there about 6 years ago. The hike took us to a saddle on the mountain, but when we reached the saddle we were almost blown back down the mountain. We had a lot of wind today because of the winter weather moving into Texas. Fortunately, we are just far enough west and south to be avaoiding the cold and ice.
Once again the drive along route 9 to Columbus was through dry,shrubby land. There were quite a few cacti and Soaptree yucca. On route 9 we are very close to the Mexican border. At one point we took a short (less than 200 yards) road down to the border to “the wall.” The last time we were through here the border wall was just a barbed wire fence. Quite a change. Unlike last time, we saw few border patrol officers sitting on the side of the road. We suspect that the border wall is cutting down on the traffic that they are trying to intercept.
We landed at Poncho Villa State Park. It is located on an old US military facility and is the site of the last attack on the continental US by a foreign entity in 1916. The attack resulted in the death of some civilians and wounding of soldiers. The US army crossed the border in pursuit of the attackers but never caught them
the camp ground is several gravel loops with stands of cacti and some trees. Each site has its own ramada and fire ring. About q/2 of the sites are electric — in fact, our site, 52, has two electric boxes. There is a dump and comfort stations, but both are currently not in operation as they are “having trouble with their septic system.” The small museum is temporariLy closed as was the park office. We spoke with the ranger as he was working outside and we were looking at the checkin board.
Before dinner we walked up to Coyotes Hill for a view of the surroundings and Mexico. Again there was a strong wind, but nothing like the Franklin Mountains.