May 19, 2022 Carlsbad, NM to El Paso, TX

I went to bed a little earlier than usual. We were both wiped out from our walk today. However, we both got up earlier than usual. Bob wanted to take care of some banking business and I wanted to work on my blog from yesterday. All that fun wore me out! We were packed up and ready to leave by 9:30. It was 94 by 10:00. We took Highway 180 out of the campground southwest towards El Paso. The first 20 miles of the drive on 180 was the way we went to the park yesterday, but after that everything was new to us. The road went on and on for about 30 miles with “nothingness”. There was little to no traffic on this highway.

The sky was very smoky today because the winds were out of the northwest blowing smoke from the forest fires burning in the central part of the state towards us. It would have been great to see the Guadalupe Mountains through clearer skies.

We crossed the border into Texas around 10:00.

The Guadalupe Mountains paralleled the highway for many miles.

Thirty-five miles of this highway is designated as “scenic highway” and it took us through the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

This area was definitely more scenic!

We went over a pass with an elevation of 5695 ft.

From there, we got our first view of Guadalupe Peak.

We reached the top of the pass when Bob got a low tire warning. Luckily, there was a wayside right there, so we could stop to check it out. Thank goodness it was a false reading, but we had to stop to be safe. Up on top of the pass it was cooler, but quite breezy. I was able to get a closer look at Guadalupe Peak from the wayside.

Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in Texas at 8717 ft. in elevation. It reminded me a little of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We started our way down the other side of the pass and got great mileage on the “down side”.

We could still see Guadalupe Peak for many miles in the distance.

Once we got down to the valley, we saw fields of wheat growing in this agricultural area. Go figure!

Out in the distance, we could see this area of white where the sign said “beware of blowing dust”.

As we got closer, it looked more like white sand, but what we discovered was that they were salt flats. The Salt Flats are the remnants of a one-time salt water sea millions of years in the making. Most of the year it is dry and unremarkable, but a significant amount of rain can transform it into a lake. We learned that in the 1600’s the Indians and Hispanic community harvested the salt.

In the valley, there was more “nothingness”. There were 3 towns listed on the map, but they were so small that if you blinked, you’d miss them. Down on the flats, we had a pretty strong head wind and there wasn’t must to look at. As we neared El Paso, the scenery became more interesting.

We arrived in El Paso at noon and had to go through the east side town to get to the campground.

We are staying at the El Paso Roadrunner RV Park just off of I-10 on the outskirts of town. Our overall gas mileage for the entire drive of 160 miles today was only 7.8 mpg. That was the worst we’ve gotten so far because of the wind today. It was a hard drive for Bob having to fight the wind since we came over the pass.

We were given site #34. This campground is nothing to speak of—a lot of dirt and no grass, but it will suffice for 2 nights.

A few more campers arrived after we did. We hung out in the AC and decided to have an “indoor” meal since we had no picnic table to put our grill on. We took Auggie for his walk around the campground as the sun was going down. Many of the campers are “live-aboards” (an old boating term) which means they live here in their RVs. Most of the license plates say Texas, but there are a few from other states. Our neighbors are visitors from Arizona on one side and Washington state on the other side. Tomorrow we’ll do some sightseeing and go see “The Wall”. We’re hoping to find a restaurant that serves those Navaho fry bread tacos that we like.

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