A sharp, bright morning dawned, with that dusting of snow still clutching to the shady spots. Such a clear sky, so unfair! Anyway, onwards.
Our route took us across country to eventually join the I-10 again, the road was almost deserted and gave us a feeling of being free and out on our own. If I thought the tumbleweed was tricky, I was to be out witted again. That pesky roadrunner was just too fast! Had we not seen the 11’ high statue in Fort Stockton, we might not have recognised the bird that scooted across the road in front of us, only to disappear into the scrub before I’d even got the lense cover off! The coyote we saw later along the road wasn’t quite so fast, in fact he was dead so still no picture. Today was Feb 14th , how fitting that we should travel through Valentine ( I think Malc planned the route specially!) though I have to say it certainly wasn’t a romantic location. Like so many we have driven through it was not a place you would want to live, isolated and shabby, many plots littered with the detritus of life. To be fair some homesteads are neat and well kept but they are not the ones you remember. However the drive was enjoyable, there is something about travelling a long road that stretches into the never ending distance, seeing the mountains roll by and a new vista unfold before you. Every day’s a new adventure. And nothing makes an RV driver happier than seeing his petrol consumption go up, imagine the delight when after a long period of getting about 6.5 to the gallon whilst climbing the hills, to see those little digits do some climbing of their own. I didn’t need to give Malc anything for Valentine…he was a happy boy! It was an ever-changing view from Bree’s window; we drove through scrubland mostly, but did see a pecan orchard and where irrigation allowed some crop farming. Once we hit the interstate again we came back to reality. This stretch was much busier than the portion before Fort Stockton. A multitude of lorries & trucks thundered by with seemingly no regard for life nor limb, once again we witnessed the constant stream of RV’s on the opposite side of the road. You can’t help thinking you are going the wrong way when so many others are seemingly swimming downstream! As we entered the wide Rio Grande valley, the Mexican settlements to our left became more and more prominent. Too far distant to make out individual houses they were none the less evident after such a barren landscape. The closer to El Paso we got, the busier the road became. The built up area is vast, together with its Mexican counterpart, Juarez on the south bank of the river it houses close on 2 million people, not quite the sleepy western outpost I had expected! The campsite is quite the opposite of the last, packed, impersonal and bare, but it serves a purpose. It’s just on the outskirts of the city, downtown is about 12 miles away, but convenient. The I-10 runs relentlessly through, with its skin of the usual motels and restaurants clinging tightly to it; though now it is clothed in car dealerships, trading estates, factory outlets and the like. Oh, on the way we saw what we assumed to be a ”rain storm “ in the distance to the south, thankfully we managed to escape it, however it dropped its cargo of snow on El Paso before we arrived! So much for staying warm…we have crossed another time zone though, we’re now on “mountain time” and are currently 7 hours behind the UK.