We were greeted in the morning by a brilliant sunrise.
We stayed at Poncho Villa State Park
. From the website:
TRAVEL THROUGH TIME
The park is located on the grounds of former Camp Furlong from where Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing launched 10,000 troops on an 11-month, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico. The Exhibit Hall tells the story that begins with the 1910 Mexican Revolution and ends with Pershing’s command of the Allied Forces when the U.S. entered World War I.
Through donations and funds appropriated by the New Mexico Legislature in 1999, Pancho Villa State Park acquired expedition-era examples of the vehicles and technology employed by Pershing and his men. The Exhibit Hall contains a full-size replica Curtiss JN-3 “Jenny” airplane used by the 1st Aero Squadron; a 1916 Dodge touring car, the type used by Pershing for a field office; historic artifacts; military weapons and ribbons. An armored tank stands as a sentinel outside the facility.
With only rudimentary initial instructions, military recruits were given orders to drive vehicles and fly the airplanes, which had not been previously tested at high altitudes. As a result, equipment modernization and mechanical specialization during the 1916-1917 expedition period proved essential to U.S. military success during World War I.
At the time of the raid Columbus was the largest city in New Mexico at around 20,000 population. The above does not mention that 38 townspeople were killed in the raid. General Pershing chased Villa some 300 miles into Mexico before the expeditionary force ran out of fuel. They learned a lot about logistics for a mechanized force. The ruins are preserved among the campsites.
This jackrabbit was a more recent casualty. Looks like he bought it in full run.
You really don't want to crash into one of these.
We took advantage of the early morning cool air to do some basic maintenance since this was about the half way point in our trip. Perry had a spare 1057 bulb so I fixed my tail light. Air pressure and oil levels checked. A general survey for loose parts; non found. However I found this in the radiator shroud of my DRZ.
Poor little guy should have flapped when he fluttered.
We hit town for breakfast and had to stop at the Pancho Villa Cafe. One of the two eateries in town.
We sat next to a couple of border patrol officers. It was like being in Mexico with the same language barriers with the cook/waiter. She did not speak English and I had to use the little food ordering Spanish that I know to make due. As we were waiting a local Sheriff Deputy and a police officer joined the crowd. As my coffee ran low the police officer served as waiter and she refiled by cup. I like this town. Food was great. The officer told us about the local FD and encouraged us to pay a visit so we did.
Nice folks with a huge job as volunteers. We talked to the Chief for around half an hour. He said around 70% of their calls are medical for illegals. He specifically mentioned how they cross the border and call 911 for a ride to the hospital to have their babies in the US. The feds just built a new school for the area and send buses into Mexico to pick up all the minor US citizens to take them to school. Your tax dollars at work. He is a little frustrated as he has to scrape for funding to continue the call volume that they have. Every quarter they come close to running out and have to go in search of funds to run their two ambulance and staff the fire trucks. He did mention the violence from the drug cartels. He feels the focus on Arizona and in El Paso are starting to funnel the bad guys towards his neighborhood. He mentioned there were six human heads found in the town square across the border where the cartels were sending some kind of message. He has concerns. Good luck to them.
It was around 1000 when we finally got on the road heading east on Hwy 9 to El Paso. Long straight road that goes very near the border. We could see the fence about two hundred yards to our right in many spots.
As we neared El Paso we were met by a National Guard convoy heading out to deploy somewhere. Humvees with gun mounts and small armored vehicles. There were around a dozen in the convoy. On the eastern edge of El Paso one of the armored vehicles was watching the intersection. We had to stop so we got a photo.
Coming into El Paso Perry was no longer following me. I backtracked and couldn't find him. I stopped and turned on my phone and retrieved a message saying he had to stop for a broken clutch cable. He had one pre-routed and was making the swap out. I backtracked farther and found him under a shade tree working on the swap.
El Paso is huge. I tried to come up with a route that would get us through with the least suffering. While playing around on Mapsource I found a road call scenic drive that skirted the northern edge of town. That sounded good and it was. In the middle there was a nice overlook high above the town.
We spent several light cycles stuck behind this as we passed through some road construction.
We could easily see across the border and could see the traffic jam on IH 10 eastbound. Glad we went around that as the temps were in the higher 80's.
As we got to the east side of town we stopped to fill up with gas. I pulled up next to a guy riding a very nice Victory and started up a conversation. I asked if he knew of a good place to eat close to there. He gave directions to a local joint that ended in "next to the fire station". I mentioned we could find that since we were firefighters and he says he is one too. Cool. I say we are from Austin and he says his brother is an Austin Firefighter. He give the name and sure enough we know him. Small world indeed. Here is the place he recommended; our type of place.
Lunch done we made our way into the wilderness east of El Paso.
Next: Timberon and Cloudcroft