For two hundred miles out of Marfa we run along a straight road through beautiful desert ranches, paralleling a mountain ridge to the south and getting ever closer to the International border on the other side. This desert is occasionally busy, with huge solar farms, a primary railroad running alongside, and a radar balloon station for watching the border.
Then we pass up and over Paisano Gap into the beautiful Rio Grand valley where for about 50 miles leading into EL Paso we can see the river and the Mexican countryside beyond. We don’t see any wall, but the border patrol is everywhere you look. The biggest impression we get of the border is the numerous trucking terminals hauling what looks like shrink wrapped containers carrying goods into the US or into Mexico. El Paso is where border business gets done.
Then we divert north to spend two nights in Alamogordo NM so we can spend the day at White Sands Nat’l Monument. Sydney’s most fun day ever!
Next day on the road we stop in Tucson to go through the Sagurao National Park, named for the cactus that grow there. But warning lights on the car lead to an unplanned night in a downtown RV park so we can get into the Lexus place early the next day. No real problem though, and with the computer reset we are on the road again out I- 10 through Yuma, up the Imperial Valley, through Palm Springs, and into Joshua Tree.
We are here 4 nights enjoying the quiet nights and dark sky. The days are pristine and warm but at night the mercury falls fast below freezing. Sydney and I do a jaunt into the desert, (what? Me? Map?)and several hours later we stumble out thirsty and tired finding a paved road a couple miles from home where we call Jennifer for a ride.
Sydney wouldn’t speak to me for a while. After that we ride the entire park, drinking in the amazing mountain views and the weathered stone formations that for all the world look like huge boulders just piled atop each other like God’s own survey markers… ‘running thence southwest to a pile of stones in the desert, an old corner…’
We also discover a great Vietnamese restaurant in the town of Yucca Valley that we visit repeatedly. Everywhere nice, friendly people who appear to relish the connections of casual conversation. It’s as if what’s happening in the Country is kept carefully hidden below the surface of everyday living. To me that’s very comfortable to enjoy, but just a little disturbing at the same time.