Friday, May 19, 2006

Lovers' Lane

We are just north of El Paso, at what must be the only roadside picnic area in all of Texas that does not permit overnight stays (map).  Actually, that's an exaggeration -- we've seen other picnic areas clearly marked as disallowing them.  The sign which was supposed to inform us of this fact here is gone -- only the signpost remains.

I know all of this because we had a visit from the sheriff's department last night around midnight.  Now my first clue should have been that, shortly after dark, an inordinate number of cars began showing up.  Apparently, due to the relative seclusion and the spectacular view of the city lights far below, this parking area is popular with El Paso youths looking for a place to, ahem, hang out.  They were relatively quiet (other than one couple who had their stereo turned up a bit) and did not disturb us.  All of the cars left right around 11:30ish -- clearly already familiar with the protocol.

A while later, while I sat here surfing the net, the spotlight of a patrol car was unceremoniously aimed at our penthouse window.  I went outside and had a nice chat with Deputy Becerra (sp?) of the Sheriff's department.  Apparently, the area "closes" at 11:30, presumably to deter criminal activity.  The entire area was recently cleaned up and painted, but the highway department has not gotten around to replacing the sign stipulating the closed hours.  She did show me the empty signpost.

After determining our intentions, the deputy decided it was probably not in anyone's best interest to make us "move along" at such a late hour, and, since she was just coming on shift and would be on this beat all night, she decided to let us stay, and that she would keep an eye out to ensure that no one else took our presence here to mean that the rules had changed.

After picking up our mail yesterday, we followed I-10 to just west of Las Cruces, then turned south onto NM292 and NM28, which follow the Rio Grande.  We were hoping to find a nice spot along the river to stop for the night, but the entire valley is private land, mostly (somewhat to our pleasant surprise) pecan orchards.  We crossed the river onto TX375, which skirts around El Paso to the north, at the penalty of crossing a pretty hefty grade.  This rest area, which is not marked on our maps, was in a handy spot (or so we thought) right at the mile-high summit, and the immaculate cleanliness along with the view persuaded us to stop here.

Today we will head downgrade to the east, curve back around to the south and connect again with I-10 east of El Paso, just in time to hit the FlyingJ for a much-needed fuel stop.

1 comment:

  1. Seems like you guys and my folks are travelling about the same route. They grabbed a pic of Odyssey in Globe

    We loved the Marfa and Ft. Davis area; be sure to see the Observatory just north of Ft. Davis.


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