It’s day 19 on our trip across the US and this morning we woke up in Austin to get on the road early again on our way to Alamogordo.
It was interesting how the scenery changed as we left Austin. The terrain got more arid as we drove further west. The ground was flat and there were very few trees, mostly just low lying scrub. Eventually though we started to see these rocky outcrops and mountains start to rise from the plains – the kind of thing you see in a Western. By this time we were in true cactus country.
We stopped in Fort Stockton for lunch after a long morning of driving. It didn’t look like there was a lot in town. If we had turned South here, we could have made it to Big Bend National Park, but it was a 1.5 hour drive so we didn’t have time today. Instead we pulled into BienVenito Mexican restaurant for lunch.
We were so close to the Mexican border, of course we had to have it for lunch. We shared a main and it was plenty for us.
After lunch we naturally had to try and find the old fort in town. The history dates back to the 1860s and was occupied until the mid 1880s. The attraction was the local Comanche Springs which was a crucial source of fresh water for the region. We walked around the fort and saw some of the architecture. You can pay to have a more detailed tour but we didn’t have much time.
In town you may come across Paisano Pete, the giant road runner stature that was erected in 1980. When we were in town he was all dressed up for Christmas.
We stopped in at Dairy Queen to enjoy some ice cream before getting on the road again.
Getting Close To Mexico
There was more spectacular scenery to enjoy throughout the afternoon as the terrain became more mountainous. We watched a beautiful sunset as we climbed the freeway through the rocky peaks.
In the evening as we got closer to El Paso we could see lights to the south of big towns and realised we were looking into Mexico.
A Close Brush With The Law
In the outskirts of El Paso we turned North towards Alamogordo and entered New Mexico. We ended up at a check point which was a bit of a surprise. Unfortunately the ICE personnel at the checkpoint weren’t all to familiar with the E3 Visa I had. They only let me through because we had our marriage certificate showing I was married to a US citizen. I guess he had a long day but he seemed pretty sure that I was overstaying my visa, even though there was a valid E3 in my passport and I had an ESTA waiver. Always a good idea to make sure you have as much paperwork as possible when traveling through the states that border Mexico! Thankfully we were free to go and I wasn’t deported.
Alamogordo, New Mexico
We made it into Alamogordo in the dark. It’s a small military town on the edge of the Tularoso Basin. We’d need to take time to explore over the coming days as we were too exhausted tonight. We were staying with Danielle’s brother. They had homemade pizza ready for us when we arrived.
It had been a long day and it was time to rest!