American Road Trip

Trip Start Oct 19, 2009
Trip End Mar 09, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We had been successfully avoiding all the cold winter that you have all been suffering at home, however during the last few days we have had some extremely cold weather. We continued our journey through Arizona and into New Mexico. We spent a few days in Las Cruces, not much to see there but a good centre for travelling. We decided to take a trip down to El Paso which is on the Mexican border. This was a strange experience. A fence separates the two countries and an open bridge is the crossing point. Cars were queued up 3 abreast to come into the US and buses take tourists from the US into Mexico. We decided not to take that trip and spent a little time walking round the town. A very dreary place with cheap shops and cafes.
We did visit the Border Patrol Museum where we learned all about the efforts being made to reduce illegal immigration and stop the activities of drug smugglers. This work was brought home to us the next day when we were stopped at a checkpoint on the road and a Border Patrol officer checked our passports.
The scenery all around was wonderful, rich red earth, high mountains and cliffs. We have driven many miles over the last days and have not tired of the ever changing views we have seen.
We moved on from Las Cruces and arrived in Albuquerque. This is a lovely town with an historic centre full of lovely old Spanish style buildings and filled with art shops and jewellery made by Indian craftsmen. Some beautiful things to look at.
The weather in the town was sunny and warm with beautiful blue skies. We drove up into the mountains and watched the temperature drop dramatically. We climbed to 10,000 ft. and were well above the snow line. The snow was deep and very crisp, it was a great sight.  Looking down into the valley there was no snow to be seen. The whole area was teeming with families sledging and people skiing and snowboarding. We wrapped up well and walked through the snow and enjoyed the views and clear air.
Back down to Albuquerque and we walked around the area called Nob Hill, lots of unusual shops and eating places as well as the main campus of the University of New Mexico.
The next day was spent driving to Amarillo, just over the border in Texas. A long drive with only one stop for a late breakfast, not a great choice of place, we were the only strangers in town! It was an all you can eat buffet and some of the customers had been there for some time taking full advantage, we beat a hasty retreat. We drove through falling snow and it was very cold. When we arrived at our hotel the temp was -4 and the car park was piled high with snow. We decided not to venture far during the evening so went to the cinema next door. We saw Crazy Heart which we both enjoyed, the evening was only slightly marred by the young man giving us senior tickets!
The next morning was just as cold so we passed a happy hour in Barnes and Noble, a huge bookshop with a Starbucks and lots of sofas and chairs where you can sit with a pile of books from the shelves and browse.  We have the day a little time to warm up a little and then set off to walk in the Palo Duro Canyon, second only in size to the Grand Canyon. Although it was cold it was a perfect day for walking. The land around the canyon is flat but once down inside the rock formation is stunning. It is an area which was inhabited by the Apache and  Comanche Indians and it was easy to imagine them living there.
Over the last few days we have driven nearly 900 miles. The plains of Texas are very flat and at this time of year there is very little growing in any of the fields. We have been well entertained by Classic Vinyl on the radio which is played on a loop which repeats every few hours. Come back Terry Wogan!
We are now in San Antonio and are in a city centre hotel. From our first look around it seems to be a very lively place with plenty to do. Tomorrow we have booked tickets to go to the Rodeo which id followed by a country music concert. When in Rome!
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E & I on

As you say - when in Rome! Probably too early for the Blue Bonnets (wild flowers) to be in bloom.
Enjoy the Alamo and some Mex Tex food.
-6c here this monring and the ski slopes call......
Have a good day...

Muriel on

Just back from a quick catch up with the girls. We were trying to remember your date of return. It seems to have flown. You're experiences sound fabulous. Enjoy the next stage. love Mu x

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