Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Van Horn, Texas; Mesilla, Rockhound State Park, New Mexico, Willcox, Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona

The picture above is from a mural inside the Fredericksburg,Texas RV Park meeting hall.  We love seeing the murals that are not only indoors , but often on the entire side of a building as you travel through the western towns.

Probably most people do not even give a second thought to Van Horn, Texas. It is a gas stop on Route 10 that always seems to be in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  But in 1930, it was at the crossroads for travelers to Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe, and Carlsbad National Caverns.
The El Capitan Hotel was an instant landmark, designed by architect Henry Trost, influenced by architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

We stayed in town at a Passport America campground(Desert Willows at $13.50 cash).  But if we were looking for a hotel stopover, this was very welcoming. A comfortable bar area and a likewise inviting restaurant.

A humorous sign from the 1930's. Any coffee you want--for 5 cents.

The lounge was also welcoming with the fireplace and Christmas tree.  This link takes you to the webpage. Check out the historical pictures too.
Coming into El Paso, Texas area, the views south off Route 10 show farms and the border for Mexico.  The Rio Grande River, which forms the border between  the U.S. and Mexico runs along the foot of the mountains you see.

This is a very different kind of rest stop along Route 10.  New Mexico puts some time and thought into the stops.

Of course, you should probably pay attention to the signs before  you walk your dog off in the bushes.

By the time you see this sign you are already in New Mexico. At this time, there was a lot of construction coming out of El Paso to this spot.

One of our favorite spots to stop is at Hacienda RV Resort off Route 10. Just west past the intersection of Route 10 Route 25, it is within walking distance of the historic town of Mesilla. The view is of the Organ Mountains from our back window.  We were going to toss this picture because of the lack of focus on the mountains, but it caught our attention with the outline. This view of the Organ Mountains is often used for many paintings.

Many unique homes and yards in Mesilla

One of Jan's favorite stops for olive oil and vinegar.  
At the Rustic Olive this year Jan picked up Lime Olive Oil and Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar and Grapefruit Balsamic Vinegar.

The video above was taken in the historic square, La Plaza de Mesilla. Being a Sunday , close to Christmas, there were a number of vendors present.  Like many squares in the U.S. , one end is dominated by a church, the Basilica San Albino Catholic Church.

We never realized that this area was the largest pecan producing county in the world.  Also worth noting, world famous Hatch chiles are not far from here.

Walking back to the campground, we have to stop at St. Clair Winery.  We had stopped here a few years ago for an appetizer and a glass of wine. This year we were impressed by the menu. Since it was later in the afternoon, the early crowd had thinned out and we had our choice of tables.  Jan had Pesto Pasta with Sauteed Shrimp and Bruce had Steak B√©arnaise.  Both were large servings. The steak was filet mignon , a hearty serving, with wonderful purple and white potato fingerlings, and very slender, tender , shoots of asparagus.  The best filet ever!  The price is amazingly low for the quality and portion that we experienced.
Check out the video and menu.
And yes we did purchase some wine to bring back to Lady Blue.

Heading out to Deming, New Mexico. This pecan orchard was just outside town.

This state park was pictured in the Escapees magazine(see the previous blog posting).

In Deming, New Mexico
We love the design for New Mexico State Parks
Looking at the Florida Mountains just past the Visitors Center in Rockhound State Park

The view from our campsite in Rockhound

A perfect location for the full moon.

A good occasion to try the telephoto lens.
A little fuzzy, but fun.

A selfie of the old folks
A little video from our hike 

Jan  is queen of all she surveys

So-----we did not know any stores in Deming, New Mexico, but we wanted to roast a prime rib in our little Lady Blue oven.  Using Yelp, we saw this picture above and said --"Yeah. that should do it."  The place is El Rey Market and is not a place you might notice if you are new in town.  Bottom line is we chose a 5.6 pound rib roast. We roasted it to a rare-medium rare on Christmas Eve. Had to be the best we ever had!!!  Thanks El  Rey.
We move into Arizona and are greeted with a fabulous sunset in Willcox.

Jan and I are always happy to visit one of our favorites.
Kartchner Caverns State Park in Benson, Arizona
Kartchner Caverns website

A rocky and sometimes difficult hike.
Some great views
This was our route around on the Foothills Loop Trail

The view from the trail includes cars on Route 90 , Tombstone, Arizona and mountains in Mexico

A small ground flower along the trail.
This was the view from Lady Blue's back window on Christmas morning.
The day after Christmas we see snow up in the hills, hail showers, and temperatures in the 30's.

And---at the end of our stay. In between snow flurries, hail and rain showers, we are blessed with a wonderful rainbow against the contrasting clouds and valley and distant mountains.

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