Day 2 – Tuesday, June 30th – El Paso, TX

By Gennadiy Kofman

We woke up pretty early at about 6 oclock and already packed and left at about 6:30. The temperature at the time was about 91 degrees. It's a tough realization cause the temperature never goes down during the summer. However, since it was low humidity, it actually didn't feel too bad. As long as you are not out in the open sun, it's tollerable. We drove for a couple of hours and decided to stop and get some breakfast. The place we stumbled upon was called Apple Farm. Some independent diner. We took a few pictures outside for documentation purposes, and walked inside.

When we did, the waitress was already calling us to our table. Apparently, she saw us outside and prepared our table already. We looked through the menu and both ordered the same thing, something called the breakfast muffin. I asked the waitress why it's called the muffin and she said that the eggs, ham, etc are on top of a muffin. I imagined a blueberry muffin (or something to that effect), split in half and on top are eggs and stuff. Much to my relief (and weird dissapointment), it turned out to be an english muffin.

We ate our breakfast and then decided to order their apple pie (after all, the place was called the Apple Farm). The waitress suggested instead an apple crumb with ice cream. The thing was incredibly good. It had diced apples in like a pie crust with some sweet sauce. Combined with ice cream, it was perfect. She mentioned that someone actually makes those at home and brings them to the restaurant. We paid our check, got some gas at a neighboring gas station and left.

After driving for a while, we stumbled onto a sign that said Chiricahua National Monument. We decided to exit and see what it was. We found a sign though that said that it was about 40 miles away. However, after checking the map, we saw that we would be able to exit the park the other way and rejoin the I-10. As we started out on our way, we came across a small town and it had a historic downtown area.

Well, it was only like 2 blocks, but it had buildings that looked like at least 80 years old. There was even a tiny theatre that probably doesn't fit more than 50 people and it had the major 2 movies playing in it.

After some pictures, we moved on to our destination. The road to the monument was out in the open. There were hardly any cars out there.

We only saw about 1 car per 5 to 8 minutes. When we got there, there was an entrance to a national forrest. As we drove inside, we discovered that it was just beautiful. There were rocks stacked upon rocks like a giant was stacking stones. There were not a lot of places to stop and take pictures though because the road didn't have many pockets, but the sites were just spectacular.

For some reason we couldn't find the monument, but we kept driving. Later we decided, that the monument was just those rocks. That could have just be denial on our part and maybe we just missed it. We didn't want to stop at the visitors center though, cause we would have to pay like $5 per person. And we didn't think it was worth it since we were not staying for long, just drive by, see it and keep on driving. When we reached the top of the peak, we saw a trail there that was about half a mile long. We decided to go on it. The views it offered were nothing short of amazing.

Pictures can't even describe the beaty of that park. One must see it for themselfs. We took some pictures, and then started to drive back down. When we reached the fork in the road, we turned on the street that was supposed to take us to the I-10 through the forest. We quickly realized that it was a dirt road.

There was even a sign that says that the road is rarely maintained. We thought it would be a short drive before the road turned paved again, but we were in for a very long drive. The road took about 20 miles, and during that time, there wasn't a single regular person that drove by us. It took over an hour to drive on it cause we had to go around 15mph because the road was bumpy, rocky, and full of water holes. We did see a few cars go by. 2 cars were Forest services, and the third car was border patrol. We even drove over shallow water stream crossing twice. There were a few ghost towns that were indicated on the map, but when we got to the first one, we saw a few people there. We then drove by a house that said that it was George Walkers house and that casual visitors are welcome. Thinking what the heck, we are in the middle of nowhere, where a paved road doesn't reach, in a place indicated as a ghost town, let's go visit a strange house that is casually inviting us in. As we drove in, 2 dogs started running for my car barking their asses off. There was a woman that saw us drive in and she walked over to our car. We started talking and she said that she couldn't show us the house because there was someone staying there. It was actually being used as a hotel and make your own breakfast type of place. But she did give us a couple of pens, and an information sheet about the house and it's original residents. She also explained that it was no longer a ghost town and people do live there. And for the other town she said that it is now a private property. We were somewhat dissapointed and continued our drive. When we finally reached paved road, it felt like walking into a freezer after being outside in a 120 degree weather. We drove on for a bit and then saw a sign that said Welcome to New Mexico.

We promptly stopped and took some pictures. After wards, a bit more on the road and we finnally got to the I-10. We wasted about 3 hours on the detour and it pretty much shot our day in El Paso, but we were not dissapointed. By the time we got to El Paso, it was fairly late. The sun was already setting and by the time we checked in to a motel, it was already dark. On the drive over, we called some motels to ask their pricing and found a really cheap one. However, when I was checking in, he quoted us a totally different price. When I inquired, he said that the price although for 2 people, was for only 1 bed. So I decided to walk over to the neighboring motels and ask their pricing. They turned out to be cheaper although it was not worse. At the motel, we had some internet connection problem and that took even more time to deal with. So basically, all we had time for was to go to a restaurant to eat. We decided to get some Mexican food as El Paso is right on the border and so Mexican food would pretty much be authentic. That was also the advice of the person at the front desk. So we picked a restaurant from the guide book and the prices looked right, so we decided to go to it. When we got there, it actually looked spooky and dangerous. If I was just passing by, I would never go in there. But when we walked in, it turned out to be an awesome restaurant. The inside was modeled after a Mexican town.

We were basically sitting next to a water fountain under some windows that were leading to a house. We were actually inside, but thats the way it seemed. There were about 3 rooms to the place in total plus a fairly big patio. The waitress recomended us some non-spice dishes and we chose them. I have eaten alot of good Mexican food before, but I got to say that the food that I ate there was pretty much the best Mexican I have eaten. Even though some parts of it were spicy, the flavor of the food clearly beat that negative effect. We also had some Coronas to wash it down with.

When we left the restaurant, we were pretty tired and so we decided to go back to the motel to get a good night sleep so that we could explore El Paso early in the morning.

You can look at the rest of the pictures here.

Continue to day 3.