Dec 17 - Trail Ends in Hondo

Our travels for 2011 ended, like last year, in Hondo Texas. We're at the Escapees Park -- Lone Star Corral -- for the Holidays and will be here, hopefully, until the 2nd or 3rd of January when we press on down to Rockport Texas. These Escapee Parks are membership parks, which means the lots all belong to members. When the members are not here they can opt to have their lot put in a rental pool for "guest" renters (like us), which helps offset their annual membership fees. There's also a "first in first out" rule for guests which only kicks in when all available lots are rented. This rule gives the longest visiting guests two days notice to vacate their rented lot if new guests are waiting for a site. Because there's a fairly long list of guests ahead of us, it's unlikely that we'll be affected. But there's always a chance... that we'll be evicted... on Christmas Eve. "Sorry... no room at the inn."

During the past two days we put a lot of miles behind us. On leaving Tucson, where we were delayed two days by heavy rain, our objective was to find warmer weather. So the big wheels were turning three days in a row... 216 miles on Wednesday (to Deming, NM), 350 miles on Thursday (to Marathon, TX), and 280 miles on Friday (to Hondo)... one of our more intense strings of travel days. That kind of extreme travel is not our preferred style, but after two months of exploring I think we were both looking for a "home" for the Holidays.

Long time readers of this journal may remember my feelings about El Paso. Unfortunately, it's a "big town" and for that reason alone it starts way down my list, near the bottom, of places where I'd like to be. And it just rubs me wrong that there's really no other option for transiting this corner of the world... squeezed into a 500 foot gap between lovely Mexico to the south and the Franklin Mountains to the north a traveler is shoulder to shoulder with cars, trucks, RVs, and trains... everyone wide eyed with terror at the thought that if anything went wrong... a blown tire... anything... the whole gap would plug up faster than a fat man's artery at a fried chicken eating contest, and traffic would back up in both directions until February. I can report that I saw absolutely nothing during this trip to improve El Paso's ranking on my list. Well, ok, to be fair... maybe the gray-brown haze that incessantly blankets the town was a little less brown than usual.

from foreground: road, railroad, border fence, river, and Juarez, El Paso's sister city in Mexico

We stopped Thursday night at the Marathon Motel and RV Park in Marathon Texas. We'd stayed here a few years ago, in late January of 2008, and experienced the lowest overnight temp ever during our Sabbatical: 6 degrees above zero. It didn't get nearly that cold this visit, but the words "possible freezing rain" in the forecast reduced our enthusiasm for staying longer and we headed east for a warmer Hondo on Friday.

I'm working hard on the next installment in my "5 year" series, so it should be up in another day or two. And if you haven't already seen it, please check out our Christmas Card by clicking on the tab above the journal.

Slightly Better than Most