Thursday, December 27, 2012

Road Trip Days 12-15 :The Southwest Crossing and California

After accomplishing the business in San Antonio and completing all the visits to friends that I had scheduled, it was time to start the adventure.  I poked around the Alamo and Riverwalk before leaving town.  I didn't spend too much time there because I got the feeling I would be moving to San Antonio soon enough.  The trip was less than half over and the only things I knew were the cities that I wanted to visit and that I would be home for Christmas.  The details would be filled in as I went along.

Day 12:  Tuesday Dec. 13.  After checking out of my hotel, it was time to head through West Texas.  It was a strange feeling seeing the GPS say that the next city was over 500 miles away.  I stopped by the Dog and Pony ( in Boerne, Texas.  I got fries and an Eagle Burger, which was essentially a "royale" style burger with an egg and bacon on top.  It was a substantial meal, perfect for the long haul to Las Cruces.  While searching for a place to refuel I drove around what turned out to be a historical stagecoach route (there were some info placards).  I read through them and was back on my way. The drive proved to be pretty lonely and boring, but the way the setting sun's light played off the cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds more than made up for it.  I made it to El Paso after nightfall, and decided to stop for dinner.  I made a quick stop at BJ's Brewhouse (http://www.bjsbrewhouse.comfor a sandwich and  a beer.  The Piranha Pale Ale was pretty good, but not particularly remarkable.  After stopping to eat and look over at the lights of Juarez, it was time to get to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I was staying with my brother's father-in-law for the night.

Day 13:  When I woke up, Dr. Hoover had already gone to work.  He had left some food for me to eat for breakfast, which I appreciated greatly.  My older brother had recommended that I poke around Mesilla for a while, so I decided to listen.  It seemed like a nice little town, but I wasn't particularly in the mood to look at antiques or crafts, so I tracked down some food.  I walked over to La Posta De Mesilla (http://www.laposta-de-mesilla.comfor a leisurely lunch.  The place was empty and I enjoyed it thoroughly. As was my growing trend, I got some green enchiladas...I didn't opt for the fried egg to top it off though.  After chowing down, I walked over to the square to take a few pictures of the Basilica of San Albino, the historic church.  Further on down the road I made a short side-trip to the Fort Bowie historic site.  I hiked around for a little while, but the sun was setting, so I packed it in and left.  Hitting the road and continuing West, I made it as far as Yuma, AZ where I slept in my car at a rest stop.  The night got much colder than anticipated so I put on an extra pair of socks before dozing off.

Day 14:  I woke up early, just after dawn, and started driving again.  This day ended up being chock-full of side-trips.  Luckily I woke up with a good deal of energy and a lot of daylight, so I saw more than I could have ever predicted.  I traveled to Mount Laguna, and drove around for a while.  There was some light snow and the crisp mountain air was refreshing.  Continuing on to San Diego, I tried to contact some friends I had there but failed.  I ended up poking around Coronado for a while, then picked up a souvenir from the Hard Rock Cafe for my brother and continued on to LA.  I stopped in Laguna Beach for lunch and got some local seafood.  I stayed in an overpriced motel in Hollywood full of sketchy people.

Day 15:  I woke up, checked out of the motel, and tried to see as much of LA as possible.  I drove around the UCLA campus before heading to Santa Monica for some lunch.  I didn't have much of an itinerary, so I basically just drove around and checked things out as I came upon them.  The highlight of the day was Griffith Observatory.  I spent a few hours looking at the exhibits, taking pictures of the city, and exploring the park.  The motel where I spent the night was much nicer, and I went downtown to check out the nightlife.    

Beauty in isolation, West Texas

Las Cruces, NM

Basilica of San Albino, Mesilla, NM

Fort Bowie Historic Site, AZ

Approximations from Google Maps:

Total Mileage:  3,605 miles
Driving Time: 60 hours

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