Monday morning, we headed out for our next stop – Van Horn, TX just past El Paso.
The drive through Arizona and New Mexico had moments where I enjoyed the scenery, and many more moments where the scenery felt very boring. At one point, Texas guy sent me a text that simply said “Tree”. Huh?! Moments later, I drove by the first tree we had seen in hours. We were both pretty excited to see a tree … or anything, for that matter. I spent most of the time driving behind the-big-cheese-ball-truck … making the drive even more boring.
We were however looking forward to a stop at a ghost town in New Mexico just across the state line. It was right off the 10 (convenient), but privately owned and closed (bummer) and it looked like a ghost town (ironic). Determined to see a ghost town, we searched online and found another one about an hour farther on the 10 still in New Mexico.
(But, first, here are some pics from a rest stop.)
We continued on the 10 which runs along the south side of New Mexico near the US/Mexico border and followed directions about two miles from our exit to a dirt road. It was another mile and a half farther along the curvy dirt road, so we parked the moving truck and rode in the Suburban the short distance to the ghost town – Chance City, an old mining town. There were remains of a few buildings, a few boarded up mines, and some cows.
(See the speck in the middle that is my Suburban?)
(Old cola can.)
(I always love finding pink flowers. Oh, who am I fooling? I always love finding anything that is pink.)
(Again, there’s the speck that is my Suburban.)
At one point, I followed Texas guy up to the opening of a mine-cave-looking-thing.
He motions to me to stay quiet and I think, Well, OK, not like I was going to start singing or anything.
As I get closer he does it again and points to a sign on one of the metal bars across the front. Again, I think, OK, I am being quiet. And then I saw the sign.
Something about danger, closed mine, etc. I didn’t really pay much attention. And I think, Cool, photo-op! He then asks if there’s a flash on the camera. So now I’m thinking, Holy cow, yes there is and I’ve been using it for days so he should know aaaand I am still being quiet! He points to something again, and just as I start to think, Holllyyyy coowww, dude, relax …, a bat flies across the opening of the cave from left to right (behind the bars – but who cares!!)!! Aaalll my self-control not to scream out loud. Reealllly loud! But I hear some weird scream noise coming from my throat as I hand over the camera to Texas guy, turn, and walk away … in a hurry! I waited, impatiently, but veerrry quietly, at a distance, for him to finish taking pics and checking it out.
(Eeekies! Just thinking about it still creeps me out.)
After about an hour of exploring the ghost town, we get back into the Suburban and head back. I had left my purse in the Suburban so I checked missed calls as Texas guy drove … two calls from the girls and a message from “Penske SOS”. Wait. Did that message say “Penske SOS”? What does that mean? I return the call as we drive back to the moving truck, a little concerned. We round the last bend in the road to the truck and there it is … just fine … with a border patrol vehicle parked next to it and two officers standing nearby. (I soooo badly wanted to start taking pics at this moment, but thought it might not be the best time. I still wish I had though.)
One of the officers started asking questions. He had his cranky face on. Maybe he was as disappointed as I was that there was no bathroom out there in the middle of nowhere. Or maybe it was the seemingly abandoned moving van in the middle of nowhere near the border. Who knows. Hard to tell.
One question was – can we look in the truck? Well, I had spent the last two days behind the truck thinking to myself … I wonder how all my belongings are doing in there, I wonder if everything has been tossed everywhere … and, maybe it would be best if we don’t open it until we get to the new house just in case it’s bad. So, my first reaction was to say, “Oh my gosh! No!! Don’t open it!!!!” Sooooo glad my brain-to-mouth filter caught that one before it came out. Mr. Cranky Face was already looking at us suspiciously. Texas guy opened the truck and fielded questions while I finished the phone call with Penske, letting them know what was going on. After a few more questions from Mr. Cranky Face, we were back on the road.
It was a long, late, exhausting day. Somewhere past El Paso, not quite to Van Horn, traffic was directed off the 10 to an inspection area. (I’m not sure exactly what it’s called.) It was past midnight, I was beyond exhausted, and could hardly function. Texas guy is in front of me. He stops first while a border patrol officer asks questions and another walks around the truck with a dog, pointing to certain areas he wants him to sniff at.
Then it’s my turn. The officer, with a similar cranky face look, asks me, with an abrupt tone where I’m going – “Van Horn”. With the same abrupt tone, he asks, “What’s in Van Horn?” Well, I’m exhausted, and the rapid fire questions now have me feeling like I’m playing Trivia Pursuit, and I really really need to get this question right because I really really need that pie piece!! Only problem is, I don’t know any Van Horn trivia!! So I can’t tell him “what’s in Van Horn!” Do you see my problem?! Trivia board game panic sets in and I say … “I don’t know. What’s in Van Horn?” Fortunately, that last brain cell that is still alive and awake kicks in and I say. “Oh!! We’re staying at the KOA there.” Then he asks where we’re going and I tell him where we’re moving to. Then he asks how many in the vehicle. OK, remember that last alive and awake brain cell? Yeah. It’s abandoned me now. So, I think (slowly), then start to count with my fingers (holding them up, mind you!), I’m on one (obviously), think for a minute more (‘cause I’m tired and brainless now), and said “One.” (So, glad I didn’t say, after looking in the rear view mirror like I had, … Oh my gosh!! Where are my children?!?!) I must have been quite a sight. He then asks if I can roll the window down. I say yes (and thank the Lord for my brain-to-mouth filter that caught – Well, it’s a mess back there. If I had known I was going to have company I’d have straightened up a little. … Honestly. I almost said that.)
We finally made it to the KOA at about 2:30am. They had left a map for us indicating where to park and where to put the tent. Not enough room for both the truck & the Suburban. But the place was more than half empty and its 2:30am. How many other people could they be expecting? So we take two parking spots. Then we pull out a tent and look at the tiny, tiny, patch of grass for it. I look around the tiny space and see a pop up sprinkler in the middle of it. I have visions of us in a tent as the sprinklers come on at some unholy hour after a very long day of driving, nearly getting deported, and getting to bed at 3am, and realize neither of us would handle the experience with much humor. I mention it to Texas guy and we both think – there are bench seats in the Suburban – faster, easier, and no sprinklers!