Dallas to San Diego – El Paso to Cali

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 El Paso TX by day

After sleeping on a very comfortable couch, we woke to get a early start on a long day of driving. I think we were both glad to bail EP, dinner was so so and we had no time for any sightseeing. So we hit the freeway prior to the morning rush and we are off.

It is amazing to me that it takes 1 entire day to get from Dallas to El Paso. It that same amount of time, we will pass through New Mexico (not really new and not really Mexico as the shirt says), Arizona and California before arriving back in San Diego.


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Our main destination today is Tombstone AZ. Looking at the map before we left, I wanted to stop somewhere off the beaten path, somewhere that I would not normally go…and that is Tombstone.

The drive through New Mexico was uneventful, no stops except for gas and for Steven to grab a nasty red and yellow tied dyed shirt with the above slogan emblazoned across the front of it. A border checkpoint later and we pass into Arizona.

 Arizona border check point

Arizona state line

Tombstone for lunch, then on to Tucson, Yuma and the California state line by nightfall. We cut through some mountains and arrive at the turnoff for Tombstone all by 11 am.

OK Corral sign

For the non-history buffs out there, Tombstone is an old western town that has a special place in Western American history. The OK corral and it’s infamous gunfight pitting Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday against a gang led by Ike and Billy Clayton is here. Not much has changed, and it’s theme park like feel is limited to the daily reenactment of the gunfight and character actors who relentlessly roam the streets. Hunger sets in so we begin to ask the locals where we should go to grab a bite.

Tombstone city hall

Food wise on this trip we are batting .000 and I have little hope of finding anything decent here. I put my chef hat aside and decide to dive in, get some grub and get outta town. I’m not going to make it all the way to Tucson on Chicharones and Cheladas. So we are told of this saloon that all the locals go to…and we decide to give it a shot, what the hey they have cold tap beer.

Beer sometimes can wash away the imperfections of a lousy meal, or perhaps just dull the pain of it all. So I order a large bud light, sit back and watch an aging Elvis take the stage. WTF, Elvis in Tombstone??? I am beginning to think that this is going to be a two beer meal. I am offered a menu from our barkeep and I open to take a look. Since I do not do burgers I opt for the ribs, BBQ’ed and served with veggies…OK I’ll bite on that. I was certainly not ready for what arrived, pre-cooked ribs, canned green beans (yes they were a dark green/brown color) without even a hint of seasoning. Perhaps a third beer is in my future…

Well it was not. 2 beers and a meal that a mobile home park would love means it’s time to split, and not a moment too soon. I run around town a bit, snapping some photo’s of a place I am unlikely to return to and we are back on the road to Tuscon. Tuscon, unfortunately is not a stop on our trip…what a mistake. There are some great restaurants there, looks like that is another trip all together. We pass though with nary a scratch as rush hour had not started yet.
Sagauro cactus
The Saguaro cactus dominate the landscape here, and is a welcome sight after mile after mile of shrub land. With my camera sitting on my lap, we arrive at sunset. I love to photograph sunsets, the end of another day…the different colors scattered around the atmosphere and the silhouettes of everything on the land seem to always grab my attention.

Arizona sunset

The wind has picked up a bit and as we are speeding towards Yuma we realize that there is a ton of blowing sand and small rocks…everywhere! Not a good scenario when you are tired beyond belief and you have been driving all day long. Caffeine is now the mission so we frantically search for something that resembles coffee. We find the last Starbucks between AZ and San Diego, whip in and snag some juice. The wind is blowing around 40+ mph, which is brutal trying to walk and dealing with all the wind whipped sand and small rocks.

The wind lasted from the California state line to Ocotillo in San Diego county. It was a long and tiring drive, keeping the car straight with all the blowing wind, dodging wayward desert plants ripped from the ground and trying to stay awake took its toll. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of a cold Hinano awaiting me in San Diego. By midnight, I would have my beer. I sat back, took a couple of sips and started to conceptualize my next culinary road trip…

chefRob

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