To The Ends of Texas and Beyond

The last week I have been doing a ton of traveling for work, 1800 miles to be exact. We ended up running low on our Verizon cellular routers and one was going to be shipped to Houston just in case their data circuit did not come up when it was upgraded. Since we promised both Lubbock and El Paso that we’d get them each a router, and since we only had 2 available, I’d have to run to Houston to pick it up and bring it back that week so I could have it ready for the next week’s trip.

I figured since I was going to Houston anyway, I might as well go to Beaumont because they had a few physical issues that needed to be taken care of. I’d then pick up the router on the way back and be ready to go to Lubbock and El Paso the next week. My route for the week would bring me to the extreme east and west ends of Texas. Since it was so short notice, I had to take my Focus. The nice thing is the mileage reimbursement would be nice.

Well the router never ended up getting sent out to Houston due to my coworker not getting it out in time, but since the plans were already made to go to Beaumont, I went anyway and took care of the issues there. Normally I get up early in the morning and drive, but this time it was planned I leave in the afternoon and stay overnight. Then I could get an early start in the office and hit the road back to Austin at a reasonable time. I was able to make it to the office about an hour before it closed and get a head start on what I was planning on doing the next day. When the office closed, I made my way to the hotel. It was the Elegante Hotel and was pretty much the same as the one I stayed at when I was last in Odessa.

They even had the 10 Commandments like the other hotel.

The rooms seemed a little more modern than Odessa, but still had a retro feel.

The room had a nice view of the roof.

I decided to go somewhere local for supper. I went to Daddio’s Burger.

I had the marinated chicken sandwich. It took a while for them to cook the order but it was really good and worth the wait.

The next day I made it to the office. It was very humid.

Just like the hotel, the office building had the feel of something retro, like a late 80’s, early 90’s office building. The following picture is across the lane but both buildings had the same tile scheme.

I got everything done that needed to be done. I made my way back to Austin. I got everything ready for the next leg of my trip on Monday. On Monday, I hit the road around 4:30 Monday morning. The closer I came to Lubbock the windier it got.

Dust started kicking up and I thought it might get caught in a dust storm.

I made it to the office and installed the router. I then took care of a few other issues before proceeding to the hotel. The hotel itself was a lot older too.

It did have a cool view of the lobby from my room.

The room itself wasn’t too bad.

I got a nice view of the highway from the window.

I was pretty tired, so for supper I just decided to eat some ramen.

The next morning, I had the hotel breakfast. This was the first La Quinta I stayed at that didn’t have some sort of fried eggs. I guess it was bagels, hardboiled eggs, and yogurt for me.

You could definitely tell you were in Lubbock and it was very Texas Tech there.

I did a once over at the office and finished up. I then hit the road for El Paso. One thing about this area of Texas it is very flat and dry. There was a lot of irrigation equipment for the crops.

There were also a lot of RV parks where I am presuming oil workers lived.

I finally made it to New Mexico! This was the first time I had ever been in New Mexico.

There was a lot of oil activity in this area. I’m assuming it is probably one of the only industries out there since it is very desolate.

And by desolate, I ran into a sign proclaiming the next services were 130 miles away.

…and you could see for miles.

There also were no radio stations to be found. At least this made it easy to set my FM transmitter and listen to music on my phone without any interference.

Eventually it became a lot less flat and there were some very scenic mountains.

Eventually I had to take a leak. When there’s no services for 130 miles and really nowhere to turn off that doesn’t appear to be a dirt road that I could possibly get stuck in the middle of nowhere, I had to think of something. Every once and a while I’d come up on a picnic area which is like a rest stop with no bathrooms. I decided to take a leak there when no cars were coming. I waited for the cars to go by and acted like I was just taking pictures of the scenery.

I was able to take a halfass leak until some cars started coming close. A little bit before I left a truck pulling a trailer pulled in and parked off to the side. I think he had the same idea as me. I held the rest until I hit El Paso and found the nearest gas station there. After that, I swung by the office and worked a little bit until everyone else was going home. I made it to the hotel by the airport. The room wasn’t too bad, but the internet was slow and sucked.

I also got a view of a van parked out my window and fences behind that.

One thing you’ll find is everything is highly fortified in El Paso. El Paso is one of the safest cities in the US and across the river is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Juarez. I did joke with my El Paso coworkers on the reason why El Paso was as safe as it was that everything is fortified and locked down.

The internet may have sucked, but I did get complementary vouchers for their breakfast buffet. The restaurant was kind of fancy.

The buffet had a lot of good food.

I made it to the office a little early before it was opened so I walked around a bit and took some pictures of downtown.

Since everything is highly fortified and I needed to run speed tests with the router at each border location, I was assigned an agent that had access to the port of entries to take me there. It was the same agent I rode with last time I was in El Paso.

I got to ride on the right side of a police car.

For each location, we got about as close to Juarez as you’re going to get without taking the risk of going over.

There were 6 bridges that we did total. It did make a long day and we took lunch at the El Paso famous Chico’s Tacos.

I got back to the office and resolved whatever issues they had. Everything was good to go and I was able to plan on hitting the road early the next morning. The next morning I got breakfast again. It was slightly different and better than the day before because they had a lot of fried peppers in the food.

Shortly after breakfast, I hit the road. It was still dark and I got to watch the sun rise in the desert. It was pretty scenic overall.

It’s about a 9 hour drive from El Paso to Austin. The one benefit of it being so desolate (and also Texas) is the speed limits allow for a little faster travel.

I drove the whole way through, only stopping for gas. The Focus drove well the whole time and it was nice getting to El Paso. There is something unique about the El Paso area whether it be the major difference in scenery or just the more laid back culture. I definitely enjoyed going through an additional state and getting it knocked off my list of states. I’ll have to take a few more road trips to hit up the few remaining states I have not been in.

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