Work Tour of Texas – El Paso

Last week I visited Houston on the first stop of my “Tour of Texas” for work. This week my stop was El Paso. I was definitely in for a longer ride this time as it is almost 600 miles and 9 hours from Austin to El Paso. It’s definitely crazy to be able to drive 9 hours in one state and still be in the same state! I guess this time I had a lot more varying geography to take in and a lot of time to let my thoughts wander while listening to the text to speech of my Corporate Finance textbook.

As normal, I locked up my car where the pool cars go and I hit the road. I left fairly early and had hit the road by about 6:30am. I was told to get gas any chance I could as the area became very desolate very fast. I guess I found that out when I was at half a tank and decided to look for gas. Well 100 miles later I was getting “range anxiety” with the needle now slightly above a quarter tank. I finally found this little gem of a gas station no bigger than a large bedroom out in the middle of nowhere.

I could tell it was the middle of nowhere since they had a 50 cent markup on gas:

After getting gas, I knew I was good to go for gas until I reached El Paso. I drove straight to the office and got a nice glimpse of downtown El Paso:

I was able to take care of a few things but for the most part, the day was winding down. I headed to the hotel. There ended up being some issues with the booking so I was upgraded to a suite which was really nice. My room was probably actually around twice the size of that aforementioned gas station.

Well the next morning it was to the office. I grabbed breakfast on the way and got a picture of the mountains in the distance:

As part of TABC’s operations, they collect taxes on the border for anyone importing alcohol from Mexico. I was planning on briefly dropping by the office there as I did with the other office, but after I punched the address into my GPS, it told me the route crossed into Mexico. I didn’t have a death wish, so I decided against venturing into Juarez. That was a good choice since I found out I needed to be with escorted by a TABC agent with access. Unlike Canada’s border where there’s just a simple parking lot outside each country’s office, the US side of the Mexican border is fortressed in:

They also take security pretty seriously with people crossing over:

Well it was time to do some work at the main port of entry office:

Always make sure to have exact change when paying your taxes:

If you don’t pay the taxes they just might confiscate the alcohol. Actually, as I was inventorying equipment and working on some issues in the office above, the agent that I rode with was pouring the alcohol down the sink in an epic tale of alcohol abuse:

Well then it was off to the next bridge to check if they had any other issues:

With Customs’ blessing I was able to get a picture of the Mexican Eagle welcoming people to Mexico:

On the way back we rode on the highway that rides right along the border:

You can kind of see the shacks and poverty across the border:

It was definitely a good day and I got a lot accomplished. It was also nice to be shown a little of the area on my way back. I concluded the night with Chico’s Tacos and a double order with fries:

Wednesday morning I headed to the office to wrap up any outstanding issues. I was able to leave around noon. Here is some of the varying scenery I got to see starting from El Paso all the way back to Austin:

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