ON THE WAY HOME. Along the Old West Highway headed for the San Carlos
VAN HORN TO SAN ANTONE
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
You can take in a big piece of Texas on one stretch of road
and hardly have to turn the steering wheel at all. From west to east, you'll pass
through Marfa, Alpine, Marathon, Langtry, Del Rio, Uvalde and Hondo. Sure, you can
drive Interstate Highway 10 if you're in a hurry and don't care to experience some real
n the way home from Christmas vacation in California Ms. Intrepid and I
decided to put Nigel the Land Rover through his paces and avoid I-10 whenever possible. We
abandoned the Interstate in Phoenix and headed for the San Carlos Indian Reservation. Ok,
we're a long way from Texas. But this detour was a prelude to the trip and the experience
haunted us off and on the whole way.
After passing through some truly beautiful and rugged
country we were greeted by a large billboard welcoming us to the reservation. We naturally
expected to find a few gift shops, a restaurant or two and maybe a trading post in
downtown San Carlos.
You can forget that. What we found was a very
depressed community. Apart from the the San Carlos Apache Cultural Center and a closed
restaurant we saw nothing in the way of services -- no gas station, lodging, shops,
grocery store, etc. We might have checked out the Cultural Center but we were hungry. And
after driving up and down and around several streets we were very hungry and
headed for the other end of town. Nothing. Further on -- nothing.
We were in Lordsburg, New Mexico before we finally
found some familiar take-out restaurants. Unfortunately we decided to give Arby's a
try. The folks in front of us were demanding their money back, which should have been a
clue. But we were very, very, hungry.
My chicken strips and fries were very, very bad. They
both tasted alike and even the sticky-sweet barbecue sauce failed to hide the mealy
cardboard taste. Ms. Intrepid's food wasn't any better. Fortunately we had several
fancy mint-flavored toothpicks individually wrapped in cellophane which turned out
to be tastiest part of the meal.
Around 11p.m. we arrived in Van Horn and confirmed
what we experienced on the way to California. Folks are driving everywhere and the motels
are doing a landslide business. After several stops we found a motel with a
vacancy. For $65 we were offered and accepted, sight unseen, the last available unit. The
first thing we discovered was that there wasn't a lock on the door and the rest of the
accommodations were similarly equipped. I pushed a chair against the door and soon we were
out like most of the lights in the room. But hey, we were in Texas and the interminable
lights of El Paso were behind us.
Sometimes an ordeal is part of the deal. At
least now were off on the trip we intended and the one I promised to review.
VAN HORN TO MARFA
PAGE 3: MARFA TO MARATHON
PAGE 4: MARATHON TO LANGTRY (AND BEYOND)
TEXAS MILEAGE GUIDE
VISIT SAN MARCOS
BOOKMARK THIS SITE
TYPE CTRL-D NOW
Texas Hill Country Wine: Torrie de Pietra Vineyards and Winery near Fredericksburg