Day 12: August 7, 2014
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I didn't post one picture of El Paso. I suppose the fact that I had been there before was partly to blame but that didn't really explain it. I had, after all, entered the town on a street I'd never seen before. I think the main reason I took so few pictures -- and none I thought worth posting -- was that, while the overall scene was quite interesting, no single piece of it stood out. There were so many camera worthy elements that I couldn't chose any. That explanation started to form as I felt the same thing happening in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I decided to fight it with motels.

These motels are a very small sample of those lining the Old Spanish Trail through Las Cruces. They probably aren't even a particularly representative sample. Some are empty and abandoned and others look as if they will be soon. A few appear to be getting by. None appear to be thriving.

I entered I-10, which I would spend a lot of time on today, at Las Cruces. Thirty some miles west, a spot called Akela Flats announces itself with a long line of billboards on both sides of the road. Akela Flats is itself essentially a long line of billboards. (Is the name a pun?) There is one building backing some gas pumps and a long row of store fronts painted on huge panels. I'm not sure that's really working for them.

I shot some more motels on short excursions where the interstate bypassed rather than overlayed the old road. The first is in Deming, New Mexico. The others in Lordsburg, New Mexico. In Lordsburg, the street they are on is called Motel Drive. This must have really been something to see in its day.

My view of the world changed considerably when I left the I-10 for TX-80 (a.k.a. old US-80, a.k.a. Old Spanish Trail). I don't know what purpose the row of decayed buildings once served. The partially covered sign in the fourth picture reads "ROCKHOUNDS". A sign further up the hill said something about mine tours. The last picture was taken looking down the road from in front of the buildings.

Clouds had been present all morning and they finally started letting go of some water in the early afternoon. Aerodynamics kept me dry until I stopped at the marker commemorating Geronimo's 1886 surrender. My double surrender was nowhere near as significant as that one. I first surrendered to the elements by putting the top up. Then I surrendered to my GPS receiver.

When I first imported this leg of the route at the east edge of Texas, I had received a message about it being too long. It had supplied proper directions up to this point so I had naturally put off doing anything about it. I tried manually deleting some points while stopped then letting the unit import and calculate while I drove. I'll spare you the details but the pictures show some results. This was certainly one of the better places for this to happen as This was an area I'd visited before and I knew my planned route was essentially TX-80 and I-10 all the way to Tucson. I drove on with plans to sort things out at the end of the day.

I stayed at the Gadsden Hotel in 2012 and would have stayed there again had timing been different. But it was not yet time to end the day so I took some pictures and moved on. The last picture is of a postcard in a lobby display case. Though I couldn't find a name, the card is unmistakably the work of the late Bob Waldmire. Bob is best known for his Route 66 connection but lived part time on property he owned in this area. I told myself I'd find out exactly where it was before I returned but that didn't happen.

Just as it did two years ago, Bisbee's Shady Dell appeared deserted although that is certainly not the case. The vintage campers available here are rented months in advance. The only change I noticed was that Dot's Diner is now behind a fence. I drove on past the huge open copper mine with just a glance then wiggled through some of Bisbee's downtown before returning to TX-80.

I stopped in Tombstone just long enough to listen to some music and rent a beer at Big Nose Kate's Saloon. I left town imagining a glamorous life on the stage.

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