El Paso 2, TX

It’s my rest day, so I went to church. Google found Trinity-First United Methodist about 5 blocks from the hostel – easily walkable. I didn’t see any other people dressed as casually as I was, but when I went in, one of the first people to greet me was “Cindy,” who settled the matter by saying they were glad I was there.

The sermon was about what Jesus prayed for – that God’s presence be felt, for God’s protection, and for Unity.

I met Bob, Ed, and John during the socialization minute (Passing of the Peace) along with a lot of other quick hellos. The only picture I got was after the service, of David, who takes video.

David was the church videographer. He was very friendly, and chatted a bit with me as I was filing out.
Mesa St
Mesa St, aka Hwy 20, is undergoing repair. A lot of the shops are vacant. Is it decay or renewal?
Gardner Hotel Outside
This is the Gardner Hotel, at which I’m staying.  It has both private and hostel rooms. Second door from the right is the restaurant, Pot Au Feu, where I had lunch today. The far left corner is a pizza place where I had dinner last night.
Gardner lobby
The air-conditioned lobby is still sort of in the old style, with numerous places to sit and talk, but no place to set a laptop. Fortunately, they have a large hostel kitchen, dining area, and rec room in the basement. That’s where I’m writing from now.  My room was up the slippery marble stairs.  I had to hold the railing and walk very carefully in my bike shoes.
Some of the antiques on display were probably once part of the hotel.
Not a whole lot of places were open for lunch on Sunday. It seems most of the surviving eateries are bars. Pot au Feu, right next to my hostel, was one of the few places open. Their Yellow Coconut Curry would stand without shame against Shrimp Curry at a lunchwagon after a person was in the water for an hour at Makapuu (but not 3 hours). This is mainland style – 2x the curry and 1/2 the rice, with no macaroni salad. The curry plus an orange juice was $20, which is probably considered high for the area.
Lovely server Ashley picks up my bowls, which have been cleaned to the bottom.

After lunch, I visited the Holocaust Museum in town. Interesting place, that added details to what I’ve already seen and read elsewhere. For example, that baton that the Peacekeepers use in the Hunger Games movies has the same collapsible design as a metal whip that the German guards used to beat prisoners. There was an actual one on display. The museum was heavy on what, but light on why. In these times, I think we could all use a refresher on the events leading up to the Holocaust, so we can be on guard.

forgiveness key to freedom
There were contributions by school children. This was my favorite.
Lutheran church condemns Martin Luthers remarks on Jews
1994? I had no idea.

I walked around town in the evening to see what else might be nearby. There was a transient motel that was probably much cheaper than the one I was in. None of the restaurants in that region were open on Sunday. There were several nice hotels, like the Holiday Inn and Indigo Hotel. The latter had an upscale dining room, which I walked into to examine a menu. No one greeted me, perhaps on the assumption that someone in shorts and a T-shirt would be priced out of their fare. I had been craving pasta, and they had lobster linguine for $25, but I decided to go back to the Pizza Joint by the Gardner. If the upscale restaurant wasn’t eager for my business, better not to trouble them.

Map 2 of the Southern Tier is now done, and I’m on map 3. I notice that for the road ahead, there are some sections barren of services for as long as 90 miles, and the map advises carrying plenty of extra food and water. So tomorrow, while still in El Paso, I’ll divert to Big 5 and get a couple more freeze-dried meals, not to mention donuts if I can find them. That could mean low mileage for tomorrow, but that’s all right.

Miles for today: 0 (walking not counted)

(Visited 92 times, 1 visit(s) today)
  1. Welcome to Texas! Enjoy the ride, you may be here for a while. Everything in this state is huge. Feels more like a small country, and residents tend to think of it that way. Expect to see “Don’t mess with Texas” signs on along the roads. It took us three days to get out of Texas the last time we drove back to Oregon from Houston.

    The terrain gets flat east of San Antonio and Austin, with increasing humidity from the Gulf if you get close to Houston. Hot, humid, and the occasional thunderstorm. Also, from what we’ve seen Texas is not a very bike-friendly, save for progressive Austin, which is a lot like Portland. It’s getting better, but in the neighborhoods around Houston we rarely even saw sidewalks, let alone bike lanes, so looking forward to hearing about your experience.

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