Week 4 - El Paso to Phoenix; Into Arizona
Wednesday 13 July 1994: Awoke early due to traffic and building site
noise. When packing up we noticed that one of our four turnbuckles was missing.
These are fastening objects which secure the living section of the RV to the
pick-up truck. Maybe it broke off or somebody removed it, anyway after two
hours driving around visiting various shops we eventually rigged up a
temporary fastening with components from a hardware shop, and set off towards
Arizona on I-10, via a small short-cut along a steep new road across the
Franklin Mountains, just north of El Paso. The highway to
Las Cruces was lined with many huge dairy cattle markets,
with thousands upon thousands of animals packed close together in the heat.
We didn't have time to stop, and drove ever onwards, stopping at
Lordsburg for refuelling, and then soon after started looking for somewhere
to stay the night. First candidate was Johnson, marked on the map as a ghost
town, but there was no sign of it once we left the interstate, only recent mining buildings, so after
twenty minutes driving along dusty tracks, Mandy executed a perfect
17-point turn and we went back, crossing the highway to Dragoon. This
was an especially lifeless place, with lots of litter and no suitable
stopping places. Ten miles further west we tried a small road leading
up into the Rincon Mountains, through Pomerene. This
quickly became a dusty dirt track but after a few miles there was an
ideal place on an abandoned road with a good view of the valley below.
Many spent cartridge cases, broken bottles and holes in nearby road signs suggested
this was a popular shooting area. At the time of our visit there were
several serious forest fires in the Tucson area; in the afternoon smoke
from one of these, in the Rincon Mountains, blocked out the sun which
made for a very peculiar orange light as evening approached. When dark fell
there was no sound, and only the twinkling lights of Benson in the distance
below to remind us of civilisation.