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El Paso Texas to Mesa Arizona with a gallery of photos.

Updated on March 17, 2018
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and shares his experiences with valuable tips.

My RV at a Texas Rest Stop

My Monaco Camelot motorhome sitting at a Texas Rest Stop.
My Monaco Camelot motorhome sitting at a Texas Rest Stop. | Source

Preparing my motorhome for a West Coast trip.

When you travel in an RV, sometimes there is going to be a problem in your motorhome that can change your trip priorities for you.

Originally, our trip was supposed to be a slow casual run from our home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to our destination for the winter in Palm Springs, California, with multiple campground stops along the way.

Our plans had been for us to take a couple of years and hop around on the West Coast in our motorhome.

So, I had done everything I could think of to have my motorhome in tip-top shape for such a long trip. I had replaced filters, oil, belts and anything I and the local CW service center found that needed replacement. My tires were new, and even my tow car was in great condition.

Our RV Fridge changed our trip plans

Finally, the day of our departure arrived and my wife and I set out from Myrtle Beach, with smiles on our faces full of anticipation for all of the great times we were going to enjoy.

Our plans were to take I-20 across to Atlanta and then I-85 down to I-10, before casually crossing the country to Southern California using I-10, while occasionally pulling off for short forays to interesting places and campgrounds.

And our first long stay was going to be at a campground near Abita Springs, on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, across from New Orleans.

Well we started having trouble with our RV fridge when we had stopped overnight in Alabama.

And, over the next three days, it was obvious to us that our Fridge was not working. It could keep beverages cool, not cold and the freezer was useless to us

We soon found out that our RV Fridge was totally Dead and needed repairs or possibly replacement.

We had shifted everything to 4 very large styrofoam coolers while in Abita Springs, and we started contacting RV Service Centers that were along our travel route.

Our long stay turned into just a few days as I finally found a CW RV Service Center that could try to repair our Fridge. You see, it ended up that there were not very many RV Service Centers who were "certified" for such work by the fridge's manufacturer.

I had a membership with Thousand Trails and they had a campground on Medina Lake just south of San Antonia, so we left New Orleans, living out of coolers along the way and finally pulled into the TT campground.

The CW Service Center was loaded, they said, so we had to wait for another several days until they had an opening and I could drive my RV there and they could check out my fridge.

Their service tech ran some checks and he said he thought the fridge was really dead, and needed replacement.

This is where my RV insurance came in. They said I had to have it checked by a "certified" technician, and the closest one of those, that was along my travel route was in Mesa, Arizona.

Well, we kept using our styrofoam coolers, but after another week, we were able to get campground reservations for an overnight stay in El Paso, and another for up to two weeks in a campground in Apache Junction, just outside of Mesa, Arizona.

Well, we had stopped for a night's rest at a campground in El Paso, after we driven non-stop from San Antonio to El Paso on that very lonely, and mostly desolate, stretch of I-!0.


Grand Mesa's everywhere

Why RVs have big windshields - So the driver can see this kind of beautiful landscape along the roads in the West.
Why RVs have big windshields - So the driver can see this kind of beautiful landscape along the roads in the West. | Source

Is Texas Big? Hell Yes!

Well, after a little research, I had found that my best route across Texas was going to be two big hops in our RV.

Now, with my bad fridge, I figured that if we got to El Paso in one hop, we could stay in a campground for a few days and the next hop to Mesa would still be a long one but only about seven hours of driving.

El Paso itself would just be an overnight rest stop for us to rejuvenate before the next hop.

But, this being my first "Texas Crossing", we loaded up our pantry, our coolers, and the fuel tank. Then, we got a good nights sleep and we lit out to El Paso.

The first omen of the trip for me was the fact that we had only drive about thirty minutes before signs of civilization had thinned down to almost nothing.

And i mean NOTHING! After two hours, even the Cactus, that had first been everywhere, had given up on living in that flat expanse of sand and rocks.

But, I had the cruise control on 75 and we kept making time. Even rest stops were rare, and that's where having a motorhome came in handy. We had our own toilet and food, and most importantly, air conditioning.

OK, the drive I was making was a long one that I should have done in at least two hops. But, I was committed now and by the way, my wife kept our coffee pot going so I was wound up on Caffeine all of the way.

We finally pulled into ElPaso about an hour before sunset, found our campground where we had reservations, and set our Rig up in our campsite.

I opened a beer and walked outside, thinking; Damn Texas! How am I going to avoid this trip whenever we decide to head back east?

A good book on El Paso Texas

El Paso 120: Edge of the Southwest
El Paso 120: Edge of the Southwest

I had picked this book up so I would be a ready and informed tourist when I got to El Paso. Although the book was great, I didn't get to use much of the information.

 

El Paso? Just a little too Wild West for us.

My wife and I were whipped, but I had three nights reserved at the campground, and we were going to just sit back, check out the city itself and recharge our batteries, so to speak.

But then, while we ate our dinner, we had the TV on and we were just half listening to the newscaster when I heard the words; Killed! 26 people! Automatic Weapons! and then the words that caught our attention; Drug Cartels!

The newscaster had our undivided attention then. We soon found that, just across the border, two Cartels had just fought with each other on the streets of Jaurez and the death toll was at 26 by the time it broke up and the Mexican police arrived on the scene.

My wife and I operate as a Democracy. She looked at me and said; We are leaving this place in the morning! And, I agreed. So, it was unanimous.

I went up to the office of the campground and when I got to the door I saw a souped up Golf Cart with two mean-looking guys in it, both carrying guns on their hips.

I went inside saw the clerk and and told her about wanting to cancel our reservation for the extra days. She said; Oh Sir, Do not worry, we have armed guards that ride our campground all night. You are perfectly safe here.

But, I explained to her about our Fridge problem and laughing, she cancelled our reservation and wished us well on our journey.

My wife and I finished one bottle of Chardonnay and opened another before we went to bed that night.

I didn't sleep very well that night. So, its probably no surprise that we were pulling out of the campground before sunrise the next morning, excited to get back to civilization.

My wife and I both agreed, as we left the El Paso area, that it felt good being on the road, even if it was going to be another long run.

Our thoughts on El Paso?

I don't have enough time here for that.

Typical Roadside Desert west of El Paso

There was fantastic Roadside Desert to enjoy as we headed west out of El Paso Texas
There was fantastic Roadside Desert to enjoy as we headed west out of El Paso Texas | Source

On the Desert Highway, I-10

So, we left El Paso

on a hot Texas morn

with Mesa Arizona set in our sights.


We filled our Rig with Diesel,

made ourselves some Coffee and pulled out.

There was only ten minutes of city traffic

and then 8 quiet hours on Interstate 10-West.


No more than twenty minutes and

civilization had disappeared.

We were in the Desert,

just us, the rising Sun,

and, of course, the Cactus.

I set the Cruise on 80,

and aimed my Rig for Mesa.


The cops were as thick

as the proverbial thieves in Jaurez,

on this lonely stretch of road for the first hour.

There were tourists everywhere,

getting their speeding tickets

or so it seemed to me.

I guess they must have been thinking

that 80 meant 90

or maybe they were chasing the desert winds.


I stayed in the right lane and everyone was passing me.

But I was comfortable just cruising,

the lonely, what they called "Slow" lane.


Sand and Rock formations along Interstate-10W

Sand and Rock formations were everywhere as we drove west on I-10.
Sand and Rock formations were everywhere as we drove west on I-10. | Source
Rock formations right beside a rest stop on I10
Rock formations right beside a rest stop on I10 | Source
More reat rock formations along I10
More reat rock formations along I10 | Source
I thought this view of the mountains far away across this section fo sandy desert was pretty typical of the roadside.
I thought this view of the mountains far away across this section fo sandy desert was pretty typical of the roadside. | Source
Great rock formations were often cut through to build sections of I10.
Great rock formations were often cut through to build sections of I10. | Source
These rock peaks had warning signs to discourage any adventurous tourists from climbing them.
These rock peaks had warning signs to discourage any adventurous tourists from climbing them. | Source
Rocky mountain
Rocky mountain | Source
This picture shows just how rough these rock formations can be.
This picture shows just how rough these rock formations can be. | Source
rock formations along I-10 in New Mexico
rock formations along I-10 in New Mexico | Source
Source
Ne Mexico rock formations
Ne Mexico rock formations | Source
A view after we crossed into Arizona.
A view after we crossed into Arizona. | Source
A view of desert and mountains in Arizona
A view of desert and mountains in Arizona | Source

Sightseeing at a High Speed

As our RV tires ate up the miles,

I was still happy about being passed by everyone.

I wanted to see the sights anyway.


The Texas winds are soemthing to worry about though,

I had a cross-wind, almost all the way.

They were steady winds of 20-25 mph

with occasional, entertaining gusts up to 40 mph,

or so the weather man said.

With aching arms

I had to hold the steering wheel steady,

turned constantly to the left,

just to keep the RV running straight.


Everything in Texas, is bigger,

But I had heard this before.

I think Texans work hard,

to maintain that mythical score.

And even the grades of hills

have to be longer than you would expect, I soon foun;.

for No real reason I could discern.

They just make them longer in Texas.


As the hours passed,

and the Desert continuously

flashed by,

we pulled out our camera,

and took shots of the terrain and beautiful horizons!


We admired Mountains, near and far,

both clouded over,

and bathed in the Sun,

and all set against that

brilliant blue Texas sky.


Well, we captured them all.

through our rolling,

glass caged windows,

We saw the beautiful and the derelict

roadside sights sprinkled along I-10.

Interesting Rock formations at a New Mexico Rest Stop

Further along on our trip, we stopped as a rest stop in New Mexico and there we found these totally different rock formations from what we had been watching for hours.
Further along on our trip, we stopped as a rest stop in New Mexico and there we found these totally different rock formations from what we had been watching for hours. | Source

Timeless and Doomed Sights

Abandoned Homes, Gas Stations,Cars and tractors.

All rusting and waiting, for oblivion to whisk them away.


But between these sights, so dreary and sad,

we caught flashes of Nature's Beauty

sprinkled across the Land.


Though a Mountain might melt to nothing

over many millennia, or so I'm told.


They seem to be smug with their fate,

They seem to know,

that they will outlast Man, and his curious garbage,

tossed randomly almost everywhere.


The cars will rust and decay,

the buildings will droop and fall.

Their once sturdy metals will all dissolve,

long before the Mountains,

meet their fate.


Roads cut with mighty machines,

will grow over with Natures dust.


The insidious cruelty of roots

will break down walls,and bridges alike.

While the Mountains,

will just stand there, and watch

Man's greatest monuments,

go the way, of time's march forward..


So, you'll see no pictures,

of Man's fading monuments here,

but rather pictures of sturdier stuff.

A book on Camping in the Desert

The Ultimate Desert Handbook: A Manual for Desert Hikers, Campers and Travelers
The Ultimate Desert Handbook: A Manual for Desert Hikers, Campers and Travelers

We had planned to camp for a few days in the desert on our cross-country trip so I picked up this book. It does include some very smart tips and warnings for people who have no experience camping in a desert.

 

Blue Skies over the Desert with Mesas in the distance

Beautiful Blue Skies and remote clouds spotted the sky all day.
Beautiful Blue Skies and remote clouds spotted the sky all day. | Source
Source

Natures Own Decorations

Nature's own decorations,

un-moveable, and firmly set, in their own positions,

of perfect decoration,

of a landscape that will last eons.

Rocks, Hills, Valleys, Mountains,

all set exactly where they should be, by Nature.


There for us to observe,

and enjoy, or not!

They really don't care.

They are what they are,

and where they are meant to be.

So, you should look, and see what we saw,

along Man's silly thread of a highway,

that is itself destined to fade away in due time.

So, maybe, you should enjoy

these few glimpses

of Nature's best.

A Long Drive for repairs, finally ends.

It was a long drive for us and then we finally did arrive at our campground in Arizona. Needless to say, we were exhausted.

But, after a trip to the service center in Mesa the next morning, we had our fridge inspected and declared as being beyond repair. The new unit was ordered and after two more days of living out of coolers the new unit was delivered.

It turned into a two day job so we spent the night in the parking lot of the service center, but when we drove back to our campsite, we had a functioning Fridge once again and our lives as spoiled RV campers went on.

We ended up staying for over 6 weeks in Apache Junction, Arizona and we loved every day of that stay. But that is another story for another time.

Mesa Arizona

© 2010 Don Bobbitt

Comments

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    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 3 years ago from Newport Beach

      Don, It would be so much fun to meet a fellow hub writer AND RVer in person. You might want to check out my hub on what to see in the OC ( a one day itinerary to get an idea of the area around Newport Dunes)! I tried to include all the favorite places that my husband Mike and I simply love! We look forward to meeting your and your wife around the campfire next Winter :) Cheers, Billie

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Billie Keplin- Sounds good. We are presently planning on hopping Southern California over next Winter, and perhaps we can get together and swap camping stories one day.

      DON

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 3 years ago from Newport Beach

      If you're headed to CA, check out Newport Dunes. We're long termers there. If you email me, I'll tell you how to find us. We'll have a glass of Chardonay at our campfire!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      TIMETRAVELER2- I am glad that you liked my little memory article. As you said, Been there ......" it was such a great trip for us that we are in the earl planning stages of going west sometime in the next year or so.

      Thanks for the comment.

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      noonlake- Great story. I bet if someone had the patience they could write a book of I-10 stories just as interesting as all of the ones we all hear about the famous Route-66?

      Thanks for the comment.

      DON

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 4 years ago from USA

      Been there, done that...thanks for the photos of some great memories!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      We were married in El Paso. We were heading to California driving the same highway you drove. We were young and at that time my husband was a little wild. The highway was clear never a car in site until two soldiers in a convertible came up beside our car and wanted to race, of course my husband couldn't resist. We got into Mesa they were ahead of us the cops pulled them over we drove by them and waved. That was 1962. We always loved that drive and drove it many times after that but never raced again. Voted up enjoyed your hub and all your nice photos.

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