Passing Through El Paso

Editor’s note: Today, Lisa Martinez continues her ongoing series about an amazing adventure through Colorado, New Mexico and Texas with a visit to El Paso. Lisa

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Colorado Road Trip Quick Stats:

Trip Day: 10
Route 1: Las Cruces, NM to El Paso, TX
Route 2: El Paso, TX to Alpine, TX
Departure times: From Las Cruces, 9:45 AM; from El Paso, 7:15 PM
Mileage: About 290 miles

My bean-beverage-loving traveling companions wanted to start the day with the norm — breakfast and mugs with hot caffeine at a local favorite. We went to The Bean, their normal Las Cruces coffee shop, and enjoyed a patio breakfast on a sunny morning in New Mexico.

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Bellies full and happy, we headed back to the La Quinta, packed up and moved out. We were El Paso bound!

This Texas destination got added to the travel docket because the El Paso Plaza Classic Film Fest was underway. A group of Cinema lovers, film fests are among the best reasons to take a trip detour.

We rolled into El Paso literally just in time to catch our first movie, “Boyhood”, at the Premiere Cinema IMAX at Bassett Place Mall. The unique concept of this movie was refreshing — filming done over 12 years with the same cast. There were also a few tears shed near the end (don’t worry, no spoilers here!)

Nothing like chasing a movie with a hot meal, so we decided to buy our next movie tickets and try lunch at the Oasis Bistro next door to the Theater. They served an all-you-can-eat Salad & Pizza buffet. After being spoiled with Baked In Telluride Pizza earlier in the week, the Pizza was agreeable but not a contender.

After lunch it was time to get our seats for the 4:00 pm showing of, The Bad News Bears. The Philanthropy Theater within the Plaza had a bit of an old-school feel to it, so it set the scene for this classic film.

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I’m not sure how I had managed to miss this film up to that point (even though I was only a newborn in the year it came out), but as a fan of Walter Matthau, I loved this movie. It was funny, non-politically correct, endearing, and contained good life lessons learned. By the laughs in the audience, you could tell that that young and old alike still love this movie.

On the way out, I picked up a film fest t-shirt that featured the Beatles. I wish we had been there to watch “A Hard Day’s Night”, but we were still in Telluride on the day that it was showing.

Before leaving, we listened to “Film Talk” on The Towering Inferno (this movie referenced, again, on this trip?!), a free event at Camino Real Dome Bar across the street. The sound system was sub-par, and the speaker — unknown to me despite that she was involved with the film — not particularly riveting, but the location was stunning.

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Now past 6:30, and having satiated a bit of our hankering for film festivities, the drivers, Tim and Mike, opted for one last caffeine stop. While in the coffee shop next to the theater, we saw Robert Wagner walk by, and we all starting waving! The way he smiled and waved back made us pause.

“Is that really Robert Wagner?”

We started to think, not so much. Walking past some Police Officers on the way to our cars, I stopped to ask a female cop whether it was him or not. She confirmed that he indeed was not Mr. Wagner.

So it goes. But I’m sure that man got a boost out of all four of us giving him our best movie star waves.

Just after 7:00 pm, it was time to make our way to our final, epic road trip destination – Alpine. Alpine is a small West Texas city – population just under 6,000 – known as “The Heart of Big Bend”.

Big Bend National Park in the U.S. state of Texas has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals.

The national park covers 801,163 acres (324,219 ha), which is larger than the state of Rhode Island. Few other parks exceed this park’s value for the protection and study of geologic and paleontologic resources. A variety of Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil organisms exist in abundance. Archaeologists have discovered artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old, and historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century. Source: Wikipedia

Tim grew up in Alpine, and while my husband was still single, Mike had moved there for a time to live and work with his buddy. Having heard so much about Alpine since meeting Mike, and receiving many invitations to visit from Tim, I had been anticipating this chance to end our trip in such a significant place.

We had about two brief delays on the road, due to some Jeep overheating issues that Tim experienced; but finally made it into Alpine around midnight. Tim was gracious to hand over the keys to us for his “Casita”, as he calls it, and he left to stay nearby with his Mom.

The Casita had the perfect amount of Tex-Mex charm. We were tired and grateful for a quiet mountain place among friends to rest and relax, and usher in the celebration of Mike’s birthday!

This post is part of my Colorado Road Trip series series. Please come back and join me for the final post in the series, our West Texas adventures with my birthday boy!

Copyright 2014 Lisa Martinez

About Lisa Martinez

A writer, artist, and silly-heart from her youth, Lisa Martinez utilizes a variety of mediums as outlets for creative storytelling, laced with humor whenever possible. Lisa attended Franciscan University, where she studied Writing, Mental Health, and Theology. In 2004, she discovered her passion for driving small business growth; now, with her husband, she owns a boutique digital agency, illuvint, based in Dallas and partnering with a world-class team across the States. Closed Doors Open Windows is where her personal blog lives on the web.