“Prairie Dogs on Runways and Taxiways”

Our morning in El Paso included our second really classic early 20th century US Post Office, which we now seem to be collecting (there was one in Phoenix, too), and a ride on El Paso’s amazing restored trolley cars which were built in 1937. We stopped in a big Western wear department store where I did not buy cowboy boots, but really wished I had room for souvenirs (it felt like the Texan equivalent of House of Bruar, which sells Scottish country wear).

Growing more familiar with Julie’s quirks means that we are able to fly more efficiently, so instead of trying to force her up to 9500 feet, we let her make her way there in a leisurely manner. What I really noticed from the air on our way from El Paso to Big Spring, Texas, was how much our land use is really ALL ABOUT POWER. The solar farms gave way to wind farms and then to oil fields, all stretching to the horizon.

We chose Big Spring as a destination because of the wind and the runways and it was about the right distance and in roughly the right direction. Nobody answered as we announced our intentions over the radio as we came in to land, and there were no other planes visible anywhere around the place, so we headed into the air terminal expecting a repeat of Gila Bend.

NOTHING COULD HAVE BEEN MORE OF A CONTRAST! We were greeted by Mcmahon-Wrinkle airport director Mike Feeley and his young receptionist Sophia, who plied us with free bottled water and snacks and coffee, handed us the keys to a courtesy car (no charge for anything except the aviation fuel), and pointed us to the most amazing local hotel, the Settles, which was recently fully restored to its 1930s deco glory and is 20 stories tall, towering like a monolith over everything in the small town around it.

It took us a while to get there because I was getting my kicks driving around the airport in their Ford Escape, and then of course we had to stop to take multiple pictures of the gophers that absolutely infest the place.

We ate incredibly delicious beef skewers and charro beans, and for breakfast this morning we headed to Estella’s Country Café which is a tiny place on US Business 87, with six white Toyota pick-ups parked in front of it, and had huevos rancheros and limitless coffee.

On to Waco!