Day 4. Fort Stockton, TX to Las Cruces, NM. 286 miles. 6 hours.

We woke in Fort Stockton to a cool desert morning, where I took a sunrise walk around the grounds. Good birds to see were Lesser Nighthawk and some more Scaled Quail.

I don’t know what the flower is above, but it was quite beautiful and attracted lots of bees. Overall, this was a great little RV Park that was quiet, secluded, and visited by a number of other overnight visitors (vs. long term residents).

We left Fort Stockton RV park (above) at 9AM, expecting a short mileage day of less than 300 miles but that really means little when you’re driving such a low-end, piece of junk RV (yes, you’re picking up on a notion that I would never recommend Cruise America’s fleet for this type of trip).

We tried to stick to the plan of stopping every 2 to 3 hours, and stopped at the rest area in Van Horn, TX. As pictured above, you can see we were in Big Bend Country and the scenery was only going to get better.

The image above is only to add to the collection of sign misspellings. Thankfully for this one, not alot of government dollars were spent producing them.

Above is more of the Big Bend area of Texas. It was a beautiful drive all the way to just outside the “west Texas town of El Paso” [queue Marty Robbins]. El Paso was bigger than I expected and took awhile to get through the city. The freeway was designed to give people driving a huge, non-aerodynamic breadbox a white- knuckle experience, and it certainly delivered. Off in the near distance, I think I got a glimpse of “the wall” but can’t say for certain.

Above is a picture of Captain Sealegs (Pentax the cat). He often napped in that cubby underneath the jump seat, but when he wasn’t, he was earning his new nickname. He would come up into the cabin and check things out, which meant rubber-legging at 67mph on his “sea legs”. He’d stay for a minute and leave, reminding us of a captain or flight attendant doing in-flight cabin checks.

I may have mentioned the HUMONGOUS windmills we saw the previous day. Well, today we passed six semis carrying windmill blades. There are three blades per windmill, so these are only pieces to two of many hundreds of windmills dotting the countryside. Note the size of the big rig’s extended cabin, then the length of the blade behind it. These suckers are impressive.

We arrived in Las Cruces at the KOA, which is on the top of a bluff at 4,000 feet elevation. It was 94F, but in the shade was pleasant and arid. This RV park was used mainly by short stay folks also, and almost all the RVs were extremely nice and very expensive.

I started an eBird checklist, and was pleased to see my old friend Wyatt E rules the Hotspot here! I met Wyatt many years ago through Roger, when I visited New Mexico and have birded with him a couple of times in SE Arizona. I believe he went to college in Las Cruces and undoubtedly holds every eBird record here. Wyatt is an outstanding birder (having said that, c’mon Wyatt… you could do better than 26 species). 🙂

By this point in the journey, my back was killing me from sitting in that seat for so long. I tried to stretch it out, but was in for a very painful night. Despite the beer, I was not a very happy camper.

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