Familiar Faces, New Surroundings

Our stay in El Paso, TX included an unexpected (very!) range of experiences. While we knew we’d be seeing our daughter Natalie and her little stowaway, there was a lot more in store that we didn’t foresee – which is, of course, why we’re out here.

As usual, our experiences ranged from the banal to the sublime. On the ordinary end of the spectrum, we had to replace the air filter on Sandy. Dust has been raging in West Texas, and she had breathed in too much. We also had the center carrier bearing of the drive shaft replaced. These are the smaller matters that keep our rolling home rolling. On the sublime side (sounding strangely like a new economic philosophy), we had a surprise family reunion! We had been expecting Natalie to fly in from Chicago, but we had no idea that she had arranged and flown in her sister Adrienne. This was the first we’d been together in three and a half years. We couldn’t have been more surprised or happier. We also met up with friends from Connecticut who are heading west for a wedding. Add in some small town vibes from San Elizario, and we had a lovely time in El Paso. This reinforces what on the surface feels like an Instagram platitude, but is in fact our reality: Home is where you park it.

Holly, Joe, Adrienne, Natalie. Natalie will be a mom in July.
Natalie and Adrienne.
We also got to meet up with Yvonne and Kelly, who are zooming cross country for a wedding in California.
Mountain biking on the Lazy Cow Trail in El Paso.
We had to be mindful of unexploded ordnance on the trail.

Our time in El Paso was the first that we had spent in a city on an interstate since we left Tampa, FL at the end of January. It was frankly nerve wracking to be back in the bustle and sprawl of big town, but it did have its conveniences.

Sandy got a new air filter after breathing in all that dust in Texas.
Sandy also got a new center carrier bearing on the driveshaft. Shoutout to Diesel Zone Repair (DZR) in El Paso – the only business I’ve seen with legit 5.0 rating on Google.
El Paso doesn’t play when it comes to tortillas.
I met Dan at Walmart. I was struck that one of his bottle holders on his bike had a jar of peanut butter. He is riding from Virginia to California. Follow his journey on FB @A Little Bike Ride.

We did have a side trip to the small town of San Elizario, south of El Paso. It was a remarkable stay, for we got not only a sense of the past, but a sign of the continued growth of a remote spot. A docent at the local history museum (whom we are ashamed to not be able to name and draw) told us of her struggles with elders to shift the tone of the museum away from glorifying colonization and ignoring indigenous culture. Her tour was very engaging, as she described the past as well as her own growth and experiences.

A storefront in San Elizario, TX.
Tacos Guadalajara in San Elizario.
The menu at Tacos Guadalajara.
The Presidio at San Elizario. This served as a church and a fort during the period of Spanish colonization.
We were able to catch karaoke night at Shooters Smokin’ BBQ in San Elizario. When Lalo took the mic, he brought a depth of soulfulness that grabbed us hard. We consider him a friend now. Portrait by Holly.

We said See you soon to Natalie and Adrienne and ready to leave El Paso. Our plan takes us north and west to the grand and storied places of the American West . . . including Sandy’s first home. While we will certainly see iconic places, we will remember daily that it is the unexpected that always captures us.

2 thoughts on “Familiar Faces, New Surroundings

  1. Accolades for Natalie…what a wonderful idea and reunion..the last time I saw Adrienne and Natalie was at Bread and Chocolate in Hamden and I enjoyed every moment…both girls look so good…special love from me to Adrienne, xo

  2. We loved San Elizario. Just visited last month. Lived in El Paso in the ’90’s and was amazed by the growth. Almost back home to Minnesota. Hoping to see green. Selling our home and trying out the rv life.
    Safe travels

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