The Road to Juarez Part II

I have arrived in El Paso! Tomorrow morning I’ll cross into Juarez bright and early. Sunday morning

Thanks to the ban on flash photography this is a bit blurry, but I think this captures some of the glory that is graceland!

I awoke bright and early to get a taste of Memphis “culture”. I started the day at Graceland which was fairly amazing. Amazing in the sense of “wow, I can’t believe how tacky this is.” Yes, all my hopes and dreams were fulfilled. It was just as I hoped. I think my personal favorite was the Jungle room which was covered in green shag carpet.

After leaving Memphis I headed over to Little Rock to see the Clinton Library and discovered that most of downtown Little Rock is closed on the weekends. The Clinton library was pretty interesting. The best thing there was actually a temporary exhibit of Madeline Albright’s pins. She used to use her jewelry to send messages about policy, her thoughts, moods, ect. Since I decided it was a Clinton-themed day and I was tired, I stopped in Hope, Arkansas for the night. If you are like me and you never wondered what Bill Clinton’s home town is like, than this photo should answer all your burning questions.

Hope appears to be a half-horse town where half the stores are out of business and the other half a closed.

My attempts to find a Klassy Arkansas Winery were completely thwarted by blue laws, apparently most of the state is dry on Sundays. I had to continue the hunt for awesome wine in Texas. I crossed in to Texas early yesterday morning, but I was NOT welcomed. I looked everywhere for a “Welcome to Texas” sign. The only way I knew I had crossed into the lone star state was the plethora of cows, Texas flags, and “Guns! Guns! Guns!” billboards. Somewhat disappointed by the lack of a welcome, I headed into a little town just outside of Dallas to experience some Texas wine and hoped that it would help redeem the Lone Star State. I’m not sure I can honestly say it was amazing wine, but the “tasting” pours were certainly “Texas-sized” so I think we can call that a win. I bought two bottles of “fabulous” wine and headed off towards Fort Worth. It’s a good thing Dallas is really close to Fort Worth because just as I was pulling into the Stockyards at Fort Worth it started to hit me, just how large those pours actually were. The moon guide informed me that the Stockyards are “the real wild west.” I’m not sure who paid them to put that in there, because it was huge tourist trap. I did spot my first cowboy and cowgirl, but since they were saddled up next to a Fedex truck, it sort of spoiled the mood. I spent last night in Abilene which seems to be the last major city before El Paso. I passed through Odessa and Midland this afternoon… and yeah, they don’t quite count. I’m not sure Abilene does either. I saw a bumper sticker which said “Keep Abilene boring” on the drive out today and that pretty much sums it up.

So today was the long haul through the desert. I started the morning by going to see a museum in Abilene called “Frontier Texas” to get my grounding in Texas history. With the help of 7 holographic “spirit guides” I learned that Texas history is cows, pushing out the Native Americans, and bar fights. After I left Abilene, the road got pretty desolate quickly. After about three hours of driving I hit Odessa and was ready for a break. I consulted

The world's largest jackrabbit statue. Pretty amazing, isn't he?

my handy moon guide which told me “Odessa’s biggest cultural carrot is the world’s largest jackrabbit statue.” Score! That’s carrot enough for me! Unfortunately they didn’t tell me where he was located, so I had to call my sister who was kind enough to put google to work so I could bring you all this delightful shot of Odessa’s best cultural carrot.

Between Odessa and El Paso there really is just nothing. Lots and lots of sand and cacti. My first impressions of El Paso are that it looks like collection of Walmarts and Targets. I don’t think I have ever seen so many of them in one place before. Here’s hoping that it is a good two years here. Tomorrow morning, off to Juarez!

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