The college football season is in full swing in the Big 12. Having had season tickets at OU since 1973, our loyalty doesn’t waver. Today I’m looking back at this season’s first game on September 1 in El Paso, Texas.
Traveling to El Paso seems like it wouldn’t be that big a deal – after all it’s in Texas right next door. But actually, it takes more than 12 hours to drive there. It is in “far West Texas,” and that is an apt description – just a couple of miles west to New Mexico or follow the bridge over the Rio Grande and you’re in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico!
To break up the long drive, we spent the night in Clovis, New Mexico, coming and going. It is a community of 30,000-35,000 people, and offers several motels (we stayed at a nice Hampton Inn) and restaurants for weary travelers. It has a rather large rail yard, having been established in 1906 when the Santa Fe Railroad was being constructed.
Crossing the Franklin Mountains [/caption]The route from Clovis to El Paso takes you through Alamogordo and past the White Sands Missile Range. This area gained more notoriety during the 1950s-60s for its part in the United States’ space program.
Entering El Paso from the north on Highway 85, Fort Bliss can be seen on the northeast side. It is noted as one of the largest military complexes of the U.S. Army. On the west side of Highway 85 is the Franklin Mountains. Because El Paso has a hot desert climate, the mountains often surprise unsuspecting tourists. Woodrow Bean Transmountain Road crosses from Highway 85 to Interstate 10.
Yards in El Paso are typically “desert landscape” and have little grass, much rock. Oleanders, ocotillo, and cacti make up the most common plants. We drove by the home that had been our daughter and son-in-law’s when our first grandson was born in the late 1990′s and observed that the landscaping had changed very little. The oleanders they had planted still line the backyard.
One of the notable sites in El Paso is the historic Camino Real Hotel in the middle of downtown, near Union Depot, where Amtrak can be boarded. We opted to stay at the Marriott Hotel by El Paso International Airport, however.
There are a number of interesting museums and sites to attract visitors, but of course, we were focused on the University of El Paso campus and particularly, Sun Bowl Stadium. The stadium is interesting in the way it is built into the mountains. Regardless of where you park, you have a trek uphill to get inside the stadium!
As the moon rose over the stadium and the lights of El Paso twinkled like Christmas decorations, the Sooners topped the UTEP Miners 24-7. Because the game didn’t begin until 9:30 PM CT, we enjoyed the accommodations at the Marriott on Sunday morning and delayed our return trip until later Sunday.
As we “followed the bread crumbs” back to Clovis and on to Oklahoma, we vowed that we would enjoy lots of trips following our beloved Sooners in the future – flying to our destinations!