Saturday, April 10, 2010

Adios El Paso, Bienvenidos a Columbus!

Bureaucratic runarounds were the story of our lives yesterday morning in old El Paso, Texas. Wanting nothing more than to obtain our Texas drivers licenses and return to New Mexico as soon as possible, we were rejected and sent on several errands to obtain the necessary legal documents which were key to our desired goal.

After much ado, we were indeed given our temporary Texas drivers licenses, severing the final legal tie to Massachusetts and completing the process of creating our permanent legal domicile in the Lone Star State. With tax returns filed in Massachusetts for the last time, we will no longer pay state income tax (goodbye, Taxachusetts!) , and we can now rest assured that we are 100% "street legal" Texan residents.

Having completed our "work" of the day, we made our way to The Evergreen Cemetery where Mary's great-grandfather is buried. Our next post will detail that visit, along with other Texan reflections by Mary.

Leaving El Paso behind us, we drove the easy 85 miles to Columbus, New Mexico, driving parallel to the Mexican border which was on average approximately 3 miles to our left. The lone stretch of highway was dotted with Border Patrol vans patrolling the area, and we could just imagine the poor souls who die every year of heat stroke and dehydration as they attempt to cross the desert and enter the United States illegally. Whatever your political persuasion, there is no denying the suffering that takes place in the hinterlands between the US and Mexico, and for every person who succeeds in coming to "El Norte" in search of gainful employment and a better life (aka: The American Dream), several die or are apprehended and summarily returned to their homes after a brief (and most likely highly unpleasant) incarceration.

At the end of that long stretch of border highway is Columbus, New Mexico, a sleepy border town of 2,000 souls, a town that offers several cafes and restaurants, a low-key atmosphere, and the lovely Pancho Villa State Park. The park is situated here at the site where, in 1916, General Pancho Villa and a band of Mexicans staged the last ground invasion by a foreign entity on the continental United States. No one is certain what Villa's true intentions were, but the attack was rebuffed and he and his band escaped back to Mexico. Interestingly, even though Mr. Villa attacked the United States and caused a great deal of trouble here in Columbus, there's a lovely state park named after him! What kind of mayhem can I initiate in order to have a park named after me?

The park itself is filled with cacti, flowers, trees and succulent plants, and we are thrilled to be here to rest from several days of long drives since leaving Albuquerque. There's not much to do here in Columbus, and that's exactly the point, and when we're ready we will make our way to City of the Sun, a nearby intentional community which we have been invited to visit in the coming week.

For now, it's time to rest, read, write, bicycle, do laundry by hand, dry it in the New Mexican sun, and enjoy the fruits of 23 weeks and more than 7,000 miles of travel.

Here's a photo of the border as seen from our rig at sunset, as well as a nice video from our campsite. Enjoy!

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