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In exactly 4 weeks, Angie arrives in California for a whirlwind 2 week look at the highlights of my previous visits. We hope to squeeze in a trip to Tucson so I’ve been making notes of things to see and what to avoid.

But today we focus on Day 2 of the 2011 Mexico trip as we drive to Alpine, Texas where we aim to stay in the Best Western which impressed us last year.

This is another driving day and much of the landscape is flat and boring with any cactus or succulent that resides here having been snapped on previous trips. So the ideal conditions to set the cruise control to the maximum speed permitted plus the 5 mph grace on top and take it in turn to hold the steering wheel, with toilet breaks as necessary.

The result was just one plant stop, S2251, as we turned off Interstate 10 about one exit before last year’s exit at the Dragoon Road. At this spot we found Ferocactus wislizeni, Yucca sp. and Opuntia santa-rita, that I think is called O. macrocentra these days.

We had agreed not to stop at Van Horn for the night that provided one of the worst nights in the US last year, mainly because of the rather sleazy customers at the fast food places on the outskirts in town that seemed the only places open when we arrived after dark. That time we had also ‘enjoyed’ a thorough search of car and clothes by the US Border Patrol station just out of town, triggered by the sniffer dog finding Eunice’s ground coffee for the trip. This apparently is a popular decoy to put sniffer dogs off illegal drugs. Needles to say we left with a clear record but the thoroughness of the search when we were tired after a long drive was unsettling.

This time we had left earlier and made fewer stops so that we could drive straight on to Alpine, Texas.

Tomorrow we take another look at Big Bend.

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