Friday, January 15, was the final day of our three-month stay in Austin TX. It was a day filled with packing the car and unloading what wouldn't fit at Goodwill. On our last evening with the Watsons we celebrated by introducing the boys to "Sundees" - ice-cream sundaes adapted with plant-based ice "cream", chocolate sauce, fresh berries, whipped "cream" made from coconut, and "magic sprinkles". "More whipped cream please?" kept the sundaes going for quite a while. After long tearful hugs, we walked back to our AirBnB and were in bed early enough that we were on the road by 4:00 AM. The downtown Austin lights slipped away and we were well past the Texas hill country as the sun rose behind us, Soon, dry brown scrub brush and cactus dotted the landscape and mesas rose up in the distance. Four hours in, we spotted small oil rigs bobbing in the fields and beyond them acres of mesa-top wind turbines spinning in the breeze. After more than nine hours on the road we finally reached Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the late afternoon.
After the long drive, our first order of business was to get something to eat! We headed into the old neighborhood of Mesilla and found Don Félix Café that served up excellent Margaritas and the best loaded Nachos we'd ever had. The restaurant was at the corner of Mesilla Plaza, a small park lined with shops and cafés. We enjoyed a stroll around the neighborhood before heading back to the hotel for some much-needed rest.
Another pre-dawn departure on Sunday morning had us on on Interstate 10 headed for Tucson AZ. We stopped to catch the sunrise behind us as the desert stretched to the mountains in the distance. On the way we crossed the "continental divide" - where water begins to flow west to the Pacific. Route 10 took us along the north side of the Whetstone Mountains and the temperature climbed into the balmy 60's - from only the high 20's when we left Las Cruces.
We pulled into Tucson just before 11:00 and headed to Prep & Pastry for brunch. The waiting time was an hour - we knew this place must be good! We decided to order to-go instead and, at the host's suggestion, headed 2 miles north to the Rillito River Park. There we found a picnic table in the shade and chowed down on our "Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Hash" and "Poblano Verde Beni" - heavenly.
Right next to the park was the Tucson Village Farm operated by the University of Arizona to teach kids agriculture. We strolled their beautiful botanical garden filled with dozens of varieties of cactus. We planned to return to Tucson on our way back when our friends Theresa and John are in town, so we jumped back in the car another 6-hour run to Joshua Tree National Park in California...but we'll cover that in the next post.
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Nancy McCabe &