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Thread: SF to El Paso

  1. Default SF to El Paso

    Will do my yearly trip to El Paso this fall. In the past I've gone I-5 to I-10. Thinking about I-5 to I-8 (via San Diego) to I-10 this year. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Different Enough To Be Worth It

    Such a change would only add about 45 miles or so to your trip. The drive across the Vallecito Mountains on I8 is memorable, and I8 is, I believe, the only Interstate that runs below sea level in the El Centro area. El Centro would be the half way point on this route with about 610 miles on either side. Yuma is another interesting new location that you won't have seen going via I-10. If you get the chance, take the tour of the old Territorial Prison.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
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    Default Desert, apple pie and date shake

    the only Interstate that runs below sea level in the El Centro area
    In that area you can go to the Salton Sea. Scientists predict that the sea will dry up within 15 years from now so you might as well go see it while you can. I couldn't say it's a nice lake or a place where I would go swimming personally, but I wanted to go there since it's one of the few places like Badwater Basin where you can go below sea level (227 feet). El Centro is the birthplace of Cher BTW.

    Also, you could spend a couple of hours at Anza Borrego State Park, which, I heard is a very nice place for desert lovers and have a piece of apple pie at the Julian Pie Company in Julian.

    In Felicity, from the interstate, you will notice a strange pyramid with a chapel on it. That's the "Center of the World", some sort of tourist trap. For a couple of bucks, you can go inside the pyramid and obtain a certificate claiming you've been to the Center of the World. They have fun stuff too like an old staircase from the Eiffel Tower. You can access the site for free.

    In Holtville, right next to the interstate, is a free hot springs. Take a relaxing break and soak in the hot springs or in the nearby pond. The hot springs are just accross the street from a Long Term Visitors Area so there might be a few people in there already.

    As you approach the AZ border, you will go through the impressive Imperial Dunes which is a nice place to stop when there are no noisy dune buggies or motocross doing off roading. In Dateland, AZ, stop by the café and order one of their famous date shake. I've had one and I have to admit much to my surprise, it was actually very good. If you have some extra time, go to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site, just 15 miles west of Gila Bend. Beware of flash flooding.

    Mission San Xavier Del Bac lies a couple of miles south of Tucson just off I-19 and is worth the detour. East of Tucson, you can head south to Tombstone, a fun western city tourist trap and Bisbee and old mining town. Check out historical Ft. Bowie and Dos Cabezas.

    I also always enjoyed the southern route through AZ and NM all the way to El Paso (highways 82, 80 and 9) : Patagonia, Douglas, Columbus, Pancho Villa State Park, etc.

    Have a nice trip!
    Gen

  4. Default

    Thanks, what is Mexicali like, is it an easy stop, nicer than Tijuana?

  5. #5
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    Mar 2005
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    Default I've never been there but...

    what is Mexicali like, is it an easy stop, nicer than Tijuana?
    my guess is that all bigger border towns are pretty much the same. I surely didn't hear as many bad things about Mexicali than I did for TJ though. I've been to Juarez by myself once. Pretty scary. I've crossed the border by car at Nogales which looked pretty much the same to me. I've also crossed in smaller towns such as Sonoyta and Naco which seemed kind of nice.

    In my experience, if you drive just a few miles south of the border towns, you'll get to see much more nicer things and friendlier people. The problem is that driving your car into Mexico and back can be a hassle with all the waiting at the border. That's why I think small town border crossing is less threatening and much more convenient. Just my opinion.

    Gen

  6. Default

    Thanks, no plans to drive in Mexico; but I do like visiting border towns for food/drinks/souveniers.

  7. #7
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    Default I love them too!

    Have you ever done the Historic Mission Trail from El Paso? I particularly enjoyed Socorro Mission and the small towns east of EP along the border. Also, one time I've been to El Paso and stumbled upon some sort of neighborhood fiesta with live music and free food tasting. There was a food contest of some sort and you got to vote for your favourite salsa, tortillas, jellies, etc. It was a lot of fun. I don't know when you are going there exactly, but you should check if there are any special events going on. You can order a free Visitor's Guide here. For dining, try Kiki's Restaurant and Los Bandidos (excellent margaritas).

    Gen

  8. Default

    Most of my time in El Paso is spent at Fort Bliss, when I have a free afternoon I'll usually walk across the border and have a drink and a bite to eat The Kentucky Club in Juarez, I still need to get to Chico's Tacos, I hear that's a "must see."

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Chico's Taco, eh?

    I'll usually walk across the border and have a drink and a bite to eat The Kentucky Club in Juarez, I still need to get to Chico's Tacos, I hear that's a "must see."
    Thanks a lot for sharing. I may check those places out when I'll get back there.:o)

    Gen

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