Brits on the run....
....On the run from dark and drizzly November in England. Four male drinking chums, each around 50, are driving from Los Angeles to New Orleans between Nov 20 and Dec 05, in a ridiculously large luxury sedan (hired, naturally). Any suggestions for lesser known places along the way where we can get a few beers and see something interesting? Maybe even meet some friendly people?
Favorite Bar for grub and tunes
Go to Terlingua, (near Big Bend National Park) in Texas and have brews and grub at the Starlight Theater. Great western music. Say hello to Angie Dean -- a modern day version of "Miss Kitty" from Gunsmoke TV fame.
Jerome, AZ and Lincoln, NM
You might check out Jerome, AZ, about 100 miles north of Phoenix above the Verde Valley -- the town is perched on the side of Mingus Mountain and is a former mining town founded in the latter half of the 1800s. The town's grip on the side of the mountain is tenuous -- quite often a building or two will slide down the mountain a few feet at a time. On the main street of town (AZ89), there is a great bar where you can meet all kinds of interesting people (look for the place with Harley-Davidson motorcycles out front). Also, check out the Grand Hotel, and across the main drag from that, the Haunted Hamburger (a great place for lunch). They serve a $5 piece of chocolate cake that is not only excellent, but it will serve about 5 people! The burgers aren't bad, either. Since the late 60s, Jerome has become an artists' center for quirky, eccentric types. Four crazy Brits will fit in there just right...
When you get to the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico), I recommend the town of Lincoln -- it is very much as it was when the Lincoln County War flared up there in the 1870s -- the Lincoln County War was the altercation between the Murphy and McSween factions in which Billy the Kid played a pivotal role. These events were portrayed in the film "Chisum" and the "Young Guns" pictures. You can still see the bullet holes in the wall where Billy "shot the sheriff." You may be interested in the "English" angle of the War -- the ambitions of John Henry Tunstall, a young would-be cattle baron who had recently arrived from England, was a major catalyst in starting the hostilities.
Thanks both of you. Your advice is very welcome and we'll be there. Another question: where is the best place to cross into Mexico, just for a few hours?
I am not overly enthusiastic about any border town that I have seen (Nogales, Juarez, Agua Prieta, Algodones). I have never found any of them to be representative of Mexico or Mexican people. If I had to choose one, it would be Algodones, which is just to the west of Yuma, AZ and since it isn't as much on the beaten path as the others, it doesn't seem quite as obnoxious.
If you go, try the taco stands that can be found in the middle of the streets -- they sell tacos they make to order right in front of the customer, and you "dress" them yourself with vegetables and salsas while you sit at the counter and eat! A tasty and very inexpensive lunch -- you can usually get several for a dollar.
Travelers should know that drinking the water in Mexico (or anything made with it, including ice), if it hasn't been purified, will likely result in dysentery. Stick to bottled or canned drinks while in Mexico. I realize this is "bad" news for you. That said, my preferred brand of Mexican beer (or cerveza) is "Dos Equis," pronounced "dose eh-kees!"
Also, you'll need to park in the United States and walk across -- you won't be able to take your hired car into Mexico. An alternative, if you know anyone in this area that could take you across the border in a private vehicle, is to pay a visit to Puerto Penasco -- the beach town we call Rocky Point. Many prefer it over the border towns and you'll find the opportunities to "celebrate the moment" are more what you're used to. Rocky Point is about an hour (or two) south of Lukeville, AZ on Arizona Route 85 (south from the town of Ajo).
One last word of caution -- mind your manners and don't get too rowdy while across the border -- the legal system there is VERY much different than what we're accustomed to and the LAST place you want to be is a Mexican jail. They are hard to get out of sometimes without the payment of fairly heavy bribes. The law in these towns typically resides in the officer that arrested you, and his brother the judge. I am only half-joking. Sorry, but that's the way it is. If you remain courteous and fairly sober, you'll likely have no unpleasant entanglements of that nature.
According to my buddies, another good option for a Mexico visit is Tiajuana. I have not been there but am told it is a "fun" town. A plus is that you can get there pretty easily using the mass transit system from San Diego (I believe).
Hey Americans, thanks for the posts. Subsequent to a chat about Route 66 and also hearing that West Texas is b o r i n g), I have had a change of mind. Instead of going: Los Angeles, Las Vegas and then on to New Orleans more or less sticking to I10; I now think that LA, Vegas, Oklahoma City/Tulsa, following I40 (Route 66 as was), on to Memphis, then track the Mississippi down to New Orleans is a much better idea. The four of us are all aged around 50, all diehard rock and blues buffs, so somehow it seems much more our trip of a lifetime than trekking along the 10. Any thoughts re offbeat places (especially where we can get a few beers in good company) and people on the way? And the weather in Nov/Dec too? I've checked several websites, but personal recommendations would be very welcome.
You should come visit Austin,Texas.
Make sure you go to Preservation Hall in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Its the home of New Orleans Jazz.
Memphis can be cold that time of year, but if your a blues fan its a must. Don't forget the King!