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MONDAY - It's a moving day today and we were on the road by 9:00AM. The first thing we need to do is backtrack 37-miles to the town of Balmorhea, TX where it meets up with Interstate 10.

The gasolines prices near the Interstate are 15¢-20¢ cheaper than they are in the small town of Fort Davis where we have been staying for the past 4 nights.

The Davis Mountains as seen from TX-17 somewhere between Fort Davis and Balmorhea, TX.

Now that we've filled up with 30+ gallons of gasoline it's time to start heading another 175-miles west by northwest on Interstate 10. It wasn't too far down the Interstate when we saw this decorative bridge overpass.

Looks like someone had some extra time and paint and found something useful to do with it.

All along this stretch of Interstate 10 it was easy to figure out which travel lane the truckers use. It's the one that's all worn down and coated with rubber from their tires. It's also the lane that has nearly all of the potholes.

Those are the Franklin Mountains off in the distance, our destination for the day.

We've still got about another 1½-hours of travel time today, so we pulled off the Interstate into a Texas-style picnic area complete with concrete tipis. Not all Texas picnic areas or rest stops are equipped with these decorative and functional tipis however. For instance, the eastbound rest area across the Interestate from here does not have any tipis, just the standard shade structures like we had at the Fort Lancaster Scenic Overlook several days ago.

Just outside of El Paso, TX we exited Interstate 10 and turned onto TX-375, it's a loop road that skirts around the outside edges of El Paso and thankfully is where our next campsite is located.

El Paso, TX is a town of 678,000+ people and with that many people comes a lot of traffic, something we always try to avoid, especially when towing THE POD behind us.

TX-375 as it takes us through the Franklin Mountains, our campground on the other side.

It wasn't long before we arrived at the front gate entering the Franklin Mountains State Park. Once we got checked in at the Visitor Center we proceeded to our campsite.

There are only 5 RV campsites in this park, the other 44 are tent only campsites. Additionally there are several group and backpack campsites in the park.

It's obvious the RV campsites were an after thought because they are basically just converted parking spaces from an older trailhead parking lot. There's not even a dedicated port-a-potie in the RV area, you'll have to walk, ride or drive over to the tent area more than a ¼-mile away to find the nearest bathroom.

All tucked into Site #RV5 here at Franklin Mountains State Park.

We have a picnic table, garbage can, lantern pole and ground grill on our site, but that's it!

We also have a pretty wonderful view out the rear windows.

Our campsite is surrounded by these spiky plants with flowery stalks rising out of the middle.

You may think it's a type of cactus, or an agave, or even a yucca, but it's not. It's a Sotol!

Sotol does have one thing in common with agave.

While agave is distilled to make tequila, sotol is distilled into an alcohol called Sotol.

The agave plant is larger and will usually yeild 4 to 5 bottles of Tequila, while the much smaller sotol plant usually only yields 1 bottle of Sotol each.

TUESDAY - This morning we awoke to outside temperatures of 24°F, but it was a balmy 67°F inside THE POD where we were sleeping.

However it didn't stop Tricia from getting out of bed and going on her morning walk. It could have been worse I guess, we could still be camped back in Fort Davis where this morning's temperature was just 10°F.

Franklin Mountains State Park is known for it's strenuous long distance hiking trails and mountain biking trails, neither activity interests Tricia or I. So you may be wondering, what are we doing here?

Well, we are currently located just 21-miles from the Mexican border and a location known as the Chamizal National Memorial.

Originally the border between Mexico and the United States was defined as the deepest course of the Rio Grande River and for many years this was true from El Paso, TX all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Throughout the last 150-years the Rio Grande River has changed course many times when traveling through the El Paso area. Depending on water levels it could shift several times in just one season.

This map tries to depict the changing course of the Rio Grande River.

This created a 600-acre area that would constantly shift between being part of Mexico or being part of the United States according to the legal definition of the border. To make matters worse, there were some 5,000 people living on this 600-acre parcel of land, both Mexican and American citizens.

For over a century this disputed land was a source of conflict between the two governments. It wasn't until President Kennedy was in office that a resolution to the problem was agreed upon between the two countries and a concrete channel was constructed right down the middle of the 600-acres of land.

In 1967 the channel was completed and the waters of the Rio Grande River were diverted through it, forever solving the back and forth ownership of the land.

There is a small museum that is filled with photos and stories of the efforts it took by both sides to resolve the conflict.

The short documentary film was cleverly presented on a converted old cabinet TV and staged in a 1960s living room atmosphere.

Tomorrow we pack up and continue our travels westward into New Mexico.

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