Wow! What a busy day! We left the house just after 10:00 this morning and didn’t return until about 5:30 pm. We did lots of sightseeing and also each deployed several Munzee’s…we are officially addicted, I think!
Our first stop was at Restlawn Cemetery to visit the grave of Tony Lama Sr. – ‘Bootmaker to the Stars’. He began his operation as a shoe repair shop in 1912 in El Paso.
Next was a stop not far from our RV park, another of my Roadside America finds…and quite possibly my favorite to this point. The House of Sugar (La Casa de Asucar) was built by Rufino Loya between 1973 and 1998. The inspiration for the house was a promise he made to his wife that he would make something beautiful for her…and that he did! He walls around his home and decorated them with ornate decorations – flowers, leaves, balls, etc. There are some decorations on the house as well…but not as much as on the walls. There are several ‘shrines’ along the walls with scripture in both Spanish & English. The most amazing thing is the condition of the artwork…it’s freshly painted with no cracks, chips, graffiti or debris. A definite ‘must see’ if you’re in El Paso.
I packed us each a salad for lunch that we ate in the parking lot of the National Border Patrol Museum before going inside. We had a gorgeous view of the Franklin Mountains to enjoying while we ate our lunch.
The border patrol museum was kind of interesting in that there were items that were found on illegal aliens when they were arrested (weapons, backpacks) as well as some of the ‘vehicles’ used to cross the border. There was also an area paying respects to agents who lost their lives in the line of duty and to the canine patrol.
Our journey took us to the front entrance to the El Paso International Airport to view the statue of the Controversial Conquistador, Juan de Onate (another Roadside America find). The statue is the largest equestrian statue in the world standing 36 feet tall! It’s referred to as the ‘controversial conquistador statue’ because many saw Onate as a cruel conqueror rather than intrepid explorer.
Do you remember George Jefferson? Today we visited the grave of the real life Sherman Hemsley who played, George Jefferson. Hemsley passed away in July 2012 from lung cancer but due to legal battles was just buried in December. He is buried at the Ft. Bliss National Cemetery.
We made a pit stop at 3610 Johnson St…the site of our very first apartment. It was a small 1 bedroom apartment that we lived in for 4 months or so before we moved on post. Surprisingly, it was still there and hadn’t changed much other than the pool being filled in and is now a patio area.
Just up the road from our apartment was the William Beaumont Army Hospital. It sits at the base of the Franklin Mountains and I still can’t believe that I don’t remember those darn mountains as all of my prenatal visits when I was pregnant with our oldest son, Zack, were done at Beaumont!
Our last stop of the day was the Wyler Aerial Tramway. The tram ride up to Ranger Peak was $8.00 per person and you can stay up there as long as you want. The ride up and down takes about 4 minutes each way. Our tram operator was very informative and answered lots of questions. From the top of Ranger peak you can see New Mexico, Juarez, Mexico and of course, the city of El Paso…along with the rest of the Franklin Mountains. This would also be another ‘must do’ when in El Paso.
Something I did remember was that most of the yards in El Paso don’t have grass…they’re dirt or rocks and the many of houses themselves are Pueblo style.