When we originally planned our trip, we didn’t anticipate a stop in El Paso, but curiosity got the best of us and we went with one pit stop on the way. We didn’t stay long in El Paso and only saw one of the major sites there – Chamizal National Memorial.
Where We Stayed
Would you be surprised to know that we stayed at a Walmart just outside of El Paso. We are becoming quite use to it, and this Walmart was brand new! The parking lot was busy until after 10, and then it was pretty quiet. It was only a 15-minute drive to Chamizal National Memorial, making it an optimal stay over.
What We Did
We left Amistad in late morning and headed west following the border. On our trip to El Paso we had only one customs stop. They had a dog sniff our trailer and we moved on. The customs agent was extremely friendly and wished us safe travels. At points we would see planes flying over the border, border patrol trucks passing by, and cameras in various places. I have never been to the border so I found this process quite fascinating.
Our first pit stop was at Fort Davis National Historic Site. Fort Davis played a major role in the Southwest from 1854 to 1891. Troops stationed there protected freighters, mail coaches, and travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso road. They spent a lot of time pursuing Comanches, Kiowas and Apaches who attacked travelers on the road. During the Civil War, with Texas part of the Confederacy, the fort was occupied with Confederate troops. The fort was reoccupied in 1867 to 1891, with troops to patrol the road, trail the Apaches who continued to make travel on the road dangerous, and make repairs to the road and telegraph lines. The troops of the fort did see a major battle in 1880 when it forced the Apaches and their leader Victorio into Mexico, where Mexican soldiers killed Victorio and most of his followers.
Today, the fort is well preserved. We took a tour of the barracks, commissary, officer’s quarters, kitchen, and hospital. During our visit, the fort plays bugle calls, making it feel like a very real fort at times. Sparky was also able to explore and enjoy many smells. We stayed for a few hours.
After our peaceful night at Walmart, we drove to Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso. Chamizal celebrates the peaceful settlement of a land dispute in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico on August 29, 1963. The land had been shaped and reshaped by the shifting Rio Grande River. Thanks to diplomacy and technology, a solution was created – the river was constrained within a concrete channel for four and a half miles forming a permanent border and bisecting the disputed territory between US and Mexico. The land that was once part of Mexico is now where the Memorial is. Although many see the treaty as a positive one, there were thousands of US citizens who lived in the disputed area and were force to relocate. The Chamizal National Memorial was created in 1974 and uses music, visual arts, dances, and drama to celebrate Mexican/American culture.
During our visit we checked out the museum, the murals, the historical boundary markers, and walked along what was once the border. We were able to get a great view of the “Bridge of the Americas” between El Paso and Juárez. The NPS employee in the museum was incredibly helpful and loved sharing information. If you find yourself driving through El Paso, we would recommend checking it out.
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico