Postcard Shots

I found a postcard scan of El Paso from about 92 or so:

El Paso from about 1992

For comparison here’s a similar shot from 2006:

El Paso from 2006

And here’s from a week ago:

El Paso from 2011

Yeah, I didn’t notice anything different¬†either¬†ūüôā That’s unfortunate¬†because a lot has changed down there. ¬†In that same time we got a¬†couple¬†of new museums, a¬†handful¬†of buildings have been revitalized and the Plaza Theater has been reopened. ¬†The makings of an art scene have begun and there are many new¬†restaurants and clubs that have opened.¬†¬†¬†¬†To the casual visitor who may only stop at scenic drive for that 4000 foot view, downtown looks exactly the same as it has for years. ¬†You know what though, that may be a bonus to the vendors who have stockpiles of El Paso postcards.

Portland Cement Reservoir

Another¬†largely unknown¬†oddity¬†on El Paso’s Westside is the Portland Cement Reservoir. ¬†Its a small man made lake that sits between Paisano and I-10. ¬†To get to it you need to exit from Paisano onto Race Track Drive and head towards the Buena Vista Grocery. ¬†You then turn right on Torres Street and drive past a red, 3 story¬†brick building. The road is dirt from there and you are looking for a turn that will take you up hill next to a¬†mobile¬†home that sits on the top. ¬†If you pass a cement plant you have gone to far:

Not to far off the beaten path

It’s easy enough to get to, the first hill between the mobile home and the cement plant was kind of steep but not impassable. ¬†Once up top you pass a large water tower and it should be a little ways off to the left.

Come on in, the water's fine!

I’m guessing Cemex or Jobe uses this for their quarry operations, as there was some sort of pump and line going into the lake. ¬† Schools of mosquito fish were in the water so it must not be to bad. ¬†There was a large presence of¬†algae in the water but it didn’t have any funny or moldy smells. There’s a good chance of seeing a bob cat or even a mountain lion given the presence of¬†birds in the trees and several large jack rabbits that I spooked off.

Over the dam and through the rocks...

Across the dam there was an area that may have been a boat launch at one time.

Boat launch?

From the boat launch area a road continues on the right around the lake. I drove off to the left and found the worlds most desolate ball park:

Batter up!

There wasn’t much more to see so I headed back to the office. ¬†The full Flickr set can be viewed here.

The Junk Drawer

Everybody has one, that special drawer that stores all the¬†nonsense that you can’t quite place elsewhere. Chip clips, batteries, found parts of objects that you no longer have and gum…lots of gum.

Well I have the digital equivalent in photographs.  Random shots that individually may not stand on their own but are just as interesting as a complete set.

Pride of the Westside, now without trees!

The pic above is a good example of momentary importance. The current owners of the Coronado Tower have decided that that after all these years the building needed some cleaning up and in the process removed all the trees making it look rather stark.

Liberated Liberty

I organize things all the time. In my garage, my office and even my music collection everything has its place. I really don’t like junk drawers¬†because really it means you have failed at putting everything in its place. ¬†With all the photographs I have taken or scanned its no different. ¬†I could go the straight sort by date route but interesting little gems would get lost in the sea of dates. ¬†in reality, photos are better grouped¬†chronologically¬†by event anyway. There are only a few times in your life where the exact date is important.

Everything is bigger in Texas

So that leaves me with my digital junk drawer. At least its not stacked up somewhere, blocking an exit and creating a fire hazard. Random 2011 and 2010

I’m on a Bridge to Nowhere

If you have lived in El Paso for a while one of the things you may have noticed on the westside is the bridge to nowhere. ¬†It’s right before the Sunland Park exit and there appears to be no reason for it.

Who put that here?

There was once a purpose but when the drainage dam was built the road to it got severed leaving only the entrance from the neighborhood in Buena Vista.  That side is fenced off.

The bridge taunts you from behind the gate

I have always wondered if it was possible to get to it so today I set off to try. I looked at the area from above on Google and found a dirt road that entered the drainage area from the side of the Westside Recreation Center. There is a gate but today it was open.

Looks all flat and easy from here.

Once in I drove to a wash area where some taggers had hit some concrete walls.

Krylon tracks

From there I drove along the top ridge and then down the side of the dam.  That proved to be a dumb move as once I got to the bottom I was greeted by 3 foot boulders blocking my way. After trying unsuccessfully in 4low to get back up the only way I found around was by skirting the bottom of the dam sideways next to the boulders. It was a long 1o minutes of sideways slip and sliding.

Easy does it

I won’t lie and say I wasn’t sweating bullets. ¬†The rocky substrate kept sending me towards the boulders, I had to fight the urge to gas it and just let myself creep along. ¬†The end of the boulder line drops you right at the entrance to the bridge so all in all it worked out.

Success!

I wasn’t going to be able to go back the way I came so I traveled down a rocky and rutted hill which put me right next to I-10, before the Sunland exit. ¬†For future reference, it may be possible to go this route¬†instead of the tricky way i went.¬† ¬†I think its time to look into winches.

Full Flickr set here: Bridge to Nowhere