Monday, February 21, 2011

My trip to El Paso,Tx

While I was on vacation I went to El Paso, Tx to attend a runners convention with many of my friends from all over the country. 128 of us gathered together and stayed at the Mesa Inn. It has been our hotel for our convention for 11 years. She may be getting old and rusty but with the owners warm welcome and Texas sized jacuzzi we could never find a place to equal.

The Mesa Inn has been around since the 60's and the original decor, including shag carpeting and furniture, is still there. I have actually been trying to buy the hotel but haven't found the investors yet. I have been told several times "game winning business plan but I can't with this economy do this right now." Aw shucks.......

The convention is held in January. Even though it is winter time and the weather can be crazy, we have been lucky to have perfect weather every year there. It is pretty cold at night and I have even had my very wet beach towel sitting by the jacuzzi frozen solid and stiff as a board. Try getting the nerve to exit a hot jacuzzi and run back to your room when it is 20 degrees. But during the day it is sunny and perfect. We even had it up in the mid 70's one year.

Some of us, like me, get there on Thursday because we can't wait for the fun. That night we would have a short trail that is composed of mostly locals. I drove on that trail because I volunteered to carry the beer. Warm in the car and carrying the beer that everyone is after. Can't get much better than that.  On Friday those of us already there go and meet for lunch at L&J restaurant. It is a one of the most popular restaurant and has awesome food. You have to try it if you are ever in the area. We eat, talk, welcome new comers from the airport, and have a ball.

We all gather around the fire pit on Friday afternoon and get registered for the weekend. After that we just laze around, wait for dinner time, and get caught up on things that happened over the year since we saw each other. On Friday night we had a pub crawl with the theme Elvis.  We always get regular people at the bars asking who we are, what we are doing, and could they get a picture of us. We would dance, sing songs, drink, and be merry. During the pub crawl we also sold raffle ticket's to raise money for a legendary runner from the El Paso chapter who had suffered a massive stroke. We went to 4 bars and rode the local chapter's school bus back to the hotel. That bus was our designated driver for the whole weekend.

On Saturday we ran the first of several runs for the weekend. One was a run across the border to Juarez and then back. About half the group went on that one and the other half did a run around the downtown area. It was a fun and funny with the few lost runners straggling around. The lost ones would ask the locals if they saw a bunch of crazy people running around and they would usually point them in the right direction.

Saturday night was spent relaxing in the hot tub and rehashing the funny things seen and done on that days run. We had our traditional BBQ Brisket that we do every year and I am drooling now remembering it. Later on that evening we had a DJ in the banquet room and bring your own poison to the bar set up. Another night of dancing, singing songs, drinking, and being merry.

Sunday is the big marathon day. There are 2 runs set up for that day, one being a marathon (24 miles if ya don't get lost) and the other one a turkey (easy) trail for those hungover or not gutsy enough to do a marathon. We had 48 compete in the marathon and all but 1 completed it. The one guy, who always gets lost, had to call for a ride back since he was completely lost and not even close to the trail.

Sunday night we again had dinner and a party with lots of games like quarters, beer pong, poker, word games, and people just relaxing again in the hot tub to ease sore muscles. Sunday night comes way to fast for all of us and we are dreading Monday when we all have to part ways and wait for next year to do it all over again.

Monday is the what we call the "Hangover trail". It is actually a short walk from our hotel to our local hangout Kings X Bar. It has a restaurant attached that has great food and we all hang out there while people slowly leave in groups for the ride back to the airport for their flight home. Usually we are already talking about the next years convention and what trails we could do.

Over the weekend we have breakfast and dinner provided along with endless beer. I will usually go to my favorite places for lunch since I drive there. My favorite place to go is Smitty's BBQ. It is an awesome BBQ joint with several types of BBQ'd meat available. Gotta go there if you are ever in the area.

Another popular place is Chico's tacos. Ask anyone from the area and they will know what you are talking about. I haven't been there yet and won't because I promised Max that he and I would go there when he gets back from Afghanistan.

So another year done and I am impatiently waiting for next year to do it all over again. Until then I will go back several times because I love the area, people, have many good friends there, and will keep working on the hotel deal.

Now if I can just find a money man then I will be there permanently and be happy as a clam.

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