What to do in Hobbs when it's blowing a hoolie and otherwise: Food, camping, lodging, beer.

Hobbs is a full-service town; Fedex delivers, cell service is good and there's a Wal-Mart and a Kmart. Compared to Arco or Chelan it's a metropolis, but Manhattan it isn't. The following are my preferences; use your discretion. Navigating in Hobbs is about impossible, so use my street designations cautiously, the GPS locations should be accurate.

Eating

Taco Villa, on the strip south of Wal-Mart, is about the best of the worst for fast food.

The North Forty, to the East of Wal-Mart, is good for breakfast if you're sick of Dan's and El Caballero, which both do really good breakfasts of both Gringo and Mex. food.

Dan's Mexican Restaurant:

Dan's is where to eat when El Caballero gets old; I think the Asado is better at Dan's than El Caballero, as are the Huevos Rancheros. The service is great, and I've never spent more than $7 on dinner or breakfast.

GPS: (N) 32 41. 488 (W) 103 07.673

El Caballero

Those who spend a lot of time in Hobbs will undoubtedly argue over whether Dan's or El Caballero is better, but El Caballero has a more diverse dinner menu, and is definitely hotter. Apparently they sell Aloe Vera toilet paper in Hobbs, EC may be the reason. . The Coctel des Camarones and the Caldo des Camarones are both worth eating repeatedly, but do the Tacos Carne Asada if they're on the special list. Cheap, great service, typical Formica and fluorescent ambience. Some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico.

GPS: (N) 32 41. 783 (W) 103 08.283

Holidaze, on the west end of Dal Paso, has a huge selection of microbrews on tap, as well as good food. More pricey than Dan's or El Caballero, but a popular local hangout. Most people warm up at Holidaze, then head for Diamond Lil's, just east on Dal Paso. Diamond Lil's is a serious western bar, also known as Shotgun Lil's due to occasional gun fire. You can probably find a fight or a line dance without looking too hard.

If you want to go upscale, the Cattle Baron on Grimes is good, expensive but with the best salad bar in town and average service. Oil-field execs can be seen here, a vanishing breed in the depressed West Texas oil fields.

Camping, Hotels

There's a good campground across from Crossroads, $7 per night with free rattlesnakes. Many people camp at Hobbs, but I regard Cable TV, Air Conditioning and a phone line as essentials for any long trip. There are dozens of hotels in Hobbs, most will work a deal for weekly rates, just work a few and make your choice, you won't pay over $30/night for a room with two beds.

Other Activities

The Octillo jogging trail circles the golf course near Crossroads, primarily on dirt paths for 2.5 miles. Lots of people run in the morning or evening, only the hard corps run during the day.

The Body Shop gym is my favorite, but most people seem to like Crabby Jacks betters. The Body shop is cheap, $5/visit or $30/month, and seems to offer enough of everything. Tiki and Michael like Crabby Jacks better, Tiki says it's cleaner, but I wouldn't know.

Carlsbad Caverns are less than two hours away; stay late or arrive at dawn to watch the bats fly in and out of the cave. You can also go on guided tours of several "wild," or mostly undeveloped caves in the region, talk to the rangers at Carlsbad for more information.

There's supposed to be some climbing near Carlsbad as well, but I don' know where it is, good luck.

Other Services

The Electronic Module will fix your push to talk, loose wires or whatever electronic gremlins have invaded your electronic stuff. They bumped my radio but then wanted it back for fear that the FCC was about to swoop down like avenging angels, so they might not want to bump yours. Nice people, reasonable rates. On the strip farther toward Carlsbad.

There are lots of Laundromats, same for grocery stores. Hastings, in the mall, has a decent selection of books and software, and there's a Radio Shack with 2M antennas in the same mall..

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