Apr 24, 2012

Carlsbad, NM...friends and events

Wow.  An unending road, forever skyline, and a new state.

Another spur-of-the-moment, unplanned stop to visit friends in Carlsbad, NM.  Bill and Cynthia  live in Artesia, but drove down to Carlsbad to meet us for dinner.  We were a bit late getting in, (thanks to the flat tire episode) but ended up having a lovely pulled-pork BBQ picnic beside the Pecos River.  Thanks, Powers family!

After the picnic, we headed to an RV park a 1/2 mile away and they headed home.  We found out at that point that we had no tail/brake lights.  The flat tire had broken a wire in the wheel well.

The next morning, we got up and drove to Walmart.  We were out of milk, (national emergency) and Tim wanted to get whatever it was he needed to fix the brake lights.

I head in to Wally World to do my grocery shopping and when I come out, there's Tim, Abe, and some random guy all peering into the bowels of the RV.  He saw our license plate and stopped to help.  He said he couldn't pass us by when he saw we were from VA.  He just moved out here from...get this....Hillsville, VA!  I know a bunch of people that have some interesting memories from that fair town.  What a small world!  Super nice guy.  Between him, Tim, and Abe, they soon found the problem, fixed it, and we were on our way.

We were trying to make it to the cave by 1:00 for a specific tour we wanted to take.  Running a little behind, Tim drove like a bat out of ....ahem....up this 7 mile curvy road.

I did find one thing good about cactus:  it IS pretty when it blooms.

We arrived in a whirlwind.  Abe and I jumped out to run in and try to get tickets.  The 1:00 tour was sold out, but I did find out that it's National Park week and all National Parks are free through the 29th!  Pretty cool!  This will come in handy when we go to the Grand Canyon in a couple of days.

On the way in, Abe offered me another one of his famous bets:  "I'll give you $5 to sit on that."
And to Conni; "I'll give you $5 to do a somersault into that."  We both declined.

We headed to the natural entrance - no elevators for us!  It was a half mile hike to the entrance, with warnings all the way.

Did you know this is how you would assess your fitness level for a long, strenuous hike?  It's all in the biceps. :)

My pretty girl with blooming cactus behind her.

Approaching the hole was a little creepy and very awe inspiring.

Of course, the man creatures in the family have to goof off and scare the bejeebers out of me.

 We studied everything about caves this year in Science with my 5th grader.  It was really cool to see all the speleothems: stalactites, stalagmites, columns.  Thought of you, Shane, many times!

I don't want to bore you or myself too much with too many pictures of cave formations.  I will say, though, that descriptions of this cave don't do it justice.  Its immenseness is beyond comprehension!  The sheer magnitude of it kind of overwhelms me.  We just kept going down, and down, and down!  750 feet underground!  Like I said, a bit creepy!

I guess this is as good a place as any to share a few cave quotes that were overheard while down in the bowels of the earth.  Contributors shall remain anonymous....

  • It smells like bat pee in here.
  • What are those things?  Run away wheel chair ramps?
  • They should really let you climb on things in here.
  • This would be an awesome place to play paint ball.
  • I think I'm more of an above-ground person.
  • I bet I could jump out and scare someone so bad they'd die!
  • Why do they say "NO TOUCHING?"  Don't they know that just makes you want to touch it?
  • If there's ever a nuclear war, this is where I want to be.

This is the way we came down.

Don't freak out you park ranger wanna-be's.  I'm not really touching it.

A stalagmite that was almost exactly my height.  Maybe in another 100,000 years, it will reach the top.

Back up on top (via the elevator) and in the rip-off shop.  Conni straddling the US from VA to NM.

On our way back out to the RV, we saw this handy little rig.  If you're looking for a little more inexpensive type RV, this might just be the trick!

We jumped back in the RV, and with Abe driving, we headed SW to El Paso.  Tim and I fixed grilled ham and cheese sandwiches as we rolled.

Yes, he even slices cheese with intensity! :)

Traveling through the Guadalupe Mountains.  So starkly beautiful!

In El Paso and looking across the border into Juarez, Mexico!  Just across the Rio Grande.  I was pretty tickled we were able to get this close to the border.

Heading North on I-25 into NM.

Now we're parked in a lovely RV resort in Elephant Butte, NM.  Looking forward to exploring the lake here tomorrow.

Goodnight folks! Have a blessed, happy, and fun-filled week!

Till next time!


  1. Oh I'm still enjoying your trip with you all! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for continuing coverage of your trip - really enjoy the posts!

  3. this post made me laugh...lots. Especially Tim's face as he hacks at that cheese. I can totally relate to all the funny family moments....takes me back to my growing up days in my funny family. Looks like yall are having fun!