Monday, June 8, 2015

Journaling: El Paso to Carlsbad**

When last you heard we were nearing El Paso on I-10.  Even though we arrived in the metropolis during the afternoon rush hour, driving through the city and onto US 62 - 180 heading east was not a difficult feat.  We passed the last campground in El Paso as the sun was setting but felt confident that better things lay ahead.  Indeed.  About thirty miles out as dusk was settling, we were stopped by the Border Patrol.  The pleasant young officer advised us not to stay in the campground at the next intersection as "that is the place at which anyone trying to evade the checkpoint will emerge."  So we drove on past that possibility and soon found ourselves ascending the Guadalupe Mountains in the dark.  As it turns out, even though we missed the scenery, perhaps "in the dark" was a good way to get through that area.

We arrived in White's City, NM, which is at the foot of the drive up to Carlsbad Caverns and named for Jim White, the kid who did the first explorations of the caverns over a hundred years ago.  We walked the dog and enjoyed a pleasant evening and a good night's rest in preparation for the morrow's adventure.

A bite of breakfast, a bit of a walk, then the drive up the mountain to the main attraction.  We let the attendants talk us into renting ($3 apiece) recorded tour guide keyed to numbered areas throughout the great room.  Save your change.  It is a) way too much information to absorb while trying to appreciate the wonders of this Creation, and b) a running conservation diatribe and a constant reminder to keep your fingers off the marvels.  Learn about it before you get there, or even  afterward, but enjoy the place.

Craning the neck while trying to experience the place as completely as possible proved to be a daunting task, along with the over-long walk.  At one point after much walking, we encountered a
Park Service Ranger and asked, "How much farther?"  "You can put your landing gear down now," she replied.  Don't trust them.

Finally we exited into the light of day, drove back down the mountain and turned northward toward Carlsbad.  We decided to go for the gourmet luncheon and stopped at Wendy's.  I believe it would be accurate to say it was here that I ate my first jr. bacon cheeseburger that was barely fit for human consumption.  Did put the old appetite to rest, though.   It was while we agonized over this tortured meal that we also agonized over the decision: to go north and east and hence homeward, or to the south and east and visit San Antonio and New Orleans.  We chose Southeast.  TBC

Photo is from a postcard.  Which I bought.


Grace said...

Being claustrophobic and disliking anything underground (including house basements) I have to content myself with photographs of these gorgeous places. New Awlins? Oh yay! A place I have always wanted to visit.

vanilla said...

Grace, I am quite certain that that visit was my last foray into a cavern. I have a real problem with it, and with "big box" stores though the triggers are probably not the same. Spoiler alert: No NO on this trip; came much later.

Sharkbytes said...

I like caves. I would love to see that one some day. Had a jigsaw puzzle and View-Master reels from there as a kid.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, View=Master! Me, too. I traveled the world as a child, awe-struck, seven pictures at a time.

KC Bob said...

I lived in El Paso (Ft Bliss) for 3 years when I was in the Army. Went to Carlsbad in 71 and enjoyed it.

vanilla said...

Kc Bob, I am glad I visited Carlsbad. It is amazing, I would not do it again.