Thursday, May 26, 2011

Days 4 and 5: Weatherford OK to Carslbad, NM to Roswell, NM

May 25 and 26, 2011  I'm combining two days into one post.

On Wednesday, it was a long day on the road.  We left Weathersford and headed southwest, staying off the Interstate and step-stone crossing Oklahoma, Texas, and into New Mexico.  Barbara got to see the Southwest part of the USA for the first time.  Cutting to the chase, she has seen all of the sagebrush and rocks that she wants to see!  After about 5 hours of nothing but rocks and sagebrush, she got bored with the terrain and was ready for some town.

The highlight of the day was lunch, eaten at Yesteryears Drug Store Cafe.  It was in a small town, the only restaurant we could find in the town.  The place was neat, and the food good.  The owner stood at our table through the meal and talked about the place and travel adventures.  It was a good stop.

The other highlight (or lowlight) of the day was about an hour after we got off the Interstate, crossing Texas, we were going down a paved farm road and needed to get to the route to take us where we wanted to go.  About every mile was a cross road that connected to the other road.  The cross roads were dirt and gravel.  After about 3 of those cross roads, I decided to take the next one so we could get on the road we needed.

The dirt road was 1.3 miles long, and not especially bumpy or rough.  About half way across, a "Low Tire Pressure Warning" displayed on the dashboard.  It indicated that a tire was going down.

At the end of the dirt road, I got out and visually inspected the tires, and all looked just fine.  Town was only about 3 miles away, so I backtracked to town and found a Wal Mart (I was amazed that one was in that tiny town) so we could get a pressure gage.  They had one, so I checked the pressures.  All tires were just fine.  I decided that a sensor had gone bad and that the warning system needed to be reset.

Her car has On Star, so we called the service to ask how to reset the system.  The lady was nice and walked us through how to do it, and it was successful.  All in all, it was a false warning.  I'm glad it turned out that way.

The remainder of the day was uneventful and boring.  We stayed in Carlsbad, NM and had a good lunch at a local eatery.

Today, we got up and traveled the 30 or so miles south to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  The drive down was easy, and the scenery excited Barbara.  She saw the first of many very rocky mountains (not The Rocky Mountains).

We got tickets for the self-guided tour and decided to walk in through the natural entrance.  Man, what a walk,  We walked 30 minutes, on a steep decline, going some 700 vertical feet into the cave.

What we found inside can't be described by words.  My best description is that these caverns are the grand canyon of caverns.  Gorgeous!  Stupendous!  Huge!  Indescribably beautiful!  I've been in a lot of caverns on the east coast, including Mammoth Caverns in Kentucky, and none even compare with these.  I'll post a few pics of the better shots to illustrate.

These caverns are famous for their bats, but we didn't see any, and we didn't hang around until they leave the cavern at dusk.  But we did see swallows in pretty good numbers flying about the entrance.  We didn't get dropped on!

We did the "Entrance" walk and the "Big Room" walk, both of which were free due to my Senior Pass.  We did rent the devices that talk to you, which were helpful to learn more about what we were seeing.  We walked about 3 miles inside the cavern and were pretty tired when we rode the elevator the 770 feet to the surface.

Had lunch at the lunchroom there and looked around a bit in the welcome center.  Then got in the car and decided to take the 9.3 mile gravel road wildlife loop.  The wildlife loop was a mistake; we saw no wildlife, and the road was much rougher than either had thought it would be.  We had no mishaps, but the bottom of the car scraped rock and gravel in a number of places.  We were both relieved to see asphalt again!

From the park, we rode the 90 or so miles to Roswell.  Located our hotel for the night, checked in, got dinner, and am now blogging.  Oh, and I need to mention this--I like gas prices in Roswell.  Riding through town, we saw gas prices as low as $3.21!  I was expecting to pay $4 per gallon, but, thankfully, the prices are decreasing.  I'm happy about that.

Today was a very good day; we're both tired, but the images of the caverns are still floating in our minds.

That's it for today.


  1. Beautiful pictures of Carlsbad Caverns National Park! Glad you didn't drive the Civic.

  2. Oops. Almost forgot. I hope you two see some aliens tomorrow!!!!