Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Carlsbad Caverns & Surroundings

Where In The World are Keith & Kathy?

The morning following our tire debacle in West Texas, we motored north about 100 miles to Carlsbad, NM. We checked in at The Ranch, a small SKP Co-op in Lakewood, NM. The Ranch is a clean and very friendly park, but suffers from being located in a less scenic part of the southeastern New Mexico desert. Not unattractive by any means, but not as scenic as other parks in the SKP system. Nonetheless, we would not hesitate to park here for a week or so, because the people are so nice. See below for some of our photos of West Texas and Southeast New Mexico

After setting up camp (this means disconnecting the car, parking, and plugging in the electric cord), we headed to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The visitors center was closed for remodeling, but the cave was open for touring.

First, lets get something straight. Keith does not like caves. He is mildly claustrophobic, and can’t get it out of the back of his mind that he is 750 feet underground. This phobia notwithstanding, the caverns are truly impressive, both for their size, extent, and torturous morphology, and for the many and varied formations (spelioforms, in cave lingo) caused by evaporation of mineral laden water seepage. We glimpsed a cave Troll, and heard the tap-tap of Orc hammers, but did not spot a Balrog, thanks to the good efforts of the Wizard Gandalf, who defeated the last known specimen. The road to the caves is very scenic, as seen below.

Road to the Carlsbad Caverns

Prickly Pear Cactus seen on the Road to the Caverns

Yucca Seen on the Road to the Caverns

View from the Carlsbad Caverns Visitors Center

Cave Troll

We enjoyed a late lunch at a Chinese buffet on the way back to the Ranch (2-1/2 Cows), then crashed for the evening, in preparation for a visit to the intergalactic space terminal the next morning in Roswell, NM.

Roswell , NM is the site of a supposedly 1946 crash of an alien spacecraft on the outskirts of the city. For years this was the city’s claim to fame but in recent years the Chamber of Commerce has worked very hard to change its one-sided image. However our destination was the UFO Museum in Roswell, where the street lights are shaped as the heads of Alien beings. The museum is as hokey as you would expect with all the “Top Secret” documents and interviews from people who witnessed the space crash.

Roswell Emporium

Roswell Space Tourist

Where it all Happens in Roswell

During our tour Kathy examined everything and Keith selectively viewed a couple of exhibits that interested him. The gift shop was filled with unusual gifts. We left after purchasing a T-shirt and jar of Hot salsa.

Another highlight of our visit to Roswell was a Mexican bakery (4 COWS) . The pastry was fresh and delicious!

Shown below are some general views in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico:

Leaving the Texas Hill Country

West Texas Windmill Farm

West Texas State Tree

New Mexico Skyscape

Guadalupe Mountains

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