Whew! What a day we had. We started our day with a complimentary breakfast at our Best Western. Take my advice on this gang: Skip breakfast. Seriously. Licking wallpaper paste off of the hotel room walls tastes better. No, really.
After breakfast, we made our way to Carlsbad Cavern. We were one of the first visitors of the day as it was just after 9am. Another plus for well-known attractions: Get there early. We hate crowds and getting there early helped us to avoid the masses.
The caverns were amazing (DUH!). There were lots of switchback trails which were good as our legs need the training for Grand Canyon. Besides the amazing sights (more of that in a second), I did have a few pet peeves. My guys both thought that getting dripped on by the cave was a special thing and something to be proud of. In the 4 or so hours that we walked the caves, they were dripped on tons of times. I got it once. My guys thought that was hilarious. I wanted to be special. Our other HUGE gripe were stupid tourists that didn’t listen or read the signs that said: “DO NOT TOUCH THE FORMATIONS!” We also saw spare change in the pools (which was HIGHLY discouraged) and kids running around. What is up with THAT?!
As for the formations, we loved everything. From the stalagtites (hug tight to the ceiling), stalagmites (they are mighty and might reach the ceiling), the “popcorn” calcite deposits (a.k.a. wall barnacles), to the “draperies” (a.k.a. Steak-Ums curtains). Our family really enjoyed the natural beauty like Carlsbad. We couldn’t believe how many people just breezed by us on the trails and didn’t take but a fraction of a second to look at their surroundings. Silly people.
From Carlsbad Caverns, we drove through Roswell, New Mexico. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with Roswell. With all the hype that Mulder & Scully gave about Roswell, I was expecting to see aliens waving from every street corner. Hardly! They did have some cheesy gift shops down the main street, but most of the city looked just like that – a city. We did spy an amazing junk yard FULL of old 1950’s trucks and classic cars. It was a rusty, classic car graveyard. Really sad to see such amazing cars rust away. We also saw that Roswell has a HUGE people cemetary. Seriously. One of the largest cemetaries I have EVER seen. It was like every person west of the Mississippi River that had passed away was buried there.
Sadly, I didn’t find the cheesy alien t-shirt that I was looking for. I was hoping to find something that had a nostalgic feel. Something like a “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (I mean Space) feel. I didn’t find anything like that. Instead, we got a postcard for our scrapbook and a magnet for our fridge. I did think that the Roswell street lamps were a hoot.
As far as Southern New Mexico goes, here are things that we noticed:
- It is VERY flat
- There are lots of cool dust devils swirling on the plains
- Farmers love to plant crops in a circle format instead of rectangular fields
- There are lots of goats & cows – something you wouldn’t expect in a dry area such as this
- There are lots of cactus & yucca everywhere
- There are endless miles of barbed wire fences (seems the ranchers want to keep those goats & cows inside)
After Roswell, we made our way to Albuquerque, NM for the evening. You know you are in a bigger city when you see: “Albuquerque – Next 17 exits” on the Interstate signs. Our son saw that Route 66 was just off the Interstate and asked if we could drive on it a bit. We got in about a 5 mile drive on Rte. 66. Of course, I had to play “Route 66” by Depeche Mode on our iPod while we were driving. Mood music and all.
For tomorrow’s schedule, we are planning on Flagstaff & Sedona. We heard on our Grand Canyon podcast that the Grand Canyon still has ice at the top of the rim. We are thinking of picking up (or, hopefully renting from the local REI) some ice spikes for our boots. I would like us to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon without slipping and sliding on ice.
I am off to get a good night sleep on our DOUBLE BED. What?! Our son loves that he gets a double to himself. I hope my hubby likes me alot because a double bed is tiny compared to our king at home. Oh well, it is just one night. Sweet dreams!