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September 30, 2015

Carlsbad Caverns–New Mexico


A bit of a detour, but well worth it.  An easy drive up to Whites City RV Park for the night just 7 miles from Carlsbad Caverns.
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We entered the caverns via the natural entrance used by the bats and yes it smells like the bats use it, but it’s not over the top strong.  There is the option of taking an elevator, don't let the 1 mile 800 foot drop discourage you.
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Taking pictures within the cavern is a bit difficult as any camera stand is not permitted.  The trails are narrow and a tripod would block traffic, or could damage the delicate formations.  But holding a camera steady for a low light photo is not easy….
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The natural entrance is steep! Up to a 20% grade over an 800 foot drop.  However, it intersects with the Big Room trails which is relatively level.  It is here where the stalactites  and stalagmites meet.
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And the Big Room is big, 4 football fields across.  There are different sections within the Big Room, which the self guided trail will lead you through.
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Note the water ... this formation is one of the few still active.
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Although there is an option to return to the surface via the Natural Entrance, there is also an option to take the elevator.  We took the elevator, making this an all downhill hike!

Continuing west …

September 29, 2015

West Texas

Although it’s time to be heading home, there’s still time for a few more adventures.  We’re heading west of San Antonio on US-90, a bit shorter than I-10, but a bit longer and more our style with more to see.
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Fort Clark Springs
Stopped here for the night at the old Army Fort, which is now a private gated community that welcomes travelers.  Although built after Texas independence to protect the border, George Patton trained his troops here.
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The noted feature for the guests is the spring fed pool.  An enormous swimming hole!, or fishing hole.
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The RV park is located up the hill past the historic buildings in an open area.  Not much shade, but full hookups with good Wi-Fi and maybe cable – ours did not work.  And turkeys!
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Our morning hike was to follow the stream down to the second crossing and back.  The trail is used by golf carts also, although a pretty hike it is not very challenging.
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We did have to share the trail with a number of local residents, a nice touch as they came out to say hello.
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Langtry, Texas
The home of Judge Roy Bean.  There’s more here just below the surface.  Roy Bean’s brother Joshua H. Bean was the first mayor of San Diego.  While Roy was in San Diego, Joshua as mayor sold pueblo lands and the City Hall to himself.  Needless to say he was not reelected, and shorty thereafter murdered in Los Angles.

Roy named his town and saloon the Jersey Lilly after Lilly Langtry, born in Jersey England.
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Bean charged $5 for weddings, and ended the ceremony with “and may God have mercy on your souls” as if marriage was a death sentence.  He considered himself “The Law West of the Pecos”.
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Alpine, Texas
There are a couple RV parks right on US-90 but tucked back, off the highway is the Lost Alaskan.
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The little town of Alpine is adorned with frescoes on the building walls.  We did not find out the reason behind this expense, but it is a nice touch.  We parked in front of the lumber yard with an cowboy scene in progress.
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Recognize Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright) of Bonanza?  He was a star football player at the local Sul Ross State University in Alpine.  Also notice they are still painting the bricks on the building behind.
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Picked up ribs and brisket from Bubbies’ Holy Smoke BBQ for lunch later on the road.  It’s a food truck in front of a gas station serving up the best BBQ around.
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Marfa, Texas
Home the the famous Marfa Lights.  We stopped at the viewing area of US90 mid-morning, no lights while we were there!, well it was during the day.
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We had already had breakfast, and still with BBQ for lunch, we skipped the famous Marfa Burrito and ate our BBQ at Prada Marfa.
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More Texas tomorrow, after a detour to see the Caverns ….