We stopped briefly at the Home Depot in Carlsbad 15 miles south - I had almost completed the Angel Peak post at Bottomless Lakes but had been unable to publish it. We then went on down the main strip for gas only to realize that we left our step back at HD. Thank goodness it was still there…..
Then on to Carlsbad Caverns - the entrance into the Park is 18 miles south of Carlsbad then you drive in 7 miles to the Visitor Center.
Derek and I were here back in 2008 - our thought was that it would be fun for Cassia to see and experience.
Nice ride up to the caves.
Out front of the Visitor Center. We had lunch before we went in.
The cost is $10 per person except for under the age of 15. In 2008 it was $5.
A pretty neat overview of the caves.
The choice is yours to enter the cave from the natural entrance or the elevator. We like to take the natural entrance and return via the elevator. Back when we were youngish, in 2008, Derek and I actually walked back up through the natural entrance - the whole way down this time I wondered how we did that.
This was the 'whale mouth'. So - here is the thing about taking pictures in the caves - it's really hit or miss, especially with a point and shoot camera. Carlsbad Caverns is definitely an experience that could never be communicated through photos.
And I'm not even a cave person. When we left in 2008 I was awestruck and thought to myself that I hoped that everyone had a chance to visit at least once in their lives. So - if you are anywhere near Carlsbad Caverns and can get there I hope you do - even if you aren't a 'cave' person.
Back in 2008 I took hundreds of pictures only to go back and realize that hardly any of them worked out. I was more selective this time. I found that taking pictures directly with a light near by worked much better than a general picture.
The Lion's Tail.
The Chandelier in the Big Room - not the best picture but one of the main attractions there.
I just couldn't imagine!
Beam us up Scotty.
The caves are great - however, we really enjoy the last 10 minutes or so at the end.
And then we were done - I'm not sure how long it took us to complete the 2.5 miles - 4 km - walk - a couple of hours. The descent down - 2 km - is equivalent to 79 stories - you sure feel it in the knees.
At the bottom you will find the restrooms, cafeteria and a shop.
And… a mail box.
From the time we had told Cassia that we would walk down and take the elevator back up all she wanted to do was get to the elevator. Hmmmmm - so the caves aren't really all that interesting to a five year old. Lesson learned - good thing Cassia was free. I hope that we can bring her back when she is older or that she returns on her own one day.
Driving back through the park.
From the caverns we headed south on the 180. We had noticed that there was a road - 652 - right at the border that would take us over to the 285. I didn't take pictures but it was paved and a good cut through route.
The only issue we had was that it was a gas worker road - lots of work trucks and semis. This only got worse when we turned south onto the 285 heading to Pecos. Sad - the trucks drive like crazy and garbage lines the road. About a mile after we turned our "new" fuel pump quit on us. It was hot but not that hot and we had only come about 60 miles so we were pretty choked. So - we pulled off and waited an hour before we carried on. Upon reaching Pecos we stopped for gas and decided to let the truck cool down. Hmmmmm - what is wrong with the van - the fuel pump was definitely an issue but now the engine light was on. Sheesh.
Due to the congestion of Pecos we decided to carry on to Fort Stockton - maybe the fuel pump would be happier with the end of the day temperatures instead - we had about 50 miles to go - we were really hoping we would make it.
A tense drive but the sunset was amazing.
One of the reason's we were heading to Fort Stockton was because it had a Lowe's. Pulling in along the main street we found a Lowe's alright but a Lowe's grocery store. This is the second time we have been caught by this - darn - no wifi for the night. So, we headed back to Walmart - we weren't alone - obviously a popular overnight stop with the Snowbirds - there were about 12 rigs that night.
Wednesday we were up and on our way by 7:00am - we realized that until we could get the fuel pump looked at we would have to travel in cooler temperatures.
So - we were headed across west Texas…..