The Carlsbad Caverns, A Zoo In Roswell and A Near Death Experience - All In a Days Drive.
New Mexico Yoga Stop!
The rest of Texas was a blur… The beginning of New Mexico was even more so. It wasn’t until we hunkered down in a WalMart parking lot did we notice the bright coloured license plates of New Mexico and realize we were actually in Carlsbad. We had driven all day… Clemmy was doing well, but she was running hot. I guess we were climbing in elevation since we veered North at Fort Stockton.
Texas & New Mexico - Home of Dr. Robotnik.
We woke up the next morning to vast flatlands with giant flaming oil rigs dotting the landscape. The plumes of dark smoke and the stacks were really something to see – they had a very post-apocalyptic feel to them.
We made our way to the world famous Carlsbad Caverns, and spent four and a half hours about 800 feet under the ground. It was very cool. At one time all of the rock we saw was an exposed sea bed, covered in water… Over time, as the water receded, it began to leave water and sediment solutions on top of the rock. Eventually over time, they were totally covered by thousands of megatons of rock and land… This water was trapped inside, and began to react. Acids in the ground reacted with the water, the water reacted with different carbon groups in the ground, and started to tunnel. A large set of caverns began to form, and as the water that was literally trapped inside the rock began to drain, it formed the beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, and columns that we know today.
We like to whisper…
The lighting inside was pretty damn cool too…
Prior to being declared a national historic site (And eventual UNESCO World Heritage site) The Caverns were a huge source of Bat Guano, which is used as a long-lasting nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and in a desert climate, fresh fertilizer can be difficult to find. Thousands of bats nest in the Carlsbad Caverns during the summer months, leaving large guano deposits in the cave, which used to be extracted in large quantities in the early 1900s. At the time they used primitive ladders, winches and pulleys – and it wasn’t uncommon to lose workers within the cave system.
Now it’s a beautiful part of geological history, and the US National Parks team work tirelessly to ensure it’s preservation for generations to come.
Kasey also pointed out a Natural Boob.
Didja learn something in there?
Kasey and I had an amazing time exploring the caves. We were astounded at the tallest ceiling point – 225 Feet – and at the millions of magical stalactites hanging from the cave ceilings. It was truly a wonder to behold. We were obviously very disoriented once we emerged from the caves though… I stumbled out of the elevator, and we couldn’t find the exit.
We got out of the caves at about 1pm, and we began to roll North to Roswell, New Mexico… Roswell is the legendary location of an alleged UFO crash in the early summer of 1947. Since then it has been the subject of controversy and conspiracy theorists the world over.
When we arrived, we didn’t see any UFOs, and all the hokey UFO shops were closed. But we DID have a close encounter with some peacocks, pronghorn antelope, texas longhorns, and tons of other critters. Here’s a gallery of our new friends…
The Dan Tait Goat.
This creeper was stalking us the whole way. Peacocks.
A little princess Pronghorn Antelope… Apparently the fastest North American land animal.
We had a long drive ahead of us to get to Albuquerque, and we almost died. Literally. We shot a video for our good friend Kate Davis before we left Roswell, and the sun was setting.
It was 2 hours into the drive… The road was empty and we were driving perilously slow. Clemmy makes it very clear she doesn’t appreciate driving uphill for long periods of time. She slows right down, so we’re climbing even slight inclines at about 40mph. I had our hazards flashing the whole way, despite there being no one else on the road.
It was a continuous climb to Albuquerque – we never descended a hill once. There was one point when we were climbing, and it flattened out before us… So I tried to lay everything into Clementine’s accelerator to no avail. She was tired.
Instantly, a few seconds after we came over that hill, two frighteningly bright headlights showed up in my rear-view mirror, and way too close.
“We’re gonna get hit!” I remember thinking, but that’s all I could do. I was silent for that second and put my hand on Kasey’s leg – I noticed that she noticed my alarm, but had no idea what was causing it.
In that split second I saw the headlights swerve right… Swerve left… Right again, and then finally left to pull up beside us. I smelled burnt rubber. My heart stopped. My hands were clammy.
“We almost died… Right here in New Mexico…”
I wasn’t looking through the windshield… I was gaping through my side mirror at… A Mercedes? I thought so… 4 circular headlights, outsides larger than the insides. He pulled behind us and flicked his headlights at us. Twice.
“Whaddya want dude…? What’s your problem?”
I don’t think I said anything to Kasey until he was gone. It was probably only 15 seconds from when I saw those headlights in my rear view, but he finally pulled out and blasted by us in another burst of speed. I remember the windows were tinted… Tinted so black I couldn’t see any dash lights or anything inside.
I was rattled. Really rattled.
“Only an hour or so until Albuequerque…”
We got through it. I tried to explain it to Kasey, but I dunno if she understood. It was terrifying and exciting all at once. But we made it to Albuquerque safely… In one piece… Together. And I was thankful for the restful sleep that came.
The next day we were thinking about busking and sticking around until we saw this billboard near the local YMCA…
Hurt? Call BERT. Note the top two lines. Courtesy of http://sophiethecopywriter.co.uk/blog.html
Needless to say we feared for our lives, so we went for a swim and a shower at The Y and we took off as fast as our little Volkswagen could run.
Next Issue: Petrified Forest, Route 66 and Flagstaff Arizona… The greatest little town in Arizona.