I missed yesterday’s post because the RV Park where we stayed last night — in Alamogordo, NM — didn’t have a very good wifi signal. Tonight we are in a hotel in Fort Stockton, Texas; wifi is strong; photos are uploaded; it’s time to catch up! As always, there are more photos on my instagram page: @enchantednaturalist
We started out Wednesday at Saguaro National Park outside of Tuscon, Arizona. Saguaros can live to be 200 years old and reach 50 feet in height. We were lucky to arrive when we did as many of the cactus in the park were in bloom (photos below).
Later in the morning, we visited Fort Bowie where the US Army fought a number of battles against Geronimo and Cochise’s son, Naiche. After crossing into New Mexico, around noon we had lunch at a little Mexican diner in Lordsburg, NM called Ramona’s which had mostly positive reviews online (the one negative review was funny: he was looking for a strip club and “was directed to Ramona’s; I was hoping for titties, but got tamales.”). We finished the day driving through the White Sands Missile Range and White Sands National Monument. Total miles 472; total travel time: 11 1/2 hours.
Thursday, May 14
The drive from Alamogordo to Carlsbad Caverns crosses a mountain range through Lincoln National Forest. The road is windy and steep, but very beautiful. Along the way, you pass the Mexican Canyon Trestle where a tourist train used to run up from the Valley near Alamogordo up to the town of Cloudcroft at the summit. There is a small memorial to “Dad” next to the viewing point for the old trestle. One wonders if Dad got too close to the edge trying to get a good picture, or committed suicide, or . . .? A small Matchbox car was next to Dad’s flowers left there by a boy named Justin.
Ten minutes past the trestle, one reaches the lovely little town of Cloudcroft. At an elevation of 8600 feet, it is one of the highest towns in the United States.
A few miles farther along US 82, one comes to the little hamlet of Mayhill. We’ve passed two herds of Elk and one of deer; gone past several beautiful vistas, and pulled over next to an historical marker commemorating the skirmish with the Apaches in which a Captain Stanton was killed. Then I looked across the street and saw a little convenience store totally plastered with the most hateful signs, including ones saying “Kill Obama” and “Russia has a leader, Al Quaida has a leader; where the hell is ours?” That much hate at 7:30 in the morning changed the mood for a while, but another hour’s drive brought us to Artesia, NM and the Chaos Cafe for breakfast. Then it was on to Carlsbad Caverns National Park where I had a face to face encounter with a rattlesnake on my way from the parking lot to the Visitor’s Center (I let the rangers know so they could move it to a more appropriate spot). The Caverns themselves are beautiful and eerie, but I felt none of the awe that the Grand Canyon inspired in me.
The remainder of the day was spent on backroads, through the corner of Texas that goes underneath New Mexico, through wildflowers and oil wells, and lots of men in large pickups and oil tankers. Now we are in Fort Stockton, Texas for the night. Total miles 333; total travel time (including stops) 11 hours.
Please visit my instagram page @enchantednaturalist for more photos from the day!