Monday, July 8, 2013


Day 2: The Most Beautiful Caverns in the World....and a couple of Aliens?

Day 2 started in the sleepy town of Carlsbad, NM.  I really thought this town would be a bit busier - that people would be flocking to see the Caverns.  Not the case.  In fact, as we drove the 20 miles southwest of town out to the caverns and didn't pass anyone else, I began to wonder if we'd be there by ourselves.
I was thrilled to take the children to Carlsbad Caverns.  It was one of the places my parents had taken me during our big summer trip.  I remember it being "cool" as a kid, but my goodness, as an adult, it's a whole different ball game.  
You don't realize the magnitude of the size of these amazing caverns - we walked down to the bottom - a 750 foot ascent and a mile and a half long.  That was neat to feel the temperature change and see the switchbacks going down.  But the most impressive part of the caverns was the walk around The Big Room.  The room itself is the length of 14 football fields - the trail that takes you around the perimeter is  a mile and a quarter.
(these look really small, but they are GINORMOUS)

And the cave structures are stunning.  Words can not honestly describe how gorgeous it was.  And my pictures certainly do it no justice.  It is one of those things you have to see yourself - put it on your bucket list.
All three of the children were impressed - we picked up an audio tour and it helped explain a few things to them better than the signs could (it was the kid's version).  I was a bit disappointed that they didn't serve food at the bottom of the caverns anymore.  I remember eating lunch in a big room with tons of tables when I visited in the 80s.  They took it out mid 90's because it was "harmful" to the caves. 
(we became Junior Park Rangers too)

I was amazed at how well my little one did too - he walked most of the way - looked at things, asked questions - did remarkably well for a 4 year old.  

Afterwards, we had a 5 1/2 hour drive up to Albuquerque and we stopped in Roswell to check out some aliens and get an ice cream from this McDonalds:
Too fun - this town really gets into the whole alien thing! I wish I had taken a picture of the lamp posts down Main Street.  The story goes that the eyes "appeared" on the lamp posts one night and the city decided to keep them!
It looked like a really fun town to explore, one that deserves more than the hour that we had.

It was a lonely drive up to ABQ - lots and lots of land with a few dried up towns in between.  All the towns have remnants of a bustling life 30 years ago, with shells of old hotels and diners.  It's sad really, as life has moved so far away from the American road trip, that places like this have disappeared.  But even I would pass by a charming yet run-down hotel for the Holiday Inn up the street, you know?


nikki rex said...

LOVE your posts! It's so fun to follow along. I've always wanted to take a roadtrip from Austin to Cali, but it seemed overwhelming. But, you do such a great job describing the stops and making it fun that I want to do the trip now! You should write a book about this adventure ... great tips and ideas for families :)nikki

Heather said...

I'm so excited about your road trip - we are taking a similar trip from Round Rock to San Diego in a few weeks! Bummed about Carlsbad though, the underground lunchroom is one of the things my kids are most excited about. The website still says they sell sandwiches at lamplite tables. So sorry they don't anymore. :(

Cath @ Where the Watermelons Grow said...

Oooh, Carlsbad Caverns looks amazing. It's going on my list -- if you ever come east to VA you should put Luray Caverns on yours! It has a stalactite organ!

Brooke (Siayla) said...

Beautiful pictures of the caverns. We visited there a couple years ago but arrived late and couldn't explore as long as we would have liked. We will definitely go back again when we pass through again. Just found your blog and am off to go read through your posts! The travel bug is itching again and now that we've decided to homeschool/road school I hope to be on the road again sooner then later!