Posted by: mckenzie68 | June 12, 2010

Carlsbad Caverns…Ray and Rae’s journey to the centre of the Earth…June 1 or Day 44

NOTE:  To our loyal friends and readers…sorry for our downtime with posts.  We didn’t have a way to log onto the net with our personal laptop…BUT!  We are back up and, fingers crossed, won’t have anymore delays in our posting!  Happy Reading!

We got up fairly early so we could make it to Carlsbad Caverns relatively early and still make some distance towards Dallas, TX.  We headed to Carlsbad Caverns and the route was very desert like!  Not much to see other than lots of cactus…

We pulled into Carlsbad about an hour later and it was so hot, it was stifling, and to make the ride a bit more challenging, there was lots of traffic and construction.  We actually got stuck in a line of traffic that was waiting for the pilot vehicle to escort us all up the mountain.  I think we sat for 10-15 min, which sounds short, but in dark gear, no breeze and the hot sun beating down, that 10-15 min felt more like an hour!  BUT!  The pilot truck finally came to get us and we were off up the mountain.

We pulled into the Visitors Center and found a parking spot.  We locked our helmets to the bikes, and headed into the Visitors Center where it was – thankfully – very cool.  I showed our National Park  pass (awesome thing) and we had our ticket to the caverns in less than a minute…then it was off to the elevator area to wait for our ride to the caverns, 750 feet below!  A Ranger explained the elevator ride, the distance down, and the behavioral expectations for us when we got into the caverns.  We were not allowed to touch any of the formations and were asked to talk quietly as the sound carries quite a long way through the caverns.

The cavern ‘tour’ was a mile and a half walk through the public areas of the cavern.  The caverns were amazing, with stunning colours and formations that defy description.  In places there was water dripping from hundreds of feet above,and this is all well below the surface of the earth!  We took over 200 pictures to try to capture some of the feeling that the caverns provided, but sadly the pictures are not even close to what we saw, due to lighting. I would have needed my tripod to really make the lighting work and bring out the beauty of the cave.

There was even a ‘Bottomless Pit’, and really if there had been no other explanation I would have believed that it was exactly that, it was that dark and foreboding.  We walked along the narrow path for easily an hour and a half, in the cool dampness, enjoying the silence, tranquility, and formations. I was truly sad to finish the tour, and I wanted to walk back through, just to convince myself that it was all real, and to enjoy the peace.

We went to the elevator area and got a ride up almost immediately, and the ride was amazingly short considering the distance.  We walked around the visitors center for a short time, and then headed out into the 30+degree heat to make our way back down the canyons and towards Dallas, TX.  We lucked out on the way down, as the pilot car was just pulling up as we approached the long lines of traffic, YAY.  We had a relatively quick ride back to Carlsbad and then straight east across the desert.  The ride was non-descript, except for the stunning thunder clouds looming ahead, and our Garmin/XM warnings of the impending storms.

We rode right between two large storm cells, getting only slightly wet, but riding straight with the bike at a 45 degree angle due to the wind!  We pulled into Hobbs, NM and after a short tour (courtesy of my Garmin) we found a room for the night right beside a WalMart, Rae loves that!  LOL.  We had no sooner unpacked the bikes, then the skies opened up and it poured like crazy.  It was nice to smell the rain but not be riding in it!

Ray

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