Colorado and New Mexico (and Texas): July 22, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)


The hotel had a complimentary breakfast this morning.  So we were downstairs around 8.  The hotel breakfast is served in the adjacent restaurant-which is a Chinese restaurant.  It is very strange eating eggs and toast in a Chinese restaurant with a big Buddha staring at you.  We had driven about 500 miles yesterday and this was going to be a fairly short day of driving so we were ready for it.


The drive to Carlsbad was fairly entertaining due to the large billboards advertising tiny gift shops.  Most of the gift shops were closed and had been closed for many, many years.  Our favorite sign advertised “Kodak Flashbulbs”-probably not many people buy Kodak flashbulbs anymore.  Also on our drive today, the sky was huge (maybe since we were near and in Texas).  A couple of times, we could even see storm clouds and rain off in the distance.  We did have a little rain to contend with for a few minutes but quickly outran the storm.


Once we got to the Carlsbad entrance, we were quickly greeted with more road construction.  We did have to stop this time and wait for a while but Robby didn’t have enough time to take a nap.  Once at the visitor’s center, we got our tickets and headed down the elevator to the Big Room. We descended 750 meeting in less than a minute. The walking tour we took was self guided and over 1.5 miles long.   That part of the cave was large enough that you could put the White House in one corner of it. It was full of stalagmites and stalactites (which is one thing I vividly remember learning about in the 4th grade).  Carlsbad is very impressive but it is no Blanchard Springs Caverns (kidding)


In about another 30 miles down the road, we were in Texas and driving up to the Guadalupe National Park.  They had a short film and a gift shop-I love gift shops.  It is kind of strange since I hardly buy any thing except a Christmas ornament but I still love gift shops.  We have bought/collected 5 Christmas ornaments on this trip.  Robby is trying to encourage me to return to only buying 1 a trip like we did when we first started traveling-not gonna happen. 


The Guadalupe Mountains are huge but we opted not to take the 8 mile trail to the top.  But we did drive to the Frijole Ranch nearby.  It had a cold spring near the house that they had diverted under a small house.  The spring kept the house cool and they used it as their antiquated refrigerator.  Next we drove back to Carlsbad and stopped for some ice cream at a small grocery store.


Soon we were back at the hotel pretty early.  We went downstairs to swim for a few minutes.  Swimming is a lot easier without the kids-but not as much fun.  Then Robby did a little bit of work and finally it was time to head out to eat.  We ate a funky little Italian restaurant called Piccolino.  It was very good-and new-most things around this town aren’t too new.  We enjoyed listening in all the locals in the restaurant – most of the 20-30 people knew each other. In fact, the party of 6 next to us (apparently work people) out for a nice dinner knew the next family.  We heard the boss man whisper to the waitress he would buy the family’s dinner (the man had used to work him and they were leaving the next day for vacation – what a way to start a vacation.)  Though they do have a lot of oil money floating around: sculptures, performing arts center and country club.   After supper, we walked around the downtown area to see the sculptures.  Then we drove around town and scoped the whole place out.  There is a huge Federal Law Enforcement Training campus in Artesia – they took over in a defunct college in the 90s. We must have some dorms/apartments for a few thousand people. It was almost dark when we returned to our hotel and we are packing up to head out early in the morning.


Dennie Kids Update:  Anderson was the first one to wake up this morning and he asked Nonna if he could get in bed with her and soon he had Pops brining him his milk-just like at home: milk in bed before starting the day.  Since this was school morning, everyone rushed around to get ready for school.  Nonna and Pops walked in to drop everyone off.  Reagan and Anderson knew exactly what to do and Graham tried hard but fussed as soon as he made it to his class.  Nonna said she was very disappointed in the early morning teachers and Grannymom had said on Tuesday that they had no personality.  Both of those things are exactly what Mom thinks-but she thinks some worse things than that!


Nonna stayed in the hall until Graham calmed down-she said that she stayed long enough that she looked like she belonged there or she looked suspicious.  During the day, Campbell apparently ate and ate.  Pops mentioned that she would need to be put on a diet when we come home.  On the way to school, Anderson had mentioned seeing where the trash trucks go so after school, Pops drove everyone to the dump.  Reagan didn’t want to go because it was stinky but I am sure the cokes they got on the way helped change her mind.  Pops said that the cokes were huge and Graham had quite a hard time drinking his coke.  The bill to clean my van will be sent to Pops! 


Jason came over to play this evening and they were ready for him to come so he could play with their new toys from Mom and Dad.  After more playing, Nonna was turning off the tv when Anderson said he wanted to watch it.  Nonna said that it was an “adult cartoon and he couldn’t watch it”  Anderson told Nonna that he wanted to see the people smoke on the cartoon.  Later he said that he had seen “people smoking fire” at the dump.  Goodness, I guess when I come home we will have to have a lesson on the dangers of smoking.

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