Monday, December 15, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Out of Arizona - into New Mexico, Texas and back to New Mexico 
Cottages at entrance to Carlsbad Caverns with sunset and moon
We bypassed El Paso and took Hwy 395 which goes around Bliss Air Force Base. This is a huge base and you could actually see the tanks doing manuevers out on the desert. We lucked up as we got on Hwy 180 heading toward Carlsbad and found an RV junk yard. This was the only place we have found (and we have looked high and low) for some lug nuts. Of course, they weren't cheap either ($10 each).Driving to Carlsbad was a little boring as we traveled on some very desolate road with a few old buildings and one picturesque white salt flat basin.

White City RV Park and Carlsbad Caverns . . .
The entrance to Carlsbad Caverns had one campground. White City RV Park, which I thought was a National Park campground, but I later found out that it is an independent and also a Good Sam camp which turned out to be rather expensive. No place to boondock at all. We learned a lesson about campgrounds.  Always ask who the host is and how to reach her/him after hours. We pulled into the campground around 4pm. Around 9pm a large class A pulled in beside us and did not hook up to electric and water. They ran their diesel generator ALL night.  At 10pm my throat started getting sore and I developed a headache from the obnoxious fumes. I don't understand why our detector didn't go off as it is usually very sensitive. We had to unhook and move down by the trash dump to escape the fumes and get a nights rest. The next morning one of the occupants in the motorhome laughed and said it was too late to hook up and that someone up the road was selling tickets to the campground. I wonder if they were even there legally as they left out right after we talked with them at 7am. We later spotted them at the Caverns.

White City RV Park sunset
The office refunded our money without hesitation and apologized. They took the license tag number that we gave them and were going to check and see if they had checked in the night before. Sounds a little fishey! Anyway, that's one lesson learned. Make sure there is someone to contact if problems arise. We did not want to go up to their door knocking in the middle of the night.  The way people are today, if someone comes to my door in the middle of the night I'm going to be meeting them with a six shooter!

Carlsbad was a nice sidetrip. We didn't take the strenuous mile long walk down to the big room. I don't think my knee would have lasted and I know Guy would have trouble with his legs as well. Instead, we took a ride in the elevator 700 foot down into the large room. It was nice, but not as colorful and nice in my opinion as the Mammoth Cave in KY. I wouldn't go out of my way to see this place again. And the photos taken here were not very good either.
After a terrible nights sleep we are at Carlsbad Caverns

Guy observing some of the formations

And back to Texas . . .
Driving down Hwy 285 to Ft Stockton was boring as well, but the road was lined with oil rigs for as far as you could see. We were told that all the campgrounds in the area of Carlsbad and Stockton were filled to the max with oil workers.
One of the many oil wells

Our campground in Ft Stockton was very large and half full with nothing but oil worker's rigs. This was Ft Stockton RV Pk. A beautiful park with a real western feel that we really enjoyed. There was a cafe that had a "we don't dial 911" sign posted very  prominently, so needless to say, I felt right at home here. The mailbox outside was designed like a 6 shooter. Super nice people, beautiful sunset, great walking and biking, and a great breakfast made our evening's stay enjoyable. The last photo is of our neighbor's car. He blew a tire on his car while towing and made quiet a mess.
Camped at Fort Stockton RV Park

Beautiful sunset coming in
6-shooter mailbox

Sign, mailbox, trailhead and moon

The moon and our little Lexi
Damage on neighbors back wheel
Now for a long hard drive to San Antonio.

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