A Quick Trip to New Mexico (Part Two)

When I left off in part one. We had just spent the night in Oklahoma and got an early start. This stretch of the trip is the most open and the lease scenic of the drive so far. It had been quite windy the day before and this was turning out to be another windy day. Once again there wasn’t a whole lot we wanted to do or see in this part of the country but we did have places we wanted to see around Roswell and Carlsbad, New Mexico. At this point we decided to make the longest track so far, and head to just outside of Roswell, New Mexico. This ended up being over 380-mile trip that day. Which is a long day by any means. I did end up driving about an hour so we could make it to Roswell that evening. Even though Bonnie felt guilty like she was cheating. I told her that was silly because we made the decision to do the miles so that we could spend two nights in the Roswell area. With the two very windy days going across the plains, she got a taste of how it felt to be bounced around by the wind, and that’s tiring for anyone. Other than that hour and the side trips in the car (she let me drive her around in the car because she didn’t need practice at that). She did all the driving which was a great experience for her and build her competence level. So, after a long day of driving we got to just outside a Roswell at “Bottomless Lake State Park”. This is a series sinkhole lakes’ that are spring filled, they are very clear and clean. This is a unique area for this part of the state. Here’s a photo from up on the hill looking down towards the campground with one of the lakes in the foreground. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere I zoomed in on Bonnie’s camper from the same spot. Hers is right in the center. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s another photo of the valley below this is a rather unique spot to have these crystal-clear lakes here. There are seven of them all of different sizes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was a very nice campground with a very friendly camp host, who was more than willing to help us out with information about the surrounding area, of things to do and see. The only downside was because of all the recent rains the main entrance road was shut down because of the bridge being washed out. So, we had to go about an extra 15 miles to get there but it was worth it. Also because of all the rain the mosquitoes were quite pesky at dusk. This is very unusual for the desert Southwest. The plan was to spend two nights here taking the whole next day to explore Roswell. This is the way I like to travel if I have time. Do a long day drive and then spend two nights in an area, just sightseeing or relaxing the next day. First thing in the morning we were off to see the UFO Museum and information Center in downtown Roswell. 20191021_112420

This is a unique and interesting place in an old movie theater. There was lots of firsthand reports and information shared by the people from the area of the 1940s UFO crash and cover-up. There was lots of good information and you can choose to believe or not on your own. But they had interesting displays and documentation that makes you wonder. Here’s a few photos of some of the displays they had in the place. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20191021_11503720191021_11401420191021_113951After spending a couple hours exploring this unique place. I was wandering around the gift shop and came across the scariest alien creature of them all. It made me believe in extraterrestrials. 20191021_124353

After that encounter we did a little more exploring around town and stopped at one of the Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico, of frontier house. This is a beautiful house that was donated as a museum by the former owners and has been renovated and open to the public for free. There was a lot of the information about the surrounding area and the settlers in the area. They had display set up of in the different rooms this was one of clothing from the turn-of-the-century till after World War II. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn another room they had a whole bunch of cowboy attire. I really like this display of different types of barb wire it’s very interesting all the different types there are. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was lots of interesting décor and artwork. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20191021_13412320191021_134012This was a unique wood carving of a wild boar first time I ever saw one like this. 20191021_134723

After a pleasant day of sightseeing we headed back to the campground so we could get an early start the next day. For a short drive to Carlsbad about an 80-mile trip. We snagged a first come first served campsite at Barntley Lake State Park, just a few miles north of Carlsbad. And then it was off to Carlsbad Caverns. 20191022_133312This was my fourth or fifth time to the caverns and every time it’s been a memorable experience. Each time I explored the caverns it was with someone different, this was Bonnie’s first time here. I knew she would enjoy it and it did not disappoint her. Here’s a view looking out across the valley from the visitor center you are quite high in the mountains. 20191022_133540Here we are heading down into the natural entrance. 20191022_124831

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and other types of formations throughout the cavern. 20191022_15215220191022_13140420191022_14243220191022_140401Everywhere you look very unique formations. 20191022_13342820191022_15115420191022_141456

Here’s one that reminds me of the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo’s reaching to touch the finger of God. 20191022_141339

If you’ve never been to Carlsbad put it on your bucket list it is a one-of-a-kind place. I’ve been in many caverns over the years and this one is unique and one of my favorites. Even though I’ve been to the Carlsbad Caverns several times before I never was there when I could enjoy the evening bat flight program at dusk. Hundreds of thousands of “Brazilian Free-tailed Bats” make the cave their summer home. And every evening there is a mass exodus out of the natural entrance, of thousands and thousands of bats flying off to do their evening feedings. These bats migrate down to central Mexico during the winter months and each time I’ve been at the cavern it’s been during the winter months. They usually are all gone by the first part of November so I told Bonnie that we had to spend the evening there to see it. When we got done exploring the caves there was still close to two hours wait before the evening program. So, we had just enough time to go and explore Rattlesnake Creek Natural Area. This is a little oasis in the middle of the desert just south of the caverns that is fed by natural underground springs. Actually, all the water at the caverns come from the Springs here. The times I’ve been here before I’ve always seen turkeys and deer, “and so we did this time also”. I didn’t get any pictures of the turkey or deer because I was busy driving but I did take a few pictures of the pond that they pump the water out of to supply the visitor center at the caverns. Here’s a couple photos of the little oasis.


After a short visit we headed back to the caverns to arrive for the 6 o’clock evening program. No photos are allowed to be taken after the bats start exiting the cave and you are asked to be very very quiet. The noise of the clicking cameras and the people would frighten the bats and they would probably stop exiting the cave until well after dark. There’s a Ranger that gives a program and several others to answer questions but once the bats start flying, they will stop the program and head up to higher ground to answer questions. He barely got started on the program explaining the types of bats and all their benefits, when the bats started to fly. It was a spectacular site and I’m truly glad I got to see it at least once. After the program we headed back to the campground which was a good hour’s drive. This was the latest night that we had spent out exploring on the whole trip, but it was well worth it. The next day we got up and were off for a fairly early start for the final leg of our trip. It was now October 23 the date we had scheduled to arrive in Las Cruces. There is no straight route from Carlsbad to Las Cruces, you either have to go southeast to El Paso, Texas and then West. Or you can go north to Artesia, NM then west to Alamogordo, NM and then continue south to Las Cruces, which is the route we went. This was the day that Bonnie was going to get to do, her first experience at doing a mountain pass. We cross the mountains at about 8000-foot elevation with 6% grades both going up and down, once again she did great. She learned to use her gears to slow herself down and not user breaks too much. The RV had no problems climbing the hills. Here we are taking a break at the summit in the Lincoln National Forest. 20191023_11425920191023_102742Here are couple photos taken from the summit before we headed down into the valley. I have to say again it is a lot of fun just riding along as copilot, and enjoy the mountain views, not having to worry about driving and paying attention to the traffic. 20191023_11415620191023_11420720191023_114058

We stopped briefly at the White Sands Visitor Center to take a break, this is a day trip from Las Cruces, and I’m sure Bonnie will be heading up there sometime this winter. 20191023_123542We got into the campground where she will be spending the next few months, early afternoon and got settled in. It’s a nice location on the edge of town with beautiful views of the mountains in the background and the city lights down below the hill. The next day we did some exploring of the area. This is a very large agricultural area with thousands and thousands of nut trees grown commercially (pecan and pistachio mostly). Also cotton and other agricultural products. The next day we did a little sightseeing around town and went to the historic town of Mesilla. Bonnie took me out to lunch to a fancy Mexican restaurant, “LA Posta de Mesilla” that’s been in business for over 80 years. I always love the bright décor in these types of restaurants. 20191024_13141420191024_13133020191024_131405

The next day Friday the 25th I was supposed to be heading out on an early flight at 6:30am out of El Paso, TX with a stopover in Dallas before heading to Madison, Wisconsin. But as things go, right before going to bed I got a text from the airline saying that the flight was canceled. I couldn’t get on a new flight till late afternoon, arriving into Madison around midnight. This was somewhat upsetting but was not the end of the world. My friend Steve was going to pick me up at the airport in the afternoon, and he was willing to pick me up late at night. So, I got to the airport for my 3:30pm flight which was delayed by over an hour making me missing my connection in Dallas. The airline put me up in a hotel near the airport and I got to fly out the next morning arriving a full 24 hours later that I was supposed to on 26th of October. I had plans made with my daughter Jennifer on Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th so with my late arrival we canceled the plans on the 26th and she picked me up at the airport and we went back to Green Lake together which was a good thing. October 27 was my birthday and Jennifer had made plans to take me flying, as a passenger on a lesson that she and her boyfriend Paul were getting, on Saturday & Sunday. Because of my late return they canceled the Saturday flight but we did get to go flying on Sunday. More about that my next post. Thanks for coming to New Mexico with Bonnie and me, “Best Wishes” to all, Rick



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