Nov 23, 2019
Despite our best intentions, we didn’t get on the road until nine but since we were only 20 minutes from our destination of Carlsbad Caverns we still got there plenty early. We parked at the visitor center and got our tickets with our National Parks pass saving us $15 per person. There are two ways into Carlsbad Caverns, walking 45 minutes down through the natural entrance or taking the 1 minute elevator ride 750 straight down to the main Cavern. Once in the main Cavern there is a 1.25 mile paved path around the most visited parts of the Cave. Of course, since we had a six year old and no strollers are allowed we took the elevator.
The elevator doors opened up deep underground to a…. snack bar. Yes, 750 feet underground you can buy sandwiches, snacks and drinks, although only water is allowed when walking around the cave proper. Bypassing the snack bar we went straight to the… bathrooms. Yes, down a narrow tunnel under tons of earth, we found ourselves in a perfectly regular bathroom. The park estimates it takes 1.5 to 3 hours to walk the path around the cave and there are no bathrooms along the path so it was best to go before you go.
Business taken care of, we started along the path to the big room and it is a very large and long cave. Olivia liked learning about stalactites hanging from the ceiling, stalagmites rising from the floor, and columns when stalactites and stalagmites join together. There were also pools, draperies, popcorn and a bottomless pit but you will have to go yourself to see those. The cave was dim but lit well enough to admire the rock formations, the path was an easy walk and Carlsbad Caverns was a fun and educational stop.
Coming up out of the caverns we needed to get going as we were still a 10 hour drive to our destination of Livingston, TX and it was already past noon. We drove through most of central Texas, past Midland and a string of small Texas towns. The terrain turned flat, nothing on the horizon, no mountains, no major hills, just hour after hour of rolling flat plain dotted with occasional oil derricks bobbing up and down.
Eventually we reached Abilene, TX around dinnertime and after four hours of driving I was ready for a break. We stopped for dinner at Al’s Mesquite Grill. This turned out to be an interesting restaurant where you get to choose between several types of BBQ meats and then you go down a small buffet and can load up your plate with as many sides as you can fit on the plate. The had the standard BBQ meats, ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage, pulled pork, etc for the meats and the sides had beans, carrots, breads, and dessert. An interesting format and the food was decent for the price.
Refilled we got back on the road. As we pulled out of Carlsbad I had a flash of inspiration and decided to name our motorhome Rover. OK, not the most imaginative name but we had been thinking about a name for the motorhome and Rover was easy to say and it fit. We drove another couple hours until we pulled into a Walmart at Weatherford, near Fort Worth. Exhausted we closed up for the night and went to sleep.