Our fifth wheel and the truck

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Mexico into Texas - getting warmer

G'day All

I am back! We have had a great time during the last week and have been to some awe inspiring places.

When I left you last week we were in Deming, New Mexico and heading for warmer climes in Texas. Well, we didn't quite make it right away. We did have to drive into Texas, for a short while, and then back into NM as I really, really wanted to see the caverns in Carlsbad, NM, so we took a short detour to have a sticky beak.

The drive from Deming to Carlsbad was very interesting on a number of fronts.

Firstly, the Border Patrol. The drive took us by El Paso and, between Deming and El Paso we passed a border patrol station. The traffic on the other side of the road was banked up for miles as they went through the inspection. On our side of the road there was no station just cameras - about ten of them! After we travelled by El Paso we headed north to Carlsbad we came across another station. We were stopped at this one but then allowed to go straight through. Given we had the RV and could have had it full of illegals I was very surprised. It must have been the innocent faces!

Secondly, the drive through Mt Franklin Park was amazing. There were 'Wind Advisory' warnings particularly for high profile vehicles! Yep that is us, well we did reconsider our route but went ahead anyway as trucks were coming through the pass. It was really windy and when we stopped for morning tea we just about got blown away as we stepped from the truck!

The drive through the pass was interesting as you leave the flat area of El Paso behind and climb through the mountains and then out the other side to see more of El Paso laid out in front of you in another valley. I continue to be surprised by this country.

Anyway, we got to Carlsbad safely and the next day we went to the caverns. I have been to Mammoth Cave in Margaret River, Australia and that was just beautiful however I was certainly not prepared for the size of 'The Big Room'. It is humungous! In fact the size of 14 football fields! It was just amazing! The caverns were discovered by a 16 year old boy, Jim White, who thought he saw smoke and went to investigate. The smoke turned out to be thousands of bats exiting the bat cave. He went on to investigate the caverns over a long period of time using a kettle filled with lamp oil as his only light!

We spent a couple of hours exploring the 'Big Room' which was absolutely gorgeous. The formations in the cavern were so diverse. The only problem with caverns is that it is difficult to take good photos because of the lack of light and the restrictive length of the flash light on the camera. Anyway I hope you get the idea of how amazing these caverns were from the few photos I have included.

We would have liked to explore some of the other caverns but the need for safety hats with batteries was a little off-putting.

After the caverns we decided to take the 'Christmas on the Pecos' tour. The tour is at night by ferry up the Pecos River to see the Christmas lights by the folks living along the river's edge. And it was c-c-cold. So cold in fact that they provide blankets for everyone on the ferry. Norm and I had to break out the Alaska jackets, the beanies and the gloves as well as the blanket!

One thing that I found interesting was the river itself. The river has been dammed to provide a recreation area for the residents of Carlsbad. It is really lovely with beach areas, boats and fishing. I didn't quite understand it but apparently above the town there is no water in the river as it has been diverted to agriculture. I figure there still has to be some water flowing into the river otherwise it would evaporate or soak into the river bed.

Anyway, apart from that the lights were beautiful. The home owners had gone to a lot of trouble and expense to light their homes. One home had the lights sychronized to music! The reflections in the river certainly made it even lovelier. BUT COLD!!!

Our next destination was San Antonio, Texas with an overnight boondock in Sonora. We were so lucky in Sonora. We went to the Visitor Centre to ask about boondocking and they directed us to the Comfort Inn who were really helpful and allowed us to spend the night in their parking area.

On to San Antonio! You can't come to SA without visiting the Riverwalk and the Alamo so.... off we go to visit. We were with friends Christine and John who we had met at the Boot Camp in Indiana and who made a detour to come and visit us. W

We had an awesome time! We visited the Alamo which, surprisingly is in the heart of SA. I always imagine it would be in the desert somewhere. It was an amazing example of the architecture of the time and has been beautifully preserved . The history of Texas and in particular the Alamo is so interesting.

From the Alamo we wandered over to the Riverwalk. Not the sort of riverwalk I had imagined. You know the trees, playgrounds, seats for quietly contemplating the flowing river and grass and the meandering path along the edge of a river!

The Riverwalk in SA is in the heart of the city and is more like a moat with walkways around it. It was originally constructed to address concerns with the flooding of the San Antonio River.

There are restaurants all along the Riverwalk with hotels overlooking it and you can take a ride on a barge around the entire circle of the Riverwalk. It was really lovely as we sat and had lunch at one of the Mexican restaurants and watched the people walking by. We even got serenaded by a trio of Mexican singers/guitarists. We took the barge ride and explored the whole walk - although we only gave the mall a quick look. A shopping mall is a shopping mall wherever it is!!!!

We stayed long enough to see the lights at night and have dinner at an Irish pub - go figure!! We really had a wonderful day and returned home pretty tired.

Only downer of the day was that Norm has lost his wedding ring! He couldn't wear it when he was working and now I have got him to wear it at last and guess what ! he loses it!! Is this telling me something? LOL

We are just having such a wonderful time in America, and discovering some beautiful places but, the best part is the people we are meeting. The generosity and friendliness of the people is always the same wherever we have gone and we are enormously grateful for that. We have made friends with some really lovely people.

We are staying a week in San Antonio and then heading further south to the Rio Grande valley so our next post will also be from Texas and the warmer weather. Cold nights, lovely warm days - I just love it!

Until I am back, please take care of yourselves and your family and friends. Stay healthy and happy and please, please leave a comment when you visit next.

Our love and hugs to you all.

PS You note I didn't mention about when we lost Norm on the Riverwalk!!!!! LOL

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