After dropping Abby off at school, we headed West. We spent another day in Kansas City with the family and got the car serviced. As much driving as we do, the 5000 mile oil change comes around often. In fact, after the years of traveling, the dealership in Kansas City knows Bob by name! We also made a quick stop in Wichita where we visited with Grandma again before meeting Mom, Donna and Bill for dinner. After doing so much research on the family history, I had lots of questions for Donna and she had all the good gossip — even though that gossip was from a generation or two back!
We left Wichita just in time to miss all the tornadoes. We got all the way to Carlsbad, New Mexico in one day of driving and woke up the next morning to all the news reports. We were lucky, we didn’t even have much rain during our drive.
Our first official day of vacation we spent at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It was really interesting. We chose to walk into the cave from its natural entrance and it was well worth it. However, we walked down the equivalent of 75 stories in about a 3/4 of a mile. The path was at a pretty steep angle. When I was walking, it wasn’t a big deal, but the next morning I could hardly move. Bob said I looked like Tim Conway’s old man character from the Carol Burnett show. Once I got going and warmed up, I was ok, but if I sat down for a couple minutes, I had to warm up all over again. It was ridiculous 🙂
Anyway, the cavern itself was very interesting. We spent hours down there on the self guided tour and a ranger-lead tour. We learned quite a bit about the caves, the bats who live in them durig the summer, etc. We really enjoyed it. I put the pictures here. We also wanted to see Guadalupe Mountains National Park just over the border in Texas, but the wind was so bad, visibility was down to a block.
In fact, the wind was so bad, we couldn’t really get around. There was so much dust in the air, visibility was low. We went to the Denny’s near our hotel for dinner; going any further was dangerous. As we walked into the Dennys, there was a notice on the door asking patrons not to ask the staff questions about the “unfortunate event” and that the police investigation was ongoing. Hmmmmm. After we ordered, I did a little digging on my iphone and found that a waitress had been murdered there only days before. It was a horrible story, she was killed at random by a stranger who then shot himself and later died. I wished I hadn’t looked.