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Advice @ Carlsbad
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
Advice @ Carlsbad
    I’ve never been here before.  I’m pretty much burned out from travel and need to go home, but here I am.  Wow! What a drive from Capitol Reef N.P. through Glen Canyon Natural Recreation Area and Monument Valley to Page, Ariz., where I watched the NCAA March Madness Basketball games on TV.  Maybe someday when it’s warm enough I’ll spend weeks there.  I’ve done a lot, so this time I passed, but I’m glad I made the short walk to Horseshoe Bend near Page - Wow!  Then on through Flagstaff to Holbrook to Rt.180>60 through Apache N.F. in northern New Mexico by the village of Pie (yeah, they have pie shops, I need to stop someday) to Socorro and a Chile Relleno Burger.  Yummie!
    The next day, I drove through the Malpias Flats, where lava oozed from the grounds hundreds of years ago and there are miles of high pine hills.  That was Billy the Kid and Smokey the Bear Country; then where Rt. 380 meets Rt. 70 the hills stopped and I was headed for Roswell, N.M., flying saucer land.  I’m not interested much in that, but Carlsbad Caverns I am.  I stopped in the town of Carlsbad, hoping megamart would be within walking distance of a good restaurant that had a place to watch more Bball.  That didn’t happen, so I did a Chinese Buffet (not so bad) and ended up at a chain texmex bar.  I was very late for the games, but out here I rarely have a handle on the time.  Arizona is in Mountain Time, but doesn’t do daylight savings time. Nevada and New Mexico do and all three states are in the same zone, plus lots of the radio stations are California, so on Pacific Time.  Few radio stations ever say where they are coming from!  It’s mass confusion for me as I crisscross over the state lines.  Usually I just don’t care, but with the time of a TV event that makes it different.
    As I sat at the chain place watching the end of the Duke game, a conversation struck up with a young guy, a diesel mechanic who works here, but lives in El Paso, Tex.  He was a good guy, had complimented me for traveling alone without a second person’s influence, so I showed him my books of photos (that doesn’t happen often when I’m in “foreign” lands).  He mentioned he’d bought a home with a 30-year mortgage.  I rarely give advice, but a big red flag went up in my mind.  I told him the life of that loan would strangle him financially.  I recommended that he pay double payments or refinance to a 15 year mortgage.  That would save him at least an amount equal to the $103,000 he’d paid for the property.  I took a 15-year mortgage on my place, refinanced to a 10, and paid it off in 8 years.  That’s the way to be debt free and have financial freedom.  Hopefully he’ll take my advice.  How about you?   Are you in the mortgage strangle hold?  That’s where banks want you!
    Well, so much for that, take it or leave it.  From there I went to Carlsbad Cavern.  The camp grounds were closed because of flood damage.  The last couple weeks I’d been seeing red rock formations in all kinds of cones, towers, or peaks; well here they’re all underground!  That’s mind boggling!  Most people don’t do it the way I did, but since I don’t do these Adventures (#17) with a plan, I end up this way a lot.  I sure don’t have to do what everyone else does or follow their way.  I never expected to do such an uphill climb underground.  This is surely a new experience for me and I’ve been told I don’t do anything new.  Well, this sure was!  I had no idea that the cavern would be such an underground expanse.  I was inside for several astonishing hours.  What Mother Nature creates is utterly fantastic!  The labyrinth of stalactites and stalagmites is incredible and they go on and on through many acres and many chambers are larger than a football stadium.  All underground!
    When I finished the Big Room tour I decided to take the climb to the natural entrance.  It was up the down staircase!  I entered the cave by elevator that took me 750 feet below the ground’s surface.  The brochure recommends walking in (down) and taking the elevator (up) out.  Yeah, I did it the opposite way, but I got to see the perspective of being high near the entrance down in to the cave’s depths, as my last lasting impression.  My photos are where it’s at for me.  They were mostly grey, tan, and lacking the color, like sand stone and lime stone is.  Not colorful like the red rocks of our southwestern states or lushness of the EverGlades I’m used to or the vivid pink of the interior of a Venus Fly Trap, which I wrote about last week.
    Since I couldn’t camp park my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck) there, I headed east through Texas farm country dotted by oil wells.  The weather, although warm, was windy, dreary and gloomy.  I overnighted in Big Spring, then hoped to find a mega mart near a Texas BBQ spot in Waco, but as it usually happens on the road, I need to take what is close to a mega mart, where I park. There was a 3-4 Richter scale earth quake and a hail storm nearby that night, which I never felt as I slept.  Then I headed for Natchitoches, La.  I knew there were restaurants along the river that looked good.  The dreary weather followed.  I found a mega mart and walked to the restaurants.  Few were open, not the season yet.  I settled on one, Papa’s Oyster House, looked the menu over, saw almost everything was deep fried so, I was skeptical.  Fish and seafood can be cooked in a deep fryer, so it doesn’t destroy the flavor, but few people can do it right.  Then I spied broiled red snapper on the menu with a crawfish tail sauce.  That I can do.  I waited a while and it arrived. The fish was firm & correctly broiled, and the crawfish sauce was on the side.  I tasted it - delightfully spiced, the crawfish flavor was dominate, and I poured it over the snapper.  Wow, maybe my best meal on this Adventure!  Gee, I wonder if the fried oysters would’ve been good, too?  It’s a long time til Maryland oysters next November.   Tomorrow starts my tour of Bizarre Foods places in northern Mississippi and Alabama.
    On the downslide and lovin’ it,  ask me about a free photo.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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