Last leg of the trip. Thursday March 17th we woke up at our AirBnB and got packed up to head down the other side of the mountain (to the east). Beautiful sunrise.
The night before we had passed this on our way to the top of the mountain: Cloudcroft. We made note that we wanted to stop again. We pulled off and read about the Mexican Canyon Trestle. While we were standing there it was SNOWING! How exciting.
Continued our trek up to the top then back down the other side. It was so cool to watch the terrain change, from tall pine trees and snow...
Back to flat long open land. Our plan this day was to drive 2.5 hours to southeast New Mexico to Carlsbad Caverns. Again in our goodnight book, Kyle was SUPER excited about the cave AND we'd get to use our free fourth grade pass since it's a National Park.
We stopped at the sign to snap a photo and saw the little sign to the right... it reads "Cavern Entry Tickets Sold Out" WHAT?!? We were devastated. I had planned this part of the trip and when Kyle looked up the info about it didn't go to the actual gov website so we missed the huge banner that said "RESERVATIONS REQUIRED" I looked up future tickets and the next available ones were Monday... not gonna work. But we were there so we drove to the visitor center/cave entrance anyway to see what there was to see.
We were all pretty heart broken, (feeling much like video above when the Griswolds pull up tow alley world to find it closed) the kids didn't quite understand why we weren't going in. There were other people as well that had made the same mishap. We walked around the visitor center and got to see a model of the cave without the top, that was pretty cool and showed HOW big it was. Our kids probably couldn't have handled walking it anyway, and there's not a restroom down there, pretty sure they couldn't have made the walk without a single pit stop. So in the end God was watching out for us and perhaps we can make it back some other day... maybe a day we can witness the flying of the bats at dusk.
We did go as close to the entrance as we could. This is the natural entrance (there's also an elevator but we were told by locals to def do the walk in part) and also where you view the bat exit when they have that at certain times of the year.
We found a nature trail to explore:
Amd then there was a nine mile drive to do, so we got out our packed lunch and ate as we rode through the desert drive. We were really hoping to see any sort of wild life.
We finished the driving trail, which took a good bit of time because we were only driving about 15mph the whole time. Still had our eyes peels for some wild life as we left the park. Then Kyle spotted it! Some horns! We pulled over and stared and wondered if it were an animal or a rock. It wasn't moving.
Then it moved! And it had a baby! We were so excited We stood and watched it for a while. We thought it was a ram or mountain goat, but later looked it up and it was barbary sheep.
Here's a video of that first spotting (I suggest listening without sound cuz the wind is pretty bad):
After ooh and awing and trying to get each of the kids to see it, we continued on, I was driving. This time eyes EVEN more peels they were SO camouflaged.
Then Kyle spotted a whole pack of them. We pulled over and watched. There were a couple babies that were just bouncing and hoping back and forth it was so cute.
You probably can't find them in these photos, but I'll post a video where it might be easier to see them moving around.
We drove less than an hour north to Artesia, NM where we had booked a hotel room for the night with the plan to hit Rosewell the next day then head home.
Isaac was saving the white sand in his shoe :-) We ended up putting it in a jar when we got home, lol.
The kids attempted a swim but it was FREEZING cold! This was a tiny town and this hotel was... well a place to get a nights rest, nothing more. Same with the food in this town. We were wanting margaritas, tried this Mexican place first but they didn't have a liquor license so they made their margaritas with wine, no thank you. Then we found another one but it wasn't really a Mexican place at all it was Artesia's own take on New Mexican food, fail. Awe well, we were starting to feel the desire to get home so this point was just coasting through another night looking forward to being back.
I got my workout in Friday morning, Mary enjoyed going to the gym with me and Kyle and would do her own little workout :-) I was getting my body ready to join Isaac's run club at school which was to start the next week so each day of our trip when we were at a hotel I'd run a mile before my workout.
Oh this was a pigeon right outside our window sitting on a couple babies!
We headed to Rosewell Friday morning after our hotel breakfast. There were aliens all over town, had to get a photo with this one while we got gas.
Main stop was the UFO Museum, which is all about the Rosewell incident that happened in 1942. A UFO crashed in a field outside of Rosewell and it shared how the whole story panned out and how the government covered the story. Then it had other sections of alien type info. Pretty interesting.
This was the same picture in our Good Night book :-)
After that we took a drive looking for a place to eat. We found this one BBQ place on the west side of town but when we pulled up we decided that was not where we wanted to eat so we drove back to the east side of town to another BBQ place. Ate lunch there and prepared for the long drive home. It was about 9 hours straight home. We finished listening to the 4th Harry Potter book.
Then stopped for dinner in Amarillo at a tiny little place that had great burgers! And we're back to the real time change since we didn't have to deal with a time change the week prior.
We continued on getting home somewhere between 10 and 12 I can't remember at this point :-P
It felt so good to sleep in our own bed and we were back earlier than planned so I went to pick up Harpo early on Saturday instead of Sunday evening. Overall a great trip!
Oh I forgot to share this in my miscellaneous post. But we got this rooster puzzle at the Big Texan that first night: