Monday, June 9, 2014

Road Trippin' Day 2: Carlsbad Caverns

Some big Texas sky.
Man, oh man.  As I was brainstorming trying to remember everything that happened this day, I started thinking how absolutely nutso it was!  In mostly good ways.  By the end of the day, as we all (finally) laid our heads down on our pillows, we'd been in three different time zones.  But a whole lot happened before that sweet moment.

We started out our trek after our night in Tucson, Arizona.  We drove a little ways down the freeway to get our breakfast at McDonald's.  But not just any old McDonald's.  Oh no, this one had dinosaurs.  Because, why the heck not?  Naturally we had to get a couple pictures with our new dino-friend.

After that, we drove, and drove, and then for kicks, we drove a bit more.  We went drove right on out of Arizona, all the way through New Mexico, up through the little corner of Texas that contains El Paso, and then back up into New Mexico to go see the Carlsbad Caverns.

I have seen quite a few caverns in my day.  These were HUGE.  We were only able to go through one cavern due to time constraints and the wee babes, but one was enough for our pit stop.  The room we did see is just called, "The Big Room," and that is no exaggeration.  It went on and on in all directions.  There were a million different formations, and we had fun naming all of them (or guessing the names of ones that already had names.)  Personal favorites included the Chandelier and the Jabba the Hut Wedding.  I think it is safe to say that this was everyone's favorite stop.  Even Juliet enjoyed the caves--she was singing and talking to herself the whole time in the baby bjorn.

This reminds me of the planet Hoth in Star Wars.

After we finished up in the caves, we headed back up to the surface for the bat flight.  We sat around for 30 minutes, waiting for the bats to make their debut.  I had been waiting for this all day--everything I had read said this was an incredible, once-in-a-life-time experience.  We waited, and waited.  While we waited, a thunderstorm blew in.  And not just any thunderstorm.  Carrie said the only way she could think to describe the lightning was that it looked like a strobe light--and that's pretty accurate.  Every minute or so there would be a huge crack and a fork would light up the sky.  The bat flight ended up being cancelled, but the weather was pretty incredible.  Everyone had to evacuate the park because in addition to the lightning, there was also a flash flood warning.  Yay!

My personal favorite formation--the Chandelier!

And again!
Having spent half my growing up years in the south, I am no stranger to a good thunder-boomer.  I even kind of enjoy them.  However, I am not a huge fan of driving through them.  Especially not in the middle of nowhere, down strange, dark, windy roads.  My nerves probably weren't helped by the deer that randomly decided to jump out in front of our car as we were leaving the park!  Fortunately, we weren't going very fast yet, so I was able to stop in time, but as Carrie said right after it happened, "How dumb is a deer??"

We left that storm behind, and drove back into Texas.  Would you believe it if I told you that in the distance was ANOTHER HUGE LIGHTNING STORM??  At this point, I had seen enough to last me a good long while, so while we continued to drive down country highways in the middle of nowhere, straight into a scene from Twister, my brain decided to start to play delightful little tricks on me.  Here is a glance into my thought process that night:

BOOM.  Oh wow, another huge fork of lightngin--WAIT, WAS THAT A FUNNEL CLOUD???  ...Well, probably not, but I can't tell!!  Oh geez, oh geez, oh geez...where are we??  How can I even know if there's a tornado warning?? We could literally be driving right into it and have NO idea...are we sure we should keep going?  We should have stopped back at that little town earlier.  Why did we even go on this road trip!!  Ah! I swear I just saw a funnel cloud again, this is too much!  ....wait a second...where did Dan's tail lights go??? Oh my gosh, my husband just got sucked up, and I can't even see the dang tornado because it's too dark!!  ...Oh wait, there he is.  There's just a dip in the road there...better speed back up.  Oh geez, oh geez, oh geez.

Thanks Carrie, for the picture!
That went on for probably an hour.  Carrie was drifting in and out of sleep (I don't blame her, I think we were all pretty tired).  And both the girls were screaming by the end.  It was not my favorite moment of life, but for the record, we never even made it into the storm.  We stopped in a little town right on the edge of it.  I was not a happy camper and probably a little cranky as I crawled into bed, but seriously, that was nerve-wracking.  I could go a long time without seeing another big storm like that. ;)

1 comment:

Autumn said...

We had a huge lightning storm driving through Texas too...but we also saw a really cool double rainbow because of it. It doesn't sound like it was anything compared to what y'all experienced though, that is NUTS!

I think you are a brave mama for taking kids in the cave. I was a little nervous because they kept saying on the audio tour "boulders can fall down because of human contact blah blah blah" and the people in front of us were touching EVERYTHING. Haha