Monday, July 4, 2016

Albuquerque to Carlsbad, day 7

We arrived in Albuquerque pretty much just in time for dinner, so we got all settled into our Hampton Inn for the night and then decided to eat at The Range Cafe for supper. Kate was pretty happy to be with Yiayia finally. I did regret that we didn't get into Albuquerque in time to actually see any of the city, but we just didn't get on the road early enough to make that happen.

Saturday morning we got up and hit the road again. Our destination for Saturday was Carlsbad, New Mexico. I had thrown out the idea of us all going to the caverns, not really thinking about it being a holiday weekend and that 12000 other people might have the same idea.
We had a fairly uneventful 4 hour drive from Albuquerque to Carlsbad. We stopped in Roswell for lunch at the Rib Crib. It was pretty tasty barbeque. The Roswell UFO Festival was going on while we were in town, but I was the only one who wanted to stop and enjoy the local weirdness. Another bummer - I say when you're in a random town that you'll not be in again for a while, and a random festival is going on, you take advantage of that happy coincidence. Maybe next time.

We made it into Carlsbad and headed straight through to go to the caverns. Our first clue that it was going to be crowded should have been the line to get into the parking lot. A park ranger was letting one car in every time one car would leave because they were full. Hmmm. Once we finally found a parking spot after being allowed in, we walked into the visitor's center and got our first glimpse of the line to buy tickets. Pretty quickly Nana and Yiayia decided they weren't going into the caverns (the wait for the elevator was over an hour!) so I stood in line to get tickets for me, Nick and Kate. After listening to the guides who were walking around and helping people, I realized that there was no way this was going to happen today.

It was 3:30. The guide said it was an hour walk down into the big room, than an hour an a half to walk around the big room, and the wait for the elevator to come back up was an hour long. You had to be out of the cavern by 6:45 pm. Well that was not going to happen in that amount of time! So we snapped a photo outside in front of the sign and left, since we knew it just wasn't going to work out this trip. But that means that one of these days (when it's NOT a holiday weekend) we are going to have to make the 6 hour drive back out there.
We stopped at the gift shop in Whites City before heading back to our hotel for the night and goofed around for a little bit. The gift shop itself was fairly lame, so there wasn't a whole lot to see. But we made the most of it and then went to the Hampton Inn for the night.

 The next morning we woke up bright and early (like 5 am!) so we could leave our hotel by 7 am to make it to Andrews, Texas in time for worship service. I hadn't been to church out there since I moved away back in 2001, so I thought it would be fun to visit and see some old faces. The congregation there has gotten a lot smaller since I left, which is sad, but I did see some familiar faces and spoke with a few old friends. We ate at my favorite Mexican food place in town before hitting the road again to come home. It was a long drive, but we finally made it around 6pm and everybody was very happy to be out of the car.

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