Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grumpy Bulldog Does America Day 60: Cave In

I went to bed too late last night and then got up too late this morning, about 10:40 (adjusted for Daylight Savings).  I ate some mini donuts and watched part of the crappy Cardinals-Cowboys game.  I finally got up the gumption around 11:30 to go to Carlsbad Caverns.

It takes literally two hours to get there.  You have to go down rural highways and slow down when you get to Artesia, where I got lunch at McDonald's.  You really have to slow down in the town of Carlsbad because there are a zillion stop lights (each one you have to stop at) and the speed limit is only 30-35, so it was a freaking crawl through there.

And then when you get to White's City, you have to go about 8 miles down a winding road that takes you to the top of a mountain, where the visitor's center for Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located.  I got there a little after 2 and they closed for new visitors at 3:30, so I guess it was good I didn't dawdle too much longer.

I got a ticket and then went pretty much straight to the elevator.  There's a park ranger to give you all the rules.  At first it was just me but just after the ranger started his spiel I saw a young couple making out by the rope blocking the entrance to the elevator, so I told the ranger and he let them in too and then repeated his spiel, pretty much word-for-word.  The gist is no touchy!  The stuff in the caverns is really sensitive, so don't fuck it up by touching it or throwing coins in the water or leaving food for the nonexistent animals.  As a sign says, there aren't really any bats in that part of the caverns.  Mostly they hang out in another cavern.  I guess in summer you can watch them fly out at night, but I think it's too late at this time of year.

A relief for me is there's an elevator to take you down about 700 feet to the "Big Room" which is the main exhibit.  They have a couple of others that maybe I could have visited if I hadn't been so late.  It's not as long of a ride as the Space Needle or Willis (formerly Sears) Tower or something like that.  You have to yawn or something to repressurize your ears though by the time you get to the bottom.

Then there's a long, looping trail you can walk along.  There's a path that's more difficult that of course I did not try as I would probably still be there, waiting for rigor mortis to set in.  As you might expect, it's dark and clammy down there.  Basically it's like my mom's basement, except without the old toys and water heater.

They have lights installed that aren't real bright.  They're just enough to help your pictures turn out when you use the flash.  The path around the Big Room is close to a mile, some of it getting a little treacherous as the path is damp and it slants uphill fairly steep in a couple of spots, which it's good they have handrails.

Besides not touching stuff you're supposed to keep your voice low, which isn't a problem for me.  But of course some stupid people bring little kids or newborns down there and obviously they aren't going to be that quiet.  And then you get people who block the whole path so they can take their group selfie or whatever.

But anyway, it's pretty cool.  Here are the pictures.  If you want a 4D experience, just go down to a dark basement when you're looking at these and you'll have the right atmosphere.

Unfortunately when I got back to by the elevator the bathroom was closed, thus ruining my dream of taking a shit deep underground.  So I just had to go up to the surface to do that, after I got a Snickers bar since I was a little spent from all that walking and a sandwich was $6.

Thanks to that dumbass Ben Franklin with Daylight Savings Time, it was dark probably 3/4 of the way back to Roswell.  I hate driving at night, especially on rural roads.  But no deer came out at me or anything, so that was good.  Of course it was another crawl through fucking Carlsbad and less so through Artesia.

I stopped at Church's chicken in Roswell for dinner.  It's good I got back when I did because now it's thunder storming.  And now you're up to date.


  1. That's another place I'd like to go, though I have been to a set of caverns like that in Texas. Smaller, of course.

  2. Hey Pat,

    I gotta' get me a new computer. This one is slower than a parked car and your site, with all those cool photos, kept crashing on me.

    Those caverns are a deep subject. Have fun, dude.




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