|Road Trip 2002:||A Desert Odyssey|
Fourth of July Festivities
|Sunday, June 23
My good friend Dave is getting hitched July 5th, so I'm off to California to partake in the festivities. The plan is to leave on June 27th, and drive out to Phoenix, where I will see another old friend that I haven't spoken to in a year. If things go to plan, (which of course they never do) I'll stop by to take her out to dinner, then head out to Las Vegas. After a couple of days of blowing my gas money on blackjack, I'll ditch the car and hitchhike to Los Angeles. From there, I have no plans other than to watch fireworks, drink beer, and have fun. Eventually I'll head back to Dallas, but I can't say exactly when. The joy of having no plans is that you will never be disappointed when strange things happen...It's all part of the RoadTrip(c) experience.
Jenny the Car
|Monday, June 24
This car will be my home for the next two weeks, so it was finally time to give her a bath. She doesn't look like much, but the interior comes complete with an integrated sound system, a kitchen, a dining table, and even a fold-down bed. The interior shower has a tendency to leak water on the floorboards, so I don't use it much. I'll install satellite television and broadband internet access when I win the lottery. With a top speed of nearly twice the legal speed limit, those pesky radar-wielding troopers will see nothing but a cloud of dust before I hit the next state line. Observe the handy chart for comparison:
TX to LA at 70 mph --- 24 hours
TX to LA at 130 mph --- 13 hours
Need I say more?
Disclaimer: Don't try this at home (or on the road!) Exceeding posted speed limits may be bad for your health. Also, think of the poor bugs!
The first "mountain"
Only in Texas - "NO LIVESTOCK ALLOWED ON PARK GRASS"
Thursday, June 27
I apologize for the delay in getting the rest of the pictures up. My computer crashed, and as soon as I got it back up, I had to move to another apartment. Then, the city caught on fire, causing me to evacuate my new apartment, just as the tornados came blasting through. The hurricanes didn't quite put out all the fires, but the flood following the hurricane sure did. Finally, the dog ate my homework. The computer is back, and the page is available for your reading pleasure.
On Thursday June 27, I left for CA.
I saw my first mountain this evening, the first of many to come. I had to stop the car and take a picture of this not-quite momentous occasion. In honor of the "Fasten Safety Belts" sign I will now call this humble rock "Belt Mountain."
That night, in the middle of nowhere central TX, I crashed for an hour at a rest stop and found this sign.
Friday, June 28
The great thing about a road trip is that there is no itinerary. I can wander as I please, and not worry about having to be at the airport by 6:00am.
I love road trips.
As the sun rose over the the lonely West Texas desert, I realized that I had plenty of time to kill before I got to Vegas on Saturday. I pulled out the trusty map and noticed "CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO" in big bold letters, drawing my eyes to the gleaming black dot. Four hours later, I was standing in line, dreaming about strange encounters with bats and other unkown creatures. I paid the $12 entrance fee and set off on a three hour tour... (Gilligan's Island reference unintended)
The bats never materialized, but I think I caught a glimpse of Tina Louise as I rounded a stalagmite.
The temperature difference was incredible... Above ground, in the desert of New Mexico, the temperature was about 115 degrees F, but the caverns stay at a steady cold 60 degrees with 100% humidity.
This explains why Carlsbad has a perky nip.
The caverns were nearly pitch black, with the exception of small lights on the footpath or a small spotlight on individual pillars and formations. Even extended shutter timing couldn't bring out the detail that the human eye could see, so many of the pictures have been digitally enhanced for clarity rather than image quality.
Page last updated on August 13, 2002.