Here Kitty Kitty

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Holiday Inn Express

Flag of United States  ,
Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Van Horn, Texas...where people dream of spending the night. Falling asleep to the sound of semis roaring by the Holiday Inn Express is something Zoe and I will never forget. When I inquired at the front desk what we might do on a Saturday night in Van Horn, the response was, "Nothing". We ended up at the original Chuy's restaurant, made semi-famous by football broadcaster John Madden, which was quite tasty although I think Zoe and I have finally satiated our Tex-Mex appetites. DC-ites will appreciate that as we were departing, we spied a man with Borf graffiti on his jacket.

The next morning we departed early for Guadalupe Mountains National Park which was absolutely beautiful. One of the pluses of taking the winter road trip is that the National Parks have been virtually empty. Per the ranger's suggestion, we took the 9 mile loop hike to Mount Hunter (elevation 8360 feet) and didn't see a single person along the entire route. Along the way we saw four deer, jackrabbits, and a herd of Berber sheep (see photos). Although we have yet to see a mountain lion this trip, we did come somewhat close. Near the summit of the trail, we smelled something quite malodorous. Zoe thought it might be me, but once we returned to the visitors center, the ranger confirmed what we were urine, really big cat urine. I must admit that as much as we desired seeing a mountain lion, I think we were somewhat relieved to have reached the base without seeing one. Before we departed, the ranger advised us that two hikers not too long ago realized they were being stalked by one in the park. Yikes. It was a glorious hike (see photos) with temps in the 40's and very little wind which is unusual.

Afterwards, we headed to Carlsbad Caverns which for some reason we had set fairly low expectations. I think we both believed once you have seen a cave, they all pretty much look the same. My vocabulary will fail me in trying to describe the wondrous sights 750 feet below so I will not attempt to do so in much detail. The Big Room as it is called is as large as 14 football fields and is just remarkable. Zoe described is as being in a completely different world and I couldn't agree more. It was the most alien landscape either of us has ever witnessed. We attempted to take photos, but none of my amateurish pics turned out. If you ever have a chance to see it, do so by all means.

Once we entered the realm of sunlight again, we drove to Alamogordo through Cloudcroft and spent the night before departing this morning for Tucson which is where we currently are. This afternoon we walked around the campus of AU, which is perfectly manicured and could not be prettier. Exhausted, we have decided to order pizza and spend the remainder of the night in the hot tub before checking out the sights tomorrow.

Upcoming stops: Phoenix, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks (weather permitting), Las Vegas (baby needs new shoes!)

Miles Traveled: 3900
States: 14
Number of Tickets: 0 (knock on wood)
Favorite Tree: Texas Madrone (a beautiful white, purple bark)
Number of Armadillos Seen: 1
Number of Live Armadillos Seen: 0
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