Our sat nav tried to drive us to New Mexico up the busy interstate roads, so we totally ignored her and made our own way up the country roads. That made our journey a lot longer, but the scenery was breath taking. I particularly enjoyed the drive between Fort Davis and and Kent up the 118. This drive took us through the Davis Mountain range, an area full of hundreds of picture perfect round small mountains, covered in thousands of tiny short trees, which Barney said looked like Broccoli fields. As we drove through it I just sat imagining how the Apache would have lived on the land here a few hundred years ago. The area was still so unspoilt, apart from the road. I talked to the kids about the Apache people while we drove along, and we imagined their villages, homes and way of life.
After the 118 we headed towards the Guadalupe Mountains, still in Texas but on the border to New Mexico. We drove through the Apache Mountains, the Baylor Mountains, the Sierra Diablo Mountains and the Delaware Mountains, along a road that was covered in hills and dips. I've never seen so many mountains in my life as I have driving through Texas. Eventually we arrived at the Guadalupe Mountains, the highest peek in Texas, so we stopped at the visitors centre for an hour or so. Here we took a scenic one mile walk, and spent quite some time inside the visitors centre while the kids answered Junior Ranger questions. Jimmie spent ages filling in his book with info about the animals that lived in the region. Back when we were in Big Bend, the kids became official junior rangers. They completed some activities that taught them about the area, and did some things like picking up rubbish to help the area. They were then sworn in as junior park rangers and presented with certificates and badges. They made a solemn promise to protect America's National Parks. Now, little Barney is really into the 'Power Rangers' at the moment, so becoming a 'Junior Ranger' was a huge deal to him! When we got to the Guadalupe Mountains national park he ran round like a wild thing collecting and disposing of litter, as his job as a junior power ranger. Bless.
Anyway, now we are at Carslbad RV Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico. We had booked three nights here but have extended it to five as the kids are loving the place so much, and it will give Dan and I some time to relax. Being spring break, there are lots of kids vacationing here, which means Annabelle and Jimmie have made a lot of new friends. There is an indoor pool, a kids park, petting zoo, games room, and various organised activities for the Easter Weekend. Annabelle and Barney have already competed in an easter picture competition, and Annabelle has been on a disco hay ride with a heap of other kids.
Yesterday we took a trip to the Carlsbad Caverns, which are 11 miles away. I was horrified to learn that the walk into the caverns would take an hour and a half, or else we could take an elevator down to the bottom of the caves, 800 ft below ground. Well, being rather claustrophobic, (as anyone who read my MRI scan blog knows!) I wasn't took chuffed about the elevator. But I couldn't expect my kids to make that walk. So I held my breath, shook like a leaf and walked into the elevator where the ranger proceeded to tell me horrifying facts, such as that I was going 75 storey's down under the earth. To make it worse, the elevator had windows to show the terrifying fact that we were being lowered 800 ft down through a solid rock tube. Oh my.
But the walk around the caves was lovely, despite the fact that spring break made it one of the busiest weekends of the year to visit. The caves weren't all that different from the Marble Arch caves in Northern Ireland, only that they were deeper under ground. The drive to the top of the mountain where the cave entrance is was breath taking. We were so high up above New Mexico and could see for hundreds of miles. New Mexico has been so much warmer than I expected, and not very windy. This sort of weather is just perfect for us. Photography was allowed in the caves, much to my amazement, but Dan doesn't have his tripod with him, so we were limited in our photographic abilities as the caves were just too dark for really good pictures.
Today we are celebrating Easter. We were surprised to find out that they dont have the big boxed Cadburys type easter eggs in America that we have at home. The kids were a little disappointed when I told them. So I bought lots of packets of mini eggs and little chocolate rabbits and stuff , made up easter baskets and hid them around the RV.
There is now a New Mexico album, and I put a few extra photos in Texas Album 2 as well.