03 August 2015

Carlsbad Boy

The next leg of our cross-country odyssey took us into the most desolate stretch of the journey: West Texas, 108º. Cormac McCarthy country. Plus, it was the beginning of Jade Helm 15. (And for all anyone knows, I could've been part of the invasion: undercover, indistinguishable from the local population.)

The drive took us from San Antonio, TX, to Carlsbad, NM, some 450.9 miles. It was the least trafficked segment of the trip. Speed limits on I-10 were 80 mph much of the way. U.S. 285 from the Texas border to Carlsbad was the worst section of road we saw on the entire trip. Plus, we caught it at "rush hour", and all the roughnecks from the oil wells were heading into Carlsbad in their pick-up trucks—in a hurry.

Here's what you need to know:

  • There are thousands of wind turbines in West Texas. Wind farms galore. I did not know this beforehand, but as we drove on I kept seeing more and more atop mesas and ridges and down in wind-tunnel canyons and valleys. I saw more wind turbines here than in my entire trip through Europe in 2011. But, in a unique Texas twist on the matter, often the alternative sustainable energy windmills were generating power to operate those grasshopper-looking oil well pumps. Go figure.
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is one place you should visit if you're ever in the area. Think of the most incredible Gothic Cathedral you've ever seen, its remarkable architectural structures and spaces; then, imagine that the designers and builders were merely two-year-olds playing clumsily with wooden blocks; and you'll get a sense of the magnificence of this vast space. To get in, you take an elevator down some 1000 feet, or if, unlike us, you have time, you walk about a mile down a steep entry. The "big room" is the largest underground cavern in the U.S. The temperature is a constant 58º year-round. No pictures can convey how awesome this place is, despite the well-paved path and dramatic lighting. It's a geologist's or speleologist's wet dream. And, apparently, the radioactive materials buried around there are not a threat. How comforting.
Now pics (click pic to embiggen [a frickin' awesome] slide show):

Jade Helm 15 disguise?
"I wanna' go fast!"
Texas anomalies
Are those 'black helicopters' above that underground bunker?
Drive up to Carlsbad Caverns
No words...

Wait! Is that Batman?
40-50' Pillars

I wonder if Georgia O'Keefe ever visited

Yes, it does

1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Spectacular shots! I never made it there.

As for isolated driving, one time on the way to Page, AZ from Phoenix, I drove an hour on the highway without seeing another car. In either direction.