2011 Summer Vacation, Days 5 and 6

On Sunday morning, we left Dallas and headed east on I-20 to the Odessa Meteor Crater outside of Odessa, TX.  It’s not a very big hole, or very deep, having been filled in over time.

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Next we set up our first dispersed camping site near Carlsbad Caverns National Park:

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We left the RV behind and drove up to the cave to watch the bats come out at dusk.  It was really something to see.  There’s a video here.

Here’s a map of today’s drive.  The Odessa Meteor Crater is point “B”.  We drove 521 miles today.

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Monday morning, we drove back up to Carlsbad Cavern hiked down into the cave:

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The chamber in the darkness beyond is where the bats roost:

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The rooms were surprisingly large:

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The entrance to the “Big Room”, which has a floor space of 350,000 square feet, and is 750 feet below ground:

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We left Carlsbad Caverns around noon, picked up the RV, and went for a hike in McKittrick Canyon at Guadalupe Mountains National Park:

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B was tired, so M carried her for a bit:

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After the hike, we drove towards White Sands National Monument to catch the sunset tour.  We took route 62, which was completely desolate for 100 miles.  Good thing we had enough gas.

White Sands is beautiful at sunset, and the sand is indeed white!

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This shrub grows higher and higher as the dune moves in.  When the dune moves away, the plant’s roots hold back the sand to form a tower.  This tower was about 30 feet high:

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B and M sliding down the dunes:

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We were going to spend the night on BLM land near White Sands, but decided to stay at the Walmart in Alamagordo so we could do laundry in the morning.

Here’s today’s driving map of our 277 mile route, showing Carlsbad Cavern (B), Guadalupe Mountains (C), and White Sands (D).

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2011 Summer Vacation, Days 1-4
2011 Summer Vacation, Day 7

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