Tuesday, October 2, 2007

West Texas, We’ll Not See You for a While

Today was one of our long haul drive days. Having been thorough West Texas a few times, my memory had been that it goes on forever and looks vaguely the same. Contrary to my memory, at least half of I-10 is at least rolling hills, not the flat scrub I remembered. Not exactly my ideal scenery, but didn’t necessary make me wan to drive into a ditch.

Our goal was to make it to Carlsbad Caverns and stay at a park on the outskirts by sundown. But the first victory of leaving Texas and entering New Mexico was undercut by one of the central features of NM—it stinks. Our first indication was a stretch of 3 miles that smelled like an industrial revision of Lysol. Soon after, that odor was replaced by the smell of oil rigs. And just to clear that palette, we then piled on the smell of skunk and manure. Since smell isn’t on e of the 5 senses catered to by NM tourism board, we we were left in the recycled air of the car looking at the rugged beauty of the desert.

Thanks to NM’s Department of Transportation’s decision to make the speed limit 70 mph and above, we made it just in time to set up camp in Brantley State Park, though the last 30 minutes were spent desperately trying to remember the squinting-thumb-measurement-till-sundown trick from childhood to gauge how much daylight we had left. When we were down to 3 thumbs, we turned into the campsite. Our arrival was heralded by no fewer than twelve rabbits of various sizes, including super-fast giant hares. This immediately caused Kristi to regress to her 3 year old self, wildly clapping and squealing, BUNNIES! Not a bad way to end a long drive.

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