The first day of this week is the mid point of our trip. It is also the day we cross the mid point of Route 66. Halfway between Chicago and L.A. Then it is on to Ruidoso, New Mexico. I didn’t know it but Ruidoso is in the mountain of New Mexico. The mountains are a high or higher than the Rockies. Not as rugged (we drove to the top of one on Nov. 27th) but just as high. Over 12,000 feet. Ruidoso itself is at 6,920 feet while Banff is 4,537 feet.
We took a couple long road trips from here. One to the incomparable Carlsbad Caverns, and one to El Paso, Texas. Unbelievably, we took Friday, December 1st off. Not a single picture.
Quite a long day. Amarillo, TX to Ruidoso, NM. Lots of time spent on the old road. First a stop at 3 old Cadillacs on ramps. Then one of the strangest sights I have ever seen. When you see the pictures you will understand.
10 Cadillacs, stuck nose first into the ground with their tails up in the air. Years ago people started painting graffitti on them and with no one around to police it, it simply got out of hand. Now they actually encourage it. The paint is so thick it is dripping off the cars. I believe the first car is a 1953, then a 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962. All Cadillacs. They call this the Cadillac Ranch.
Next, I finally got a few pictures of a Western Meadowlark. In fact I think we saw more Meadowlarks in 15 minutes than I have seen in my life combined.
A few hours later we crossed the mid point of Route 66. Ironically it is also the mid point of the trip (day 43 of 86).
Our first day in Ruidosa, New Mexico. Very beautiful. Except for no snow the massive pine trees, deer and elk make it look like Banff. OK, not quite but still very nice. We are actually about 2,000 feet higher in elevation than Banff.
Not much today. A couple shots of a few Elk, then some of an old Checker Taxi. These cars were used extensively in New York. I was surprized to see it here. Then a few of the water mill that apparently started the town of Ruidoso and then a really well disguised cell tower.
Today was a big day. I have always wanted to see Carlsbad Caverns and after a 2.5 hour drive we were there. This cave is enormous. 8.2 acres. The Big Room, is the largest single cave chamber by volume in North America. This 1.25 mile trail is relatively flat, and will take about 1.5 hours (on average) to walk it. Actor and comedian Will Rogers called the cavern, "The Grand Canyon with a roof over it." I estimate that at the peak, the roof of the cave is 25 to 35 feet overhead. As you view these you will be able to see the pathway railings which give you a perspective of how large the formations (stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, soda straws, etc.) actually are.
And, it is spectaular. As a result there are too many pictures here but sometimes I just can't decide which ones to use.
On the way home we stopped at Roswell. This is the place where legend has it that a UFO crashed in 1947 and the U.S. government has hushed it up ever since. We got there late so all we did was a 10 minute trip through a museum and bought a few cheesy trinkets.
Another day trip. Today we were off to El Paso (back to Texas). On the way we came across St. Joseph's Catholic Church. This is a beautiful church built in 1887 on Mescalero Apache land. Not anything like the ornate cathedrals you usually think of with a catholic church. This is stunning in it's simplicity.
El Paso is not a sleepy west Texas town any more. almost 600,000 people and the traffic to go with it. We went to a couple very old missions originally built in the 1680's but they have been destroyed and re-built a few times. The first one was re-built in the 1840's and renovated in the last 10 years or so. It is the oldest, continously operating church in the U.S.
The second one was also rebuilt in the 1840's but using the materials from the original. For example, the beams in the ceiling are original. The black diamonds represent the directions with the sun in the centre.