Sunday, September 27, 2009


We actually got two e-mails making sure we're doing okay since we haven't posted in almost a week. We're glad to see people are following our travels and everyone can rest easy as we're doing fine and having a wonderful time! (It's good to know we have at least two fans!)

We were sad to leave Santa Fe, as we had such a good time with Asa's Aunt Debbie. We went south through New Mexico, making a quick stop in Roswell. Roswell is an interesting place, worth a drive-through, but not much else. We went to a museum there where we saw information about Robert Goddard, an early rocket engineer from the 1930s who was from Worcester, MA - interesting mainly because that's where Jaimee's family lives! It's a small world!

After camping at Brantley State Park in the Southeast corner of New Mexico we stopped at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This is definitely worth a stop! We did the full self-guided tour through the caverns - it took us over two hours to walk the whole thing. It's a pretty neat place. It also seems to employ a lot of Park Rangers - they rove around the cavern on "Cave Watch" duty - looking for misconduct or for those who didn't "assess their hiking fitness" and need assistance.

We continued on to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas which is now one of our favorite parks. It's a "wilderness park" meaning that if you don't want to hike or backpack there isn't a whole lot to do. It also contains Guadalupe Peak, the "top of Texas" at 8,749 feet. West Texas has some tall mountains! While climbing the peak we met the first, but definitely not the last Texan who was proud of his/her state. Texans love Texas, and they let you know that. I think that's great - you should love where you live.

After two peaceful nights, where our campsite hosted both skunks and deer, we traveled southeast to Big Bend National Park. Despite being about "10 hours from anywhere" it's also a great park. We camped up in the Chiso Mountains basin, the only mountain range in America to be entirely contained inside a National Park. We did a few hikes in the mountains before heading down to the Rio Grande side of the park.

I wish I had visited Big Bend prior to 2002 as that was when they began policing the border aggressively. Prior to 2002 the Rio Grande in this area was considered a "soft border crossing" meaning for a small fee a Mexican would row you across the river to one of several Mexican villages for beer and tacos. Now, the rangers follow the tourists making sure that no "Mexican Nationals" are illegally crossing over. It's pretty ridiculous - we essentially had our own escort of two law enforcement Rangers who tailed us as we went from section to section of the park. Then, when dusk came the mosquitoes were horrible! They were so bad that we didn't even cook dinner that night and just hunkered down inside the tent. We would have put our bug spray on but we'd actually just taken showers so didn't want to soil ourselves so soon!

The next morning we got up and made the long drive toward Austin. We took the "scenic route" by stopping in Del Rio, Texas and making a quick stop across the border into Mexico. This is one of the "approved" border crossings. Ciudad Acuna isn't that great, but I was able to get a $2 haircut. And we had fries and a drink for $2.50. The border patrol searched our car pretty thoroughly when we came back into America - I would have taken a picture if pictures were allowed as they let the K-9 German Shephard right into our car to sniff around. He didn't find anything although the border people did find a lot of broken glass which made them suspicious.

We broke up the pictures into two albums:
Now we're in hot and humid Austin. We just toured through the Pecan Street festival and are having a fun time here so far. But more on that later...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails