Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017
Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Friday, March 7, 2014

Breakdown of a Different Kind - Fri., Mar. 7

I'll kill the suspense immediately. Our truck needed only a minor repair called a CAC tube. It attaches to the Powerstroke engine and, if it gets too hot, it blows out. That causes all kinds of problems with the other systems in the truck. Instead of a $5,000 transmission rebuild, we paid $377. Whew. Plus we only had to pay one day on the rental car instead of a week, AND we will check out of our RV park tomorrow as planned to head back to San Antonio. We are very fortunate!

If you are ever in Carlsbad, New Mexico and need your truck worked on, we highly recommend Carlsbad Ford. This morning we were put at the top of the list for repairs, they ran all the diagnostics on our truck and by 2:00 p.m. the truck was ready to roll. Very nice service.

Our stay in Carlsbad is at Carlsbad RV Park and Campground, a Good Sam park. We are thankful to be here instead of the RV park in Whites City which is closer to Carlsbad Caverns. (Our tow truck driver told us if our reservations had been at the Whites City RV park, he could not have towed us in because you have to go through a wash to get to the sites.)
Rigamarole with The Beast back at her side.
Looking down the row at Carlsbad RV Park
Carlsbad, New Mexico is in the Permian Basin oil field. Therefore, the RV park is mostly filled with oil field workers. We were told you pretty much can't find a motel room in Carlsbad because the oil companies rent most of them for their workers. This RV park is a gravel lot with a few trees, but it is convenient if you're going to the Caverns. Their store has basic food supplies, souvenirs, commonly needed RV supplies, and 500 DVDs (first one is free with coupon, $1.00 rental per DVD thereafter).

Carlsbad Caverns: With will call tickets for a 10:00 a.m. King's Palace tour waiting for us at the Visitor Center, we arrived earlier than the recommended time of 9:30 a.m. While we waited, we perused the displays in the Visitor Center. The main elevators are being repaired, so smaller elevators are in place which may cause a wait to get into the caverns.

At 10:00 a.m., Ranger Suzanne started our tour. A huge hole in the ground filled with wonders awaited.




Ranger Suzanne
Stalagmites with cave popcorn.
Draperies and stalactites
Cave waterfall and flowstone
Helictites

The following formation reminds me of jellyfish or the aliens from "District 9."


Green Lake
Super-sized rooms
At the end of our ranger-guided 1-1/2 hour, one mile tour, we ascended the elevator to check for messages from the Ford dealership. Gary at Ford had left a message on Bob's phone telling us what they found and that the truck would be ready at 2:00 p.m. Lunchtime! We had turkey sandwiches at the cafe in the Visitor Center.

When we finished lunch, it was back down into the caverns armed with $5 audio tour devices to walk the one-mile Big Room Tour and the 1-1/4 mile, 750' Natural Entrance Tour. If you go to the Caverns, a minimum of the Big Room Tour is what we'd recommend. There are some ups and downs, but it's pretty mellow. What's spectacular are the formations  you'll see in that one mile! (Double-click to make photos larger.)








Cave bacon
Cave drapery stalactites


Rock of Ages
Chinese Theatre
On our self-guided Big Room Audio Tour we learned about cave breakdown. Huge parts of the cave ceiling have fallen to the floor of the cave over the years, as in millions of years. Most of the rockfall is due to cave breakdown caused by water and wind erosion, much of which happened during wetter periods in the earth's history.

Another fascinating fact we found is that most caves are formed by carbonic acid which is slow to dissolve limestone. Carlsbad Caverns, on the other hand, because of petroleum beneath the caves, has been eroded by sulfuric acid, which is much faster at eroding limestone.

As soon as we finished up the Big Cave Tour, we used the restrooms one last time before heading out of the cave up the 750' Natural Entrance Trail. When we got to the start of the Natural Entrance Trail, the sign said "Closed."

A ranger was standing nearby and we said, "When did the trail close?"

He replied, "At 2:30."

I pouted a little and said, "What time is it now?"

He said, "2:30."

I said, "Can we still go? We'll be fast." (They want everyone out of the Natural Entrance Trail by 3:30 p.m.)

He looked us over and said, "Sure."

We took off going pretty fast at the bottom. Then we got to the uphill part! Yikes, when they say it goes up 750' they aren't kidding. It's very steep. But we huffed and we puffed and kept going up and up, still listening to our audio tour as we went. I didn't think it was ever going to end. Eventually, we saw the light coming in the natural entrance and knew we didn't have too much farther to go. It was still all uphill switchbacks, however. We made it to the top and through the gates with ten minutes to spare. I'm glad we did it.

More cool formations
Whale Mouth
Finally! The natural opening.
Trying to do Bat Mask - epic fail.
Going up!
Looking down at the trail we just came up.
If you enlarge photo, bright white specks are cave swallows.
We made it out on time and in one piece. It was time to head back to the rental car and go pick up the pick up.

Our rental Yaris in Caverns parking lot.
The peppy little Yaris rental.
Once back in Carlsbad (the town) we picked up The Beast, turned in the rental, then went to dinner at No Whiner Diner. Good food, exceptional service and fun stuff to read on the walls.
No Whiner Diner


Loved this photo of Amelia Earhart over Oakland.
No Whiner Diner

And that folks, was our day today. Everything is awesome!

Travel Bug out.






  





























      



22 comments:

  1. I love caves..... that one is certainly on my list. Thanks for the tour.... Great luck about the truck! Whew!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caves are always on my must-see list. We've seen many, but still a lot to go.

      Delete
  2. We did the walk going downhill. Disappointed that we didn't get to see any bats!

    Great news about the truck! Hope the rest of your trip home is uneventful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going downhill all that way would have hurt my knees. I do better going uphill.

      No bats for us either, they won't be in until about May this year. Ranger told us that the bats arrive about two months after the cave swallows and the cave swallows just arrived.

      Delete
  3. "Cave Bacon" ??? I snorted out loud at that! LOL

    we were there a couple years ago and it was lovely... we walked down and took the elevator up. It was so lovely and serene and eerily quiet..

    glad your truck was an easy fix!!!!
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously, it's called "cave bacon" formation. Just look at it, really looks like bacon!

      Delete
  4. Great post of a place I have always wanted to visit. Sure beats waiting for your truck repair. I like your entire plan here with the Whiner Diner finish. Although I'm not sure they'd let me in. I do tend to whine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carlsbad Caverns is a must see. If you're really into spelunking, there are longer tours of more primitive caves nearby, but they didn't sound like my cup of tea.

      The No Whiner Diner is a good dining choice. We were very impressed. It's not fancy, but the food and service are excellent, prices are reasonable.

      Delete
  5. So glad the truck news is good. We did the natural entrance going down, so we know you really got a workout going up. I wish we would have been there to see the bats. Have a safe trip back to San Antonio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto on wishing we could see the bats. No bats until about May this year.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful header photo.

    We loved Carlsbad Caverns. What a gorgeous experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your compliment on the header photo. Too bad I can only take credit for capturing it, not creating it.

      Delete
  7. Glad it was a quick and easy fix for your truck! I did the down hill walk too; good for you choosing to go up!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great day! I enjoyed your tour thru the caverns. We have never visited there. Beautiful pictures Susan.

    So glad you had good news about your truck! Whew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we turned lemons into lemonade and continued on with our journey as if nothing happened.

      Turns out what we thought would be bad news wasn't quite as bad as we thought.

      Delete
  9. Great news about the truck, hope the rest of your trip is uneventful. We did the natural entrance down, Carlsbad is one cave we'll probably go back to again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rest of our trip was uneventful...almost boring.

      Usually Bob doesn't like caves, but he LOVED Carlsbad. He was blown away.

      Delete
  10. Wow! What a tour and such great photos. AND...such good news about the truck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we made the most of our day at Carlsbad Caverns, but then we are both Type A people.

      And we were very happy the truck was fixed quickly.

      Delete
  11. I use to study the development of a cave and cave features with my students. Our big finale was a trip to a cave to see all the beautiful features we had seen only in pictures. The kids were always so thrilled. My favorite feature is cave bacon. Looks like you had quite an extensive trip with completing three segments.

    Glad your truck is all repaired and you don't have to move into the "Poor House!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you'd make a good park ranger!

      Delete
  12. Good news about the truck. Carlsbad Caverns is on our list.

    ReplyDelete

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