DAY 12, JUNE 10, 1993
(CHRIS) Nobody slept well, but at least all of us but Jon had sunburn to peel during the long stretches of being awake. Mine was on my head! This is the biggest flake-dandruff I've ever had. We awoke about 8:30 to find that it was still hot - surprise, surprise. The famous outdoor showers began, but since this campsite had no grass, we all stood like pigs in the mud puddle.
While Jon raged in the van about his clothes pile escaping his weak cardboard box, the 3 of us tried to take down the tent, but a joint broke. (So we smoked it to keep calm just kidding!). After a breakfast that consisted of a swig of "iced" tea (because our ice had melted a day ago and Jon's famous phone run that was supposed to result in ice did not), we went to Santa Elena Canyon. Somehow we were all in OK moods and the hike was short, beautiful, and alot of fun. We had a great time echoing, hiding behind rocks, snapping sticks and making it look like we broke bones instead, and quoting Monty Python.
Matt took the wheel after and drove us down bumpy Maverick Road out of Big Bend. We saw a weak ghost town, got some ice and began the trek north. We stopped in Fort Davis to get gas. It was $1.28, but I accidentally got full serve for 10 cents more for the first $6. Still it was expensive. only 99 cents in San Antonio. We had PB&J on the road and got to Carlsbad Caverns at 3:28pm, mountain time (5:28 Eastern). We crossed time zones 40 miles earlier at the New Mexico border. The time is significant because the last full tour of the caverns left at 3:30. We were the last to get in - we barely made it - Thank You St. Jude from the Tumbleweeds. The caves were $5 each for a 3 hour tour. A nice, COOL (56 degrees) walk for 3 hours. In the middle of the self guided walk was a restaurant and bathrooms. All this 800 feet underground. An elevator took us back up. It was alot of fun, very awesome, and entirely worth it. A quick look at our AAA tour book told us there was really nothing else to see in the area. So we headed to Albuquerque and the Hawley's house, but as we journey tonight. it seems we won't make it the whole way. It's a long drive and I think midnight would be our ETA. We just cooked dinner in a McDonald's parking lot in Artesia, NM.
Jon tried for Halyna again but could not reach her. The meal of beef stew was great. But the atmosphere stunk - literally. This town has some sort of a factory and the whole area wreaked. Plus the outskirts if town consisted of farms - what must have been purely manure farms, judging by the stench. Oh well, the Tumbleweeds roll on contentedly...
Oh, one more thing: Sam and I snuck by the McD's workers with a pot and three water jugs into the bathroom. There we "did the dishes" and got drinking water. Al1 the people in the restaurant looked on as we left with mocking smiles. Sam and I ]just avoided eye contact and put on dopey grins. Well, that will give all the Artesians something to talk about for awhile.
The night of the 10th we drove until about midnight. It was too late to go to the Hawley's, so we drove a bit past Albuquerque to Santa Fe. I drove to a hospital parking lot near downtown and found a dark corner and parked for the night. Jon as already asleep but the rest of us said rosary. Then we slept. Jon was on the floor. (The back seat, since Palmetto, has been in the far back slot so he was in front of that.) Matt slept on the back seat for awhile, but later cleaned up the way-back and slept there. Sam and I tilted the front seats all the way back and slept there. The weather was nice and cool and all slept pretty well.