Senior Long Road Trip - 3 of 3

From the balloon fiesta and Old Town Albuquerque in New Mexico, we drove south to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  I had previously visited as a young child, but Dianne had never seen it.  In my earlier visit we took a guided tour of the cave, and I remember that during the tour we stopped while all of the lighting was turned off.  A moonless and cloudy night is not as dark as was the cave with no natural light.

Since those earlier days, the park has added new features, including an elevator which immediately takes us down 750 to the cave, a much faster and less strenuous journey than walking down the steep hair-pinned trail to the caves interior.  A restaurant, gift shop and museum have also been added.

cavernAdditional features have been added to Carlsbad Caverns.
caveDianne and me in front of the original opening to the cave.

It this picture gives you an image of a steep, switchback trail down to the cave, you have an accurate picture.  We thought it more prudent to take advantage of the elevator!

cave 2We were too late to take the guided tour, so we took the self-guided tour.
cave 4These sign boards were in good supply and gave helpful additional information.

The weather down here never changes.  The temperature is a constant 57 degrees and the humidity is at 98%.  When the elevator was completed, the humidity fell precipitously, so an air-trap was added and revolving doors were put in place.

cave 5It must have been very difficult for original explorers to navigate the cave, but smooth, paved trails make it much easier now.
cave 6Stalactites or stalagmites? I think Stalactites come from water slowly dripping from the ceiling, and stalagmites form on the floor from water dripping from the ceiling.

The cave was originally discovered many years ago when someone noticed what looked like smoke coming from the ground.  When the explorer was able to finally get close enough, he learned the "smoke" was really thousands of bats flying from the cave in the evening to search for food.  

cave 7The original occupants of the cave - bats. The rest of us are late-comers!

And so ended the final portion of our trip.  We had a glorious time with dear friends and family and were now headed home to NE Oklahoma.  On the way, we planned to stop and visit a childhood friend and his wife.  We never made it.

We were on a 4-lane divided highway heading east.  A semi truck and trailer was turning right, and we were in the fast lane going around him.  A pickup truck with a cattle guard in front of his grill suddenly appeared from behind the left-turning truck going from right-to-left directly in front of us.

car 2Probably going to need a really good paint job! Notice the absence of the door!
car 2Dianne was on the passenger side and took a direct hit.

As a result of the collision, we did a 360 degree spin-around and ended up in the median.  Dianne broke a rib and spent a couple of nights in the hospital and several weeks being very sore.  We are very grateful for the Lord's mercy and protection.  It certainly could have been much worse.

When the ambulance arrived we went to the nearest hospital which was farther east in Hobbs, New Mexico.  Dianne was the patient and I was the passenger.  We spent the night there and were transported the next day to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas.  After being released, we then checked into a motel and slept the clock around and flew home the following day.  Our daughter, Brittany, picked us up in Tulsa and drove us home to Colcord, OK.

Not surprisingly, life is full of surprises.  We are thankful for God's protection, even in the tough times.

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