Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Returning to the Land of Enchantment

The drive scheduled for today was short. Only a few hours from Fort Stockton to Carlsbad, New Mexico. So I checked out some maps and found a good distraction along the way. 

We headed for Balmorhea State Park. I’m a bit leery of claims of the world’s largest, etc, but this place claims to have the worlds largest swimming pool supplied entirely by a natural spring. It is crystal clear, even at 25 feet deep, and is always 74 degrees.

The park wasn’t much, but it was fine. River wasn’t allowed into the pool area or in any indoor areas, but we found plenty of grass to run on and a stream to play in. We were also allowed to play in the wetlands which was a lot of fun.
I don't know if this even works, but it's a panoramic picture of Balmorhea State Park.
(My new phone can take panoramas)

Resting in the shade after some serious grass running.


Again, I captured a ton of really good video, but I have no way to get it up to my blog. I promise, as soon as I’ve figured out a way, I will post all of the old video and get caught up, either with one epic movie or a page featuring lots of tiny little ones. 

River loves running into and out of the water, as long as he can feel the bottom with his feet. We played there for about half an hour, and at one point, we had to stop so I could remove burrs from his paws. 

Then we got back in the car and headed north. 



There was some serious vast emptiness on today's and yesterday's drives. Today I finally got a taste of something I'd been wanting to experience for a long time: the long, straight road flanked by nothing but flat land as far as the eye could see. Today, heading north from west Texas to New Mexico, I got that. I have to say, "I'm sorry Montana, but Texas makes even you look small."

As we drove over the state line, the speed limit dropped from 80 down to 65. It was as if New Mexico was saying, "OK... all right, slow down now.  Where do you think you are, in Texas?! Here in The Land of Enchantment, we drive at sensible speeds."
I was really missing Starbucks. At Motel 6, they offer crap coffee for free, that I don’t even bother to drink. And some of them offer hot water for making my own coffee, and some don’t. This one didn’t. Nor was there a Starbucks in town which is usually my Plan B. So by this time, it was after noon and inquiries of Siri and my Mini Nav both told me that there were no Starbucks within a decent distance. 

So I had to stop at a Sonic Drive-In, which was literally the only thing that I could find that sold food, besides convenience marts. The coffee reminded me of Ralph’s Grocery Store generic label instant coffee, but it had caffeine so I drank it. 

I stopped at a local park when we got to Carlsbad because I was still about ten minutes ahead of check-in time, which is 3pm. So we played at this park, but River was really showing signs of being worn out. I really get to see him be unenthusiastic about running with me in a park. But I’d run and he’d walk slowly behind, letting the gap increase between us. 

At one point, we had to stop so I could remove a burr from his paw.  We’re starting to really not care for the grass around here. Burrs everywhere. What’s up with that?

So we get to the Motel 6 to check in and the clock on the wall says it’s just after 2pm. I forgot to notice that we had passed through a time zone today. Fortunately, they did have a room ready and let us check in and get showered.

Having learned my lesson from Lake Erie, after he spent the afternoon playing in the wetlands, I gave River a sudsy bath first thing. Now he’s clean, soft and slightly lavender scented. I’m not anticipating an itch. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but his Lake Erie itch is now completely gone.

So, I did the dishes and laundry and all sorts of domestic things. A bit later, I’ll wash his 50 foot leash, which drags on the ground through any number of untoward things and can get pretty stinky.

As I was walking to the laundry room, I passed a guy standing out by his truck. There are two propane tanks; one in the bed of his truck and one in the parking space next to his. And there is a big bucket of unshelled peanuts, soaking. There is also a small barbeque type thing. And then when I went back to put the clothes in the dryer, the bucket was empty and there was a fire under the barbeque thing. The guy must be roasting peanuts in the Motel 6 parking lot! This place is always a trip.

And if you judge by the height of the sign, it seems to be the most significant business in all of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Motel 6 lords over Carlsbad, MN
My cooler is empty. So in the next day or so, I’m hoping to find a way to restock it. 
Until then, I’m at the mercy of restaurants and fast food joints. I just spent about an hour trying to find a place to get some Mexican food, but everything looks incredibly run down and/or vacated. The one place that looked the most promising, was actually closed.  So, I’m just going to order some pizza; sometimes it’s not worth the ordeal of tracking down decent food.

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