I pull into Carlsbad late afternoon, and drive to the Caverns park. There’s a large sign as you enter telling the last entrance times for cave tours. Sadly… I’m a bit late in the day for the tours I want to take, and I have to board the dog due to cold weather. I decide to wait until the next day to get it all done. I drive around the city of Carlsbad for a few hours, burning time and fuel, waiting for dark to hit so I can go park for the night. For some reason, there isn’t a single coffee shop still in business in Carlsbad. I feel lost.
I spend a cold night in the truck. It gets down between two and five degrees that night. It snows. I wake up to a white walmart parking lot. I let the truck run to melt some of the ice, I pack up the truck, and drive out to the park, hoping to be the first one in at eight o’clock. I pull up to a ‘Road Closed’ sign, and a truck with two park rangers sitting in it. They get out and tell me that the park isn’t open yet because of the snow storm, nobody has been able to make it into work yet. It will probably be two hours before they open. I opt to wait… I don’t have anything else to do.
A few hours go by, they say it looks like an eleven o’clock opening now. Finally, about ten forty five, another ranger shows up. The park is closed for the day, they aren’t going to open.
BUMMER. Oh well, life goes on. I help a guy in a nearby RV park jump start his truck, and then I’m on my way south, blowing through small town after small town. It’s too cold to be out of the truck for long. A few minutes to let the dog pee, a few minutes to gas up, then sit next to the heater vent waiting to thaw out. The truck picks up a few pounds of ice, I hear it chunking off every time I go over a bump, then building back up again:
The week hubs get interesting sculptures on them:
As do the window sills:
I hit texas, hoping for something a bit warmer, I am disappointed:
I stop in the cute town of Marfa, TX, it’s little, and artsy, but it’s just about shut down due to cold. I go to the one coffee shop in town. They are about to close, but they do have WIFI, so I sit looking at weather forecasts and chatting with the barista for the few minutes before they lock the doors. I head just south of town and pull off the road for the night. Accuweather.com says –1 for the night, before wind chill – and it’s windy. I’m rocked to sleep hugging the dog tight, with four layers of clothes on, a sleeping bag, and a comforter. It is the coldest I have ever been.
I wake up, eventually get the truck started, and roll out. My destination today is Big Bend national park.