On the road between San Antonio and Fort Stockton Texas, we experienced a very strange feeling. Both of us looked at all of our up to date tech toys; phones, tablets, computer; and we noticed we were OFF THE GRID. The only thing working, thankfully, was the GPS. We all know that GPS does not depend on cell service, rather it depends on visible access to the satellites. I cannot remember the last time we were so far away from ANY cell service. We have been out of range with T-Mobile data, but not out of range for cell service. It felt weird knowing NO ONE could reach us. The CB was active, so I knew if we had any problems, we could contact a trucker for help.
"You picked a hell of a day to forget the camera". Not sure who said it. Don't remember who forgot it. Thankfully, our phones have great cameras.
We knew when we left the campground that the elevator down to the caverns were out of order and we would not be able to descend by foot, (3.5 mile round trip on a 20 degree grade). We still went to the National Park and checked out the visitor center to get a feeling of the park. Not the same as going to the caverns, but fun nonetheless.
As we were getting ready to leave, we noticed a sign for a 'scenic drive'. The sign was very ominous: "Trail Not Maintained", "High Clearance Vehicles ONLY", etc. Of course the sign did not scare me and my F450.
The trail was 9.5 miles long and started out at the top of a ridge along a valley. G'ma was a gamer, especially when I was getting close to the edge of the drop off. (Interesting side note about duallys: they are longer and wider then a Jeep). I did have to put it in four wheel drive after a short bit. With the rear tires being highway tires, there was a bit of 'slippage' on the gravel. After about 5 miles, the trail took a severe right hand switch back with a 10 degree drop as it headed down into the valley. I was off-roading and enjoying every minute of it.
Side Note: By this point, we had noticed that National Parks come in two varieties: "Drive Thrus" and Non Drive Thrus". Some National Parks have nothing but 'trail accessible' attractions, whereas some Parks you can drive thru and see the sights you came to see. The Park Rangers are very helpful at the gate or visitor center when they see senior citizens and tell you right up front that we cannot drive to the attraction. Carlsbad Cavern was both. You have to walk to the Cavern, but you can drive the trail to enjoy the Park.
|Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns|
|Something like 500,000 bats call Carlsbad their home. Here are just a few of them bronzed for this display|
|Here is one of the signs at the beginning of the trail. Please note the 'Loop'|
|G'ma trying to look calm|
|That road over there? About 100 lower than the road we are on.|
|How the trail looks on the GP an' S'er|
|Some of the other scenery at Carlsbad|
See ya soon