Saturday, May 21, 2011

THE TRIP: PART ONE


May 8--Sunday: Our trip begins. We wanted a quick start so we both went to bed very early on Saturday. By 1:00 in the morning, we were up. By 3:00 we were on the road. We made it to Glen Rose, Texas in early afternoon and immediately went to Dinosaur National Park. To get to the dino footprints, you had to negotiate a rather precarious series of rocks through a stream, so Lana entrusted me with one of her cameras and I crossed to take pics. There were two main sets, one of a bipedal three toed carnivorous dinosaur (not T-Rex), and another of a four legged herbivore (similar to a brontosaurus). The three-toed ones were especially cool and I got pics and got back across the water safely. Lana said they looked good. Unfortunately, she downloaded these pics to her laptop that night and the laptop fried itself the next day so the images were lost. (We’ll take the laptop to a computer expert to see if he can perform a rescue.)

We’d also planned to stop at the “Creation Evident Museum,” on the same road leading to the dinosaur prints, but it was closed that day (and most days it appears). Turned out this wasn’t the museum I was thinking of. It was a tiny place and not the major creationist museum I’ve read about. If you’re wondering why I wanted to visit, it’s not because I believe in the nonsense that the world is only 6000 years old and that the dinosaurs drowned in Noah’s flood, but because I’m working on a book on the subject and felt this would be good research material. I doubt I missed much considering the size of the place.

When in Texas, I either eat Mexican or Country Fried Steak. We found a nice little Mexican place and I had the taco plate, which was quite good. The salsa was just spicy enough. Our hotel was cheap and comfortable, although our concierge didn’t seem to care much whether we were alive or dead. Lana and I had some laughs over that. And Day 1 was over.

May 9--Monday: Day 2 did not go terribly well, although it started nicely. There were ruins of some old stone buildings just behind our hotel and Lana got great pictures, including a group of twelve or so buzzards roosting in a tree above one of the ruins. The synchronicity pleased us both. We then drove down along the river that flows through Glen Rose and that area was very lovely. We stopped at a place called Big Rock Park, with huge boulders embedded in the ground along the stream, and Lana got more pics. We saw a fair amount of wildlife as well. Lana put a filter on over one of her lenses but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get it off again. We stopped at a local hardware for some tools, but one fellow there who seemed to know something about cameras and have very large hands was able to get the filter off for us.


Then we drove through West Texas into New Mexico to the town of Carlsbad. The drive was long, through very flat, dry land with lots of mesquite. We saw the marks of multiple fires. We also saw some big dust devils, larger than I’d ever seen before, and a lot of slag heaps of dirt and gravel piled up. It wasn’t a pretty area. We did sight our first longhorns. One other good thing was seeing some large fields of wind turbines set up to generate power. This was a great place for them considering how the wind never ceased.


The town of Carlsbad was a disappointment. About half of it seemed to be torn up for road work, and we looked in vain for a good local restaurant. We finally ate at a place that claimed to serve the town’s best Mexican and Chinese food. I had Mexican, Lana had Chinese. Neither claim was correct, and Lana had a memorable quote about the place’s atmosphere. She said, “if that place had any atmosphere, it would be suicidal.” We got most of our food to go, so as not to be rude, but I tossed it in the garbage later. Our hotel looked nice from outside but the inside had clearly seen better days. Still, it was comfortable enough. If Lana’s laptop hadn’t fried we’d have probably considered the day to be decent.

Once the computer died, though, I decided we were going to buy her another one at Best Buy. Carlsbad didn’t have a Best Buy so we went to Wal-Mart, but we didn’t like anything there so we ended up buying more memory cards for Lana’s cameras and figured we’d wait till we got home to download the pics. Neither of us was feeling all that well so we hoped this day was going to be an anomaly on our trip. Turned out it was.
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36 comments:

David J. West said...

The one thing I remember about Glen Rose (not having actually been there) is I heard they had fossils that look like human footprints beside dino prints-I would have liked to have heard your first hand opinion on that and what they looked like.

The Golden Eagle said...

Dinosaur National Park sounds like a cool place!

I'm sorry to hear your second day didn't go so well.

Enjoyed the pictures you posted!

Randy Johnson said...

To bad about the computer and the bad food. The rest of your report sounds good though.

Enjoyed the look-in.

laughingwolf said...

crappy food and service tend to make life miserable, esp. on the road!

likely made you both feel ill :(

pity the laptop fried, hope stuff on the hard drive can be salvaged...

at least texas meals were edible and scenery worthwhile

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Trusting, from your final note, that the rest of the trip was much better.

In the lemonade from lemons dept., there has got to be a haiku about dinosaur photos evaporating into the technological ether ...

jodi said...

Charles, what a mixed bag of tricks you two ran into, but that's what makes an adventure!
Looking forward to the rest of the story!

David Cranmer said...

I've always wanted to see a dinosaur print.

Charles Gramlich said...

David J. West, David, I actually did look for those because of the claim. I saw the hole that has most often been cited as a human footprint and it has the shape, without any definition of toes, but is almost two feet long, meaning it would have had to be a truly giant human being. From what I can tell and what I've heard, it's just an erosion hole. It's sort of like how humans see faces in eroded rock. The other so called human prints don't look anything like human prints to me. They're rounded and I would figure them to be an animal, probably a four legged dinosaur with short toes. that's what the museum there claims them to be. I hope we'll be able to get those photos back.

Golden Eagle, I'm hoping we'll get those pics back.

Randy, things got much better for the most part after that.

Laughingwolf, yes indeed. It's just one more negative thing I guess.

Don, lol, great idea for a haiku. I'll see what I can do.

Jodi, everything else is really good, except for one hotel.

David, I'm sick about losing those photos. But maybe we'll be able to recover them.

Steve Malley said...

Purely selfish: I'm looking forward to a fresh batch of Gramlich Westerns from this trip!

And of course, once you write those stories and offer them for sale (not that I'm hinting or anything) you can write big chunks of the trip off on your taxes-- it's research. :)

Also, sounds pretty bloody amazing!

Sidney said...

Sounds like a good trip!

Ty Johnston said...

Charles, sounds like an interesting trip. Sorry about the bad restaurant, the inside of the hotel room the computer woes. At least you got to see some great sights, and sounds as if the rest of the trip was better.

By the way, if you're talking about the creationism museum that's been in the news the most (at least the news I've seen), it is unfortunately in my home state of Kentucky. Never been. Don't plan to.

And, in the photo with this post, is that a percussion Colt or Remington tucked in your belt? And is it an original or one of the modern replicas (firing or non)? I would normally guess a Colt because they are generally more common, but something about the shape of the revolver spoke "Remington" to me, though it is difficult to tell because of the shadows in the photo.

Deka Black said...

what a end for the day :( But yousaw dinosaur footprints, that's cool indeed ^^.

I never saw one, and btw, the pic of you would make a good cover ;)

Chris said...

Wow, a Chinese/Mexican restaurant. What a combination! We visited a similar one in Panama; pretty fun.

I love road trips, and I love staying in slightly seedy roadside motels. Funny how my attitudes for personal trips are much different from my attitudes on work trips.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Off to a good start - blogging about it, anyway.

I've heard of Chinese/Mexican/Foreign-Cuisine combos before. I never know if I want to trust them.

Believe it or not, there is a place here in western Massachusetts that has dinosaur prints. But, it's not a public park it's sort of a tacky private operation. The prints are real, though. I drove by once but they weren't open, haven't made the effort to try again.

Richard Prosch said...

Great tale -enjoying the narrative much. That first photo is priceless --you must use that as a book/story cover!

Sphinx Ink said...

I'm enjoying the travelogue. Keep 'em coming! Glad you and Lana had a good time.

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, the writing juices are sure flowing. I did keep some records for tax purposes as well.

Sidney, definitely. I started reading your newest on my Kindle on the trip.

Ty Johnston, I think the Kentucky museaum is the one I was thinking of. You've got a good eye for weaponry. I didn't want to carry my real pistol with me so I bought a non-firing percussion replica for the trip. It looks pretty good, though. It's supposed to be a replica of an 1860 Army Colt, but it isn't exact. It has the brass backstrap of the Colt 1851 Navy, and a butt that looks more like a Remington than a Colt, but it generally looks pretty cool and feels right.

Deka Black, thankee. The dinosaur prints were indeed amazing.

Chris, There'll be a couple more seedy hotels showing up on our trip, particularly one in a town called St. Johns.

Paul R. McNamee, there are a number of those "fusion" places springing up around here. But this one had two separate menues. Chinese on one and Mexican on the other. Crazy. You might enjoy those prints.

Richard Prosch, thankee. It might turn out to be just such a cover.

Sphinx Ink,we sure did, and I should be there Monday night to talk more about it.

Natasha Fondren said...

Oh! I wish you'd gone! I don't believe in it, either, but it totally fascinates me that some people believe Jesus rode on dinosaurs!

Chris said...

Wait. Jesus didn't ride on dinosaurs?! Please. Next thing you'll try and say he didn't shoot lasers out of his eyes either.

Akasha Savage. said...

That sounds like such a cool trip. Wish we had something like that here to visit. I love dinosaurs!

Charles Gramlich said...

Natasha Fondren, I do still want to visit the big one some day.

Chris, no, you're thinking of GOD-zilla, man.

Charles Gramlich said...

Akasha, I hope we will get those pics back

Carole said...

I enjoy this journey. You do well telling it. Buzzards above the ruins. Nice.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Cloudia said...

remember to format those cards!



Warm Aloha from Waikiki

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X. Dell said...

(1) Despite your experience--and presumably sour stomach afterwards--what if the advertising were actually true? What if it is the best Chinese/Mexican restaurant in town?

(2) Sorry to hear about Lana's laptop. That's gotta be a huge pain in the can to find someway of getting what's on her hard drive into safe storage.

(3) BTW, the Creation Museum you're probably thinking of is this one, located in Petersberg, KY. That's near Cincy. So if your research brings you up here, I can take you to more lousy Mexican and Chinese restaurants.

ivan said...

Hate to say it, but the abysmal igorance of the creationists!

What a sales job.

Maybe I'm a frustrated CC rider myself on the preaching circuit.

My last resume had my career objective as demagogue.

Shoot 'em the shit:



Jesus not only wrangled dinosaurs,he also saved his money at the Bank of Montreal here.

Charles Gramlich said...

Carole, yeah, it was cool. A whole bunch of them just flying in and out of one tree. If I were a supernatural believing man....

Cloudia, she's got 'em all downloaded by now. Over 2000 pics.

X. Dell, that could well be since we didn't try any other mexican and/or chinese restaruants. carlsbad had amazingly few decent places to eat. Yeah, I think the KY one is the one I was thinking of. I may take you up on that some day.

ivan, Jesus was Canadian? Wow.

Barrie said...

I'm so sorry Lana's computer fried! That's happened to me twice; it's so frustrating. Thank you so much for posting about your trip. I love reading the details.

Lana Gramlich said...

Despite possibly losing the photos from day 1, I'm sure glad it didn't happen on day 10, y'know? I would have been heartbroken.
Carlsbad's definitely past it's prime. Kind of sad, considering how AWESOME the caverns were!

Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, we're still hoping for a fix.

Lana, yes, the town itself really left a lot to be desired.

Merisi said...

Crossover food can be quite interesting, but Mexican-Chinese aroused my suspicions as soon as I read it. Sorry you guys had to actually suffer through (part of) it.

If it is any comfort, on one of my Rome trips I lost hundreds of pictures when I tried to upload them to an external hard drive. Hard drive kaputt, pictures gone for good. And I had been so happy about the gorgeous golden light that suddenly appeared after I thought the sun had already set. For a few moments the cloud bank in the west lifted just enough to let the last golden rays through. i have never seen Rome so beautiful, and I lived there for almost a decade. My new camera has two card slots. Amen.

Charles Gramlich said...

Merisi, Lana has plenty of memory cards now so we shouldn't have that problem again.

Erik Donald France said...

Cool stuff. That ruin is really sharp -- Glen Rose makes me think of the Comanche Peak nuclear plant and moonshine wars.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, the ruin was very cool. It was almost like a perfect 'outline' of a building, with no wood or anything else. just the decorated stone.

Travis Cody said...

Off to a bit of a wobbly start eh? But at least you were out on the road and together.

I've been to Carlsbad once and I don't have any real memories of it.

Jodi MacArthur said...

Hey Charles,
I'm just catching up from some busy-ness here. Your dinosaur foot pics sound so cool! I hope you can get them off the fried laptop. I can so relate to your experience in Carlsbad. It's a lame town! Although I hear the caverns are cool, but never made it there. I lived in Roswell for about a year, much more exciting. New Mexico actually has some interesting features, but you have to *know* where to look. It's like smashing open a rock to find the crystals. I'll be catching up with your posts over the next few days. ;-)