Saturday, May 21, 2011
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.