DAY 9 June 2,2009

Gasoline prices have been very consistent-not much variation- from city to city in New Mexico. Smiths in Taos, off the highway in Albuquerque, and Sam’s in Roswell.

Roswell was very overpriced for lodging. I stayed at the Budget Inn with a coupon they did not want to honor but chose to when I offered to leave. Artesia might be cheaper??? There is also a beautiful little water park of the main street in Artesia.

Started my day at the Roswell Visitor Center. Then I checked out the Art Museum. Finally, the issue that put Roswell on the map-- The UFO Museum ($5)was very interesting but dense with information.

Apparently, Roswell is also fascinated with VW bugs. The UFO Museum had a diverse collection of toy beetles. Then there was the classic Beetle that adorned the signage for the Hippie Chicks shop.

I grabbed lunch (fish & fries) at Long John Silver's in Carlsbad, NM. YUCK! (greasy and off temperature). Then on to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

I decided to commit to the second to last group entering the natural cave entrance and walking down to the Big Room. They had a ranger on the trail to remind hikers that the trek was strenuous, that we needed to maintain a vigorous pace as a ranger would be following us to shut off the lights for the night, and finally to remind us of the rules of the cavern.

The natural entrance path takes the hiker down a strenuous 800 foot drop into the Big Room. Wow! What an intense walk-especially with the knowledge that it could not be overly leisure because a ranger would be shutting lights off behind us.

I did eat down in the cavern, but it was nothing to get excited about. They have moved the dining facility up to the main area of the visitor center. The underground cafeteria offers a very limited selection. I had been seeing signs for Carizozo Cider for two days, so I decided to give it a try. Wish that I had read the label first, as it turned out to be flavored sugar water for $3. Not my idea of "cider" for sure.

The trip into Van Horn was interesting. Deer and rabbits were everywhere (cottontail and jackrabbits). A turkey vulture was just sitting in the middle of the highway and a javalina was meandering across the highway. I didn't see any humans until I was almost into town (55+ miles of road) now that surely beats hwy 50 for loneliness!

I decided to stop at one of the many inexpensive little places on the main drag through Van Horn, TX. Called home before I even unpacked the car...the Bates had nothing on this place. Decent bed and not horribly dirty, but nothing I would recommend.

ROUTE: US 285 South>US 180/62 South>TX 54 South to Van Horn

Lodging: Dive in Van Horn

Long John Silver's (* Food * Service)
Carlsbad Cavern Underground Cafeteria (*Food/Selection)

Attractions: Roswell Visitor Center, Roswell Art Museum, UFO Museum, Artesia Water Park, Carlsbad Caverns NP, and Guadalupe NP

$$$: $7 Museum $2 Souvenirs $29 Motel $11 Postage $7 Food = $56

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