Today ended up being a long travel day. Google says the route we took is approximately 480 miles.
We started off visiting the Carlsbad Caverns. We heard from a number of people that this was a must-see if our route could accommodate it. They were right, it is an amazing place.
The temperature inside the cavern is only 56º, we could have used sleeves but we were comfortable enough.
We were also told that kids under the age of 16 must be kept within and arm's reach at all times. We forgot that rule and let the girls run ahead. We were also asked to keep our voices low because sound really carries in there. But I couldn't get too mad at Tessa for semi-quietly singing like she did in the Morman Tabernacle in Temple Square. She has a lovely voice.
Then we entered Texas.
Tonight was a "free night", no reservations for camping, we would figure it out on the way. We wanted to be open to possibility. Maybe we find a cute town that we want to stop in and enjoy. Or maybe it is super windy and 106º and West Texas doesn't have a lot of cute. It does have a lot of oil wells and oil trucks and flat endless nothingness.
How about instead we go as far as we can towards San Antonio?
Then we stopped for gas and dinner. Yelp showed two promising restaurants in the town of Ozona, however it was Sunday night and both were closed. Jessie went inside the gas station to ask for local advice.
I was out pumping gas, and I needed a lot of fuel so it took a while. This gave the guy on the other side of the pump the opportunity to spark up conversation. Learning I was from Seattle opened the door he needed to discuss the dangers of radiation from the Fukushima plant disaster and that actually radiation is building up around the US so there must be problems at all of our aging nuclear facilities. I realized he had a twinkle in his eye as he spoke. This is a well-practiced conversation for him. I started to suspect he was on a mission. Oh, and good news, he said I may see him more along the road because he is taking the southern route to upstate New York.
This whackadoo is probably a hoot. Thankfully his van does display his web address, so I can reach out if I'm so inclined.
Dinner ended up being a disaster. The server was enjoyable and the place had a funky vibe. But 30+ minutes after we ordered we were still waiting for food while people who arrived after us were well into their meals. The problem is we still had nearly 150 miles left to drive and it was getting close to 8:30pm. We asked for the food to go instead and ate in the RV as we drove. Sadly it was not good.
Then the sun went down and we continued into the night. Goodnight Texas.