(I got to meet a blogging friend in real life! Oh, but that's not 'til the end. I'm getting ahead of myself...)
Day 7: It rained cats and dogs so we hit up a local museum about the explorers, and ships that first came to the area. Here's the most memorable part of the museum:
I will NEVER take toilet paper for granted again!
No wonder over 300 of the 410 people on the boat died of disease before they even reached the new land. Once on shore, the survivors were promptly attacked by Indians and only two members of the ship survived: a priest and a slave. That's a high price to pay for exploration, folks!
Day 8: We left the Island and drove the entire day until we reached Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Day 9: We toured Carlsbad Caverns! That was a really neat experience. We entered through the natural opening, and hiked several miles inside the cave. In the evening, people sit in the amphitheater at the mouth of the cave to witness the flight of thousands of bats.
Once inside, the first part of the cave smells strongly of bat guano, which was mined for fertilizer in the 1920's and 30's.
When we passed that chamber, the air clears up, and there is a transfer of air that feels like air-conditioning. With a temperature of 53 F degrees year round, and a 90% humidity level, it was rather pleasant in the cave.
After hiking deep into the cave and seeing everything, an elevator takes you up 750 feet back to the top.
After lunch, we continued our drive toward home, with one very special stop! As chance would have it, we were traveling directly through the stomping grounds of one of my fellow blogging friends, Jennifer from Cow Camp Tales! We have been blog friends for a while and finally got to meet in real life!
My family was travel weary, smelling like bat guano, and my hair was awful from the humidity in the cave, but none of that mattered. I was about to meet one of my blogging friends!
Jennifer and her family were just as nice and down to earth as I thought they would be. Our husbands got to know each other while we chatted about everything under the sun. Her kids are just precious! We got to meet some of her family, see her husband's gorgeous saddle that's almost finished, and go out for frozen yogurt. I just wish we lived closer so we could hang out more, and not just type through a computer screen. When you follow a blog, you get to see snippets of life from far away places, but it's not the same as seeing friends in real life. You can't hear a voice or see mannerisms in pictures, and you can't laugh together. That's the best part of friendship. We couldn't stay very long because we still had another 6 hours of driving ahead, but I'm sure glad we made the stop!
My blogging friends are awesome, and I wish I had the chance to meet every one of you!
With nearly 50 hours on the highway, and over 3,000 miles on the rental car, we pulled into our driveway late that night. We had a fabulous trip and made lots of great memories with good friends.
Still Sporting my Island Tan,