I have certainly been on the move a lot over the past few days. Texas is BIG so I’ve been doing a lot of driving each day, but I’ve been trying to do it in evening hours so I can be at my destination for the morning activities. It’s working out well so far (as I sit in Deming, NM in order to be that much closer to Tucson, AZ).
As mentioned in the previous post I spent most of July 5 driving to Houston. What is there to do in Houston, you ask? Why, the Space Center, of course! I spent about 4.5 hours there, exploring the various exhibits, looking at the artifacts of the space program (including a used Gemini capsule, the 747 that was used to test and transport space shuttles, and one of only two used Falcon Heavy rockets on display in the world). There were so many people there – I’m glad I got there on the earlier side. Oh, I also got to touch a 3.8 billion year old moon rock! So cool. My one criticism: they contrasted Earth and Mars in one exhibit by saying Earth does not have an elliptical orbit and Mars does, when in fact both do.
I spent the rest of the day drivintg to San Antonio. On route, I got a chance to experience Buc-ee’s in all it’s glory. I still am hesitant to agree that it is the #1 convenience store in the country because it’s more like a mini-Walmart with way better food.
In San Antonio I spent two hours visiting the Alamo, which I learned is spanish for Cottonwood. There was a lot of great historical explanations of what happened between Spain, Mexico, and the early United States. I reminisced about watching the Davy Crockett VHS my Dad bought us years prior. I took an audio tour that was totally worth the $9 price tag. And I was happy to have brought my umbrella because it rained on and off. Then I drove off towards New Mexico!
Today I visited both Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Parks. They are both amazing. Despite not having a reservation I was still able to buy a ticket at Carlsbad Caverns for a 9:30am entry. I went down the elevator and explored the ‘Big Room.’ It is MASSIVE. So many awesome stalactites, stalagmites, and other speleothems (look it up yourself). Totally worth the $0 I paid because my friends gave me their leftover National Park Pass (totally worth it and I would have paid had I not gotten one for free).
White Sands was also really cool. It is what is says it is: WHITE sand. Interestingly, since it’s made of gypsum, it doesn’t retain heat like the quartz of regular beach sand does. So, when I asked what type of footware to use of the ranger there, she told me barefoot is her preferred method! I spent some time walking around in the 90+ degree heat (drinking plenty of water) and then sledded down the sides of some of the dunes. It would have been more fun had I had more skill. But it was truly a beautiful marvel we have in this country.
Tomorrow, to Tucson, AZ and further points west!