Vaycayshun! Day one:

Today was fairly awesome. We left the house at about 6:30 AM, and had a great day of driving. No mishaps, we did some reading. Duma Key by Stephen King and it is pretty good so far. I am not a big Stephen King fan, but Jess assures me that this is a good book nonetheless. We shall SEE! Her entire reputation is on the line with me. She is walking razor's edge.

We also heard some Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris on audio book. Amazing stuff, and he is reading it himself. If you have never heard David Sedaris' work, much less performed by himself you are missing a real treat. Just a real treat.

Highlights of the day: stopped at Stillwater station, which is the first of the big west "travel centers" which are like mini truck stop malls complete with a tiny food court and an arcade, and saw an award winning rattlesnake from the "world's largest rattlesnake roundup". Also they had an armadillo with six shooters. We also passed through Midland, former home of former president George W. Bush and his wife I believe. Not much to see. Seriously. They did have some literally palatial construction companies along the highway which makes me thinks that there must be some nice buildings somewhere in that town, but none we could see.

The best thing about today is that we pulled in to Carlsbad around 2:30, and thought, "Heck! We should see the caverns today." And we did. It was amazing. It is truly an indescribably experience and left us completely awestruck. It feels like being on a complete other planet under this one. We were enjoying some great New Mexico landscape complete with deserts and mesas, and then you step into this set from an Indiana Jones movie, which at times looks like a set from an Alien movie. It was amazing. Another great plus was that since we got to see the caverns at the end of the day, we had the opportunity to see the bats exiting the caverns at sunset. We had just enough time to go back to the hotel and check in (more on that later) and head back for the bat program. It was really an experience. For an hour you can watch between 300,000 and 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats swirling silently out of the caverns natural entrance and flying into the distance. It was incredible.

Anywhoo back now at the worlds scariest hotel room (America's Best Value Inn in Carlsbad NM - STAY AWAY) and about to grab dinner. This place is a rat hole. The front desk clerk was very cordial, but the lobby decor was from 30 years ago, and the desk worker's girlfriend was on the Internet in the lobby. After we checked in and our attention was directed to the hand written sign next to the iron six foot tall frog sculptures letting us know that breakfast starts at 5:30 AM, the desk clerk raced to our room before we could, to let the neighbors know that there would be real guests and to keep the noise from the party down. The neighbors are a construction crew who are apparently renting rooms here by the week. They were sitting on the sidewalk drinking.

The room has a few eccentricities. The cardboard window and exposed wiring were a couple. Also it is just seedy. Oh, and this is the most expensive room of the trip. Oh well, enough about that. Here are pictures!