Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Side Trip - Part II

My first stop in the morning was the Roswell UFO Museum. Roswell is best known for the 1947 Roswell Incident (despite the town trying to re-brand itself as the Dairy Capital of the Southwest) where some debris was allegedly found that was thought to be from an alien spacecraft. Whatever did happen back in July 1947, the Government did a fairly good job of covering it up. Regardless of what really did (or didn’t) occur, I don’t think the general public will ever know. If something was found there, it would be fairly easy for the Government to prove by just showing what was found. However, if nothing did actually happen or nothing was found, how would they prove that? I’m not sure if I believe in intelligent alien life, but our universe is pretty big. Earth is like a drop of water in the ocean in comparison.

In not making a decision, you make a choice; you choose not to make a decision. That was what I had done with my camera and miraculously it had come back from the grave. I just hope it will hold up at least until San Antonio, as chances of getting anything before then are slim.

My main goal for the day was Carlsbad Cavern National Park. I am a fan of spelunking (caving), and had been told that Carlsbad could possibly be the most beautiful in the world. I prefer caves where I can crawl through a narrow passageway and get dirty, but I think the National Park service would have frowned on it if I attempted to do so in their cave. So along the paved cave trail I went. The cave was sizable, although not the longest (Mammoth Cave, Kentucky) or with the biggest cave chamber (Sarawak Chamber, Borneo). But it certainly was an afternoon well spent. What stood out the most for me were the straw stalactites, named so as they look like drinking straws hanging from the ceiling. As far as the most beautiful cave in the world I am not sure. I had seen seem rather exquisite caves in Vietnam, China and Borneo. It was visually intricate and pleasing, but I will reserve judgment as to whether it was the most beautiful.

I was 160 miles from El Paso and had half a tank of gas. I figured “no problem". In the desert, the stretches of emptiness are staggering. On a bicycle I plan ahead and always try to make sure I have enough food and water. In the car though I didn’t think about it. Leave it to Chrysler to invent an engine that eats gas like a V8 and only gives four-cylinder power. Walter Chrysler would be proud. As my drive wore on I had serious doubts as to whether I would make it back to El Paso before running out of gas. I was eager to come over the next hill or around the next bend to see if there was a gas station there. I had passed two places along the way that claimed to have gas, but both were closed. I was literally sweating it out as I even turned off the AC to try and conserve fuel. With 60 miles still to go the fuel light came on. One of the problems with being by yourself is that it gives you too much time to think. My opinion as to whether I would make it to El Paso or not changed by the minute. Climbing a big hill: I won’t make it. If the gauge goes below the “E" a little before running out of gas I can make it. Why is there a traffic light in the desert? And why is it red? I’m not going to make it. Surely there has to be something before El Paso, I can probably make that. I have had more drama in the car than on the bicycle. At least on a bicycle I don’t have to worry about running out of gas.

The gas gauge hung tough when it hit “E" and I made it to a suburb of El Paso where I could fill up, but just barely. There is no way I would have made it to El Paso proper without filling up. That’s my final answer.

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