Tag Archives: adventure

Living in the “Land of Enchantment”(NM): Carlsbad Caverns

Aaron and Paula standing at the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

Aaron and I at the Cave entrance, about to descend 750 feet into the ground!

In 2014, Aaron and I took a trip down to visit Carlsbad Caverns in the SE part of the state. It’s a 4 1/2 hour drive down to Carlsbad, NM from Albuquerque. We had both been there several times as kids but never as adults.

Rather than stay in Carlsbad, we stopped off in Cloudcroft for the night. We love that little town in the middle of southern New Mexico at the top of the mountains. It’s name is very fitting as the clouds often get stuck at the 8,600′ elevation. Carlsbad is another 2 hour drive past, but it’s well worth the stop over. Especially in the summer, as the temps up in Cloudcroft are usually 20 degrees cooler than down in the scalding high desert sun!

Aaron’s family has a close connection to the small New Mexico town with a population of 674 (2010). His grandfather and uncles built a cabin there in the 1960s and the cabin has stayed in the family ever since. We have visited the cabin regularly for 20 years. We’ve always enjoyed hiking in the warm months and snow tubing in the winter. There are several nice campgrounds and a historic Lodge too. Even if you don’t spend the night, I highly recommend stopping in a Mad Jack’s BBQ for some of THE best BBQ you will ever have!

descending into the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Descending into the main entrance of the cave. Though it looks scary, there is a paved, somewhat flat path leading into the cave.

The next day we headed out for Carlsbad. It’s funny when you go back to a place you haven’t been since you were a kid. You know how everything seems smaller? That didn’t happen at Carlsbad Caverns! I cannot imagine what I must have thought of this place as a little kid. The big room, is BIG!

cave formation in the big room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

One of the many large scale formations in the big room.

It’s quite a downhill walk into the caverns, the good news is, there is an elevator at the bottom if you don’t feel ambitious enough to walk up and out. According to the website, the elevator is currently not working, but should be working again by May 31st.

We spent several hours walking around and exploring all the alien landscapes of the tremendous Caverns. I took well over 200 hundred photos, that I still haven’t edited! The few I’ve shared here are my favorite picks.

underground pool of water in Carlsbad Caverns

underground pool, there is water deep in the ground, even when the surface is a dry desert.

It’s impossible to get across the majesty of this place in words or photos. You simply have to see it for yourself. It’s like seeing the Grand Canyon in a photo, a camera flattens the image. I wish I could have captured it, but it’s nature’s beauty, it cannot be captured.

Giant stalagmites in the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Giant stalagmites in the Big room

It is well worth the trip into the desert of eastern New Mexico! Any time of the year is good too, as the temperature in the Caverns stays in the high 50s year round. Follow one of the links I’ve provided for more information on Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad, NM and Cloudroft, NM.

One of the muddy textures in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

One of the muddy textures in the Caverns

 

 

 

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3, 2, 1….

photo of our view of Albuquerque from our neighborhood park

Our favorite view of Albuquerque, from our neighborhood park, Pat Hurley Park.

The countdown is almost over! In two days we will be pulling out of Albuquerque in our vintage Travelmate motor home and embarking on our latest adventure!

The past month has gone by so slowly, yet here we are, about to leave. We had a huge list of things we had to take care of before we could leave for a long absence. There were home repairs and improvements that had to be done so we could rent our house. We had to move all of our belongings that didn’t fit in the RV into storage. There was painting to be done at Chroma Studios. We had chickens to find a new home for. Our two male dogs had to be neutered! Plus, a bunch of other things here and there that popped up.

We do, in fact, still own a business here in Albuquerque. Chroma Studios is still here and going strong. Luckily, for us, it doesn’t take a lot of time to run and our youngest son is looking for experience with managing a business. He is currently enrolled at our local community college, majoring in business. What better way to learn about business than to manage one? He will take care of day to day operations, though we will still oversee everything from afar.

photo of my new painting area in RV

My new space for painting, yes, it’s the table in our RV!

Because we have spent the last month working on preparations for our adventure, we have had to put our music and art businesses on the back burner for the most part. I am so excited to get back to being creative again! It is the one thing that keeps me sane! Let’s just say this past month has been pretty crazy! We did get a few opportunities here and there to be creative, but now, we will be spending ALL our time on our creative endeavors.

I have a new art project to get moving on, we have new songs to write and learn, and of course, I will be blogging regularly about our latest adventures in travel!

Our first stop is a personal one, we will head south on I-25 to Las Cruces, New Mexico to visit with my brother and his wife for about a week before we go west to Arizona. There may also be a stopover in the Gila National Forest for a bit of decompression time, ie peace and quiet away from everything!

My plan/goal is to post a new blog every Tuesday, possibly Thursdays too. If you aren’t already subscribed to my blog, now would be a great time to do so! Stay tuned for more about our adventure! 🙂

The Big Adventure!

I’m not sure if I have talked about our big upcoming adventure here on the blog before. I guess now is a good time for it, seeing as we are only about 2 weeks from heading out!

If you have read my story, you know that I was a very young mom. I started having my sons at the age of 16. Being thrust into motherhood at such a young age had it’s pitfalls, but I prefer to look on the bright side of things. Though life was tough when I was in my late teens and twenties, the good side of that equation is the fact that now my sons are grown and I am still in my early forties!

My husband and I have been dreaming and planning for the eventual empty nest for years. Now that it’s here, we are ready and raring to go! Our youngest son actually graduated from high school just over 2 years ago. We decided to give him a couple of years before we left town.

Here we are now, a motor home sitting in our driveway, all of our belongings packed into storage or the RV, the house is almost completely ready for our tenants and we will be hitting the road in just under 2 weeks if all goes as planned. We still have quite a to do list to accomplish before we can go, but we are getting there!

Many people have misconceptions about exactly what we are up to, so I figured I would get into a bit more detail here on the blog. Traveling is something we have always wanted to do. We are NOT vacationing or even semi-retired though. We are going to be working while we travel. One of the things we couldn’t do when the kids were younger and still in school, was to tour the country with Aaron’s music. My husband, Aaron Lewis, has been a musician for 25 years. He put his career somewhat on hold all these years. Any musician will tell you that the only way to get your name out there and build a fan base is to tour, regularly. We have made a few trips here and there, but now we are putting our whole hearts into it! Now that Aaron and I are also performing as a duo, we have even more reason to tour.

Another thing we plan to spread around the country is my art work. When I first started out as an artist, over 20 years ago, we would travel around and sell my prints at various shops, galleries, etc. This was before the internet made selling art a bit easier. Even with the internet however, it’s still better to get out in person, visit the galleries I would like to place my art with and connect in person, face to face.

The most important aspect of this adventure is getting out in the world, meeting with fans and friends face to face! We look forward to meeting lots of wonderful people out there on the road, making new lasting friendships and memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We are taking our music and art with us and will continue to create new art and music as we go. Stay tuned for updates; blog posts, videos and pictures of our travels.