Southern States Tour – Day 19

Day 19 Route
Day 19 Route

The weather was sunny and warm, with temperatures ranging from 55 this morning to the high 80’s this afternoon.

Day’s distance: 92 miles
Total trip distance: 3,510 miles

Today was a rest day. My only scheduled activity on the bike was to visit Carlsbad Caverns.

I was awakened several times in the early morning by vehicles leaving the park. We’re talking just after 4am. I managed to fall back asleep to have another vehicle drive by the tent area where the exit is on this side of the park. I will have to move my tent before crashing tonight – there is plenty of room.

I took off a little after 7am and headed for The Blue House Bakery & Cafe. It is on a side street and looks like a well-kept private home.

The Blue House Bakery & Cafe in Carlsbad, NM
The Blue House Bakery & Cafe in Carlsbad, NM

The latte and muffin was very good but the croissant stole the show. Highly recommended. I’ll be stopping by again tomorrow morning on my way out of town. 🙂

The Caverns are about 20 miles south of Carlsbad. It didn’t take long with the generous speed limits outside of towns here in New Mexico.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad Caverns, NM

I spent roughly three hours total there. The cave was the biggest I’ve seen, by far.

I walked down through the ‘Natural Entrance’, as opposed to the elevator, which I used to exit the cavern.

Natural Entrance, Carlsbad Cavern, NM
Natural Entrance, Carlsbad Cavern, NM

I considered the guided tour, which covers an additional and more decorative part of the cavern, but I didn’t want to be part of a large group. It was the right choice as I encountered the group later – it was approximately 80 people 🙁

I followed the entire self-guided path, some 2.25 miles. My boots were comfortable to walk in, though that is about the limit. I changed from my riding pants to a pair of jeans in the men’s room prior to entering the cave. I used my cable lock to secure the riding pants, jacket, and helmet to the bike. Since my camp was still set up, I used the top case to secure my tank bag, minus the camera.

Most of the formations in the cave were no longer ‘living’, which is a bit disappointing. I’ll try to put together a slide show at some point in the near future.

I asked a park ranger for lunch recommendations. I was sent to Junior’s in Carlsbad for Mexican. It was good and plentiful. Another recommend if you’re in the area. Be warned, it doesn’t look like much from outside.

Tomorrow I’ll be entering Texas, intending at this time to camp at Chisos Basin. I don’t expect internet connectivity so my next post may be Sunday.

Time to eat and maybe jump in the pool once more before it closes. I do live a charmed life 🙂

One thought

  1. I loved the caves at Carlsbad Caverns, though I was there in ’87. Too bad you couldn’t stay for the bat spiral out of the cave at dusk. Sounds like Carlsbad was a great stop along your way.

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