An early morning start had Hattivatti and friends out of San Antonio by nine a.m. The car headed west again along I-10 in sunny weather. The first stop was around lunchtime in Menard, a small town with surprisingly good food in the only restaurant that could be found, Sideoats. Then on deeper into West Texas, where the scenery got drier as the temperature climbed higher, hitting a max of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 45 degrees Celsius) in the late afternoon. Together with a hot desert wind, this made being outside of the air conditioned car unbearable.
The amount of oil pumps and towers increased to unbelievable numbers as the trip continued on deep in the oil center of the continental USA. Night was spent at a classic highway motel, the Stagecoach Inn, in Carlsbad, NM. $100 for a large room for 4 persons and a nice refreshing pool with a chance to talk with oil workers was quite an ok deal. Dinner at the YellowBrix again surprised everyone positively. With full stomachs and 8 hours of driving done, it was easy to call it an early night.
The next morning started with breakfast at the Blue House Bakery & Cafe consisted of french toast, stuffed mini croissants and some damn good cups of coffee. Then it was time for some cave exploration at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The cool air and semi-darkness were welcome escapes from the continuing heat and sunshine above ground, and the natural formations of the Big Room were magnificent sights to see.
Then back in the car headed for Roswell, which caused a bit of a disappointment both with the food on offer as well as the lack of alien/ufo-related stuff. Oh well, you can’t always have your expectations surpassed. The trip continued towards Santa Fe with a short detour to the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, where the first stretch of Route 66 was met and driven. Evening was approaching as the car reached the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Santa Fe.
The evening in Santa Fe consisted of dinner at the Tune-Up Café, serving up a mix of Mexican and South American flavors (tasty food once again), and getting up-to-date with emails, Facebook, Finnish news and other random internet stuff since there was an actual functioning wifi at the hotel (the first in a few days).
For breakfast the next morning (an early one again) it was deemed worthwhile to drive south out of town to San Marcos cafe. Breakfast burritos amd apple pie, yummy! Then back towards the north and the Puye Cliff Dwellings, a site of preserved pueblo indian (direct ancestors of the Puye tribe) cliffside buildings. A very interesting place and a good tour guide expanded everyone’s knowledge about the Native Americans. Then the route continued on to the scenic High Road to Taos, where KFC was chosen for lunch. Finally, it was time to leave New Mexico behind and continue on towards Colorado.