Thoroughly cooked by the parabolic dish of White Sands National Monument, the Ricks climbed out of Alamogordo as fast as their little bikes could take them. Climbing up to over 8000 feet brought them back to a land of pine trees and 70 degree temperatures. The town itself was also very quaintly western.
We also took a second to drive by and check out another New Mexico ski resort, ski Cloudcroft.
Unfortunately this would be the last pleasant weather the Ricks would see on their motorcycles in the US. The high country near Cloudcroft drops continuously as one travels east, down into the lowlands once more. Persistent thunderstorms limited the maximum temperature, but the humidity was relentless.
Traveling south east the Ricks decided to stop at one last National Park, and the last public land to camp on, right outside Carlsbad Caverns National Park. A relentless wind blew off the desert of West Texas.
Starting early, the Ricks left their bikes and most of their riding gear in the parking lot, paid their $10, and began descending into the earth.
We strolled alongside old people and children, down a path that would have impressed MC Escher, further and further into the earth, eventually traveling 800 feet down over 2 miles.
Eventually the path flattened and we entered the main cavern.
After walking another 5 miles around a massive cavern, winding through every nook and cranny, we came across a very out of place elevator.
We then used this elevator to exit the cave, jumped on our bikes and subsequently exited the National Park. Over the next several hours we entered Texas, drove past conga lines of fracking trucks, oil fields, large white pickups with the exact same cattle guards on them, and did not take a single picture. We were so focused on getting to Austin that unfortunately we did not take the time to stop and share with you, dear reader, what West Texas REALLY looks like. You will just have to find out for yourself. We did take this next photo of Central Texas, as our best available description of the conditions.
Within spitting distance (by Texas standards) of Kit’s families ranch house, we finally made a few stops along the way. Gas stations began to look like this:
and we passed several towns mentioned in classic Country-Western songs:
The roads continued to cut the shortest way possible
Until we finally ended up at the ranch house.
After a fantastic home cooked fajita meal, and a drive in Kit’s Grandparent’s car, the US leg of the World Wide Ricks came to a close.