We said goodbye to Alpine and the Maverick Inn and headed in the general direction of Telluride, Colorado, though we took our time about it.
Just north of Alpine is the McDonald Observatory, perched on a hill.
We spent the day driving to Carlsbad, New Mexico so I could see Carlsbad Caverns (the caverns are a sensitive eco niche and dogs can hardly get out of the car in the parking lot, let alone visit the attraction itself).
I stopped by the Caverns to scope it out and ask for advice on the best time to visit. The ranger on duty told me to arrive as close to opening as possible. That sounded pretty smart as it allowed me to leave Chico in the car during the cool morning hours. It was projected to be 70 degrees by afternoon, and that’s getting to the top end of where I feel safe leaving Chico in a car – at least one that I can’t leave wide open like I do at an agility trial. After my stop to advance the gig, I checked us in to a motel (oh, which chain of cheapies was it?) in Carlsbad, NM and we took a walk around the neighborhood before dinner. The next morning, after a nice talk about rescue dogs with the front desk attendant, we headed out, arriving at the caverns just after opening time.
That is the original entrance, noticed because in summer thousands of bats that live inside fly out at sunset. In the 1880s a cowboy finally went down inside, with a lantern.
This is a real wonder of nature. My pictures don’t do it justice, but I was there, and this is the digital realm, so I’ll share.
I spent two or two and a half hours in the caverns and left feeling that I had seen something very special.
On the way out, there’s a little loop road through a canyon, so we took it. We encountered a momma deer and her babies.
After so long in the car, I thought Chico deserved a romp. The animal shelter we’d heard about was on our way back to town, so I stopped by. Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter is a nice place, and they had lots of doggies there looking for homes (oh, that little wire-haired dachshund with too long legs…he looked at me and said he was special and I wouldda scooped him in a second if it was a reasonable idea), so I gave them some of Chico’s bully sticks and a couple toys he’d won at the trial in Belton; and asked if there was a dog park in town.
It’s not the first time I’ve said this, a dog park with other dogs is, for Chico and thus for me, torture. So this was a score. Fifteen minutes walking the perimeter, pooping, chasing tail and toys and everybody felt better.
It was a calm evening, involving laundry and playing ‘catch this treat’ and some TV.
The next day’s goal was a motel in Cortez, Colorado, staging us for a visit to the Four Corners (where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah touch) and a drive through Mesa Verde.
This involved more lovely western scenery,
passing through Roswell, NM
and a lunch stop in Santa Fe.
I had the lamb burger, dolled up as a green chile cheeseburger:
And then we were on the road again, lookin’ for gas and a pee stop for Chico. Eventually, we accomplished both missions. Santa Fe confuses me. That’s all I’ll say.
This motel had a nice field behind the parking lot where a guy could run off leash and poop off in the deep bushes. Chico thought it was just fine and I slept well.