For the drive back east we decided to take a little different route than we had taken going west.
Since we were leaving from Phoenix we headed to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, to do a little cavern hiking. Little did we know that the six hour drive would turn into an eight hour drive due to a wind storm, sand storm and torrential thunderstorm we encountered. Not the mention the border patrol point we had to make it through out in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. With white knuckles we made it to the entrance to the park just around midnight and settled in to the only lodging in the area, an old motel. Not exactly the best night of the trip, but since we had to be up early the next day to see the caverns and make it to our next stop, we were up early and on our way.
The caverns were an interesting experience.
You can enter through the walk in entrance or you can take an elevator straight down. I tried to do the walk in entrance, but my claustrophobia took over and I had what you could call a minor panic attack. So, Alan did the walk in while I waited at the elevator and gave it a try that way.
Once inside the view was amazing.
There are 117 known caves and they were all formed from sulfuric acid dissolving the surrounding limestone.
I was glad I visited the caverns, but I've never been so glad to see the light of day when I got back up!
From there we drove to Austin. And again we had horrible weather. Torrential rain, hail and flooding made the drive much longer than it needed to be and we wondered if we would actually make it to Austin for the night. But we finally did, we got unloaded and headed to dinner. Thanks to the weather many restaurants were closed, but we found a Thai place that was actually open, despite being half flooded. We had been craving good Thai food since our return from Thailand and this place did not disappoint.
We enjoyed Austin. Spent time wondering the downtown area, had our fill of breakfast tacos, visited with an old friend and enjoyed walking along the river. Deciding we would definitely like to return for more time in Austin.
Thanks to horrible summer storms that were following us we decided to skip our next planned stop, New Orleans, and head for Atlanta.
We spent our last night in Jackson, MS and then finally made the final drive into Atlanta.
It was 16 days, 5000 miles, 12 states, 3 National Parks and 1 amazing trip we will never forget.