Eastbound Day 12 – 192 miles – El Paso to Carlsbad Caverns

Wednesday, 6 April 1994

In the morning we go nowhere, when I look under the hood in daylight I decide it’s probably wise to get the cooling problem fixed. My amateur diagnosis is a leaking heater hose and it turns out to be correct. It takes a couple of hours, but only $46.54, to have new hoses fitted.

We follow the Mission Trail to a series of early mission churches outside El Paso before setting off in the early afternoon.

Mt GuadalupePassing Mt Guadalupe, the highest peak in Texas, we cross back into New Mexico and halt at White’s City, the small town nearest to the Carlsbad Caverns. We don’t get to see the touted sunset departure of millions of bats as they haven’t turned up for the summer, they’re still vacationing down in Mexico. We’ve had one bat experience on this trip, however. At Death Valley Kieran and I went into the men’s room and heard what I thought was a large moth fluttering around in the sink. It was a bat and when I tried to help it escape it flew out, bumped into Kieran’s head and flapped out the door.

After dinner that night Maureen and I pondered American coffee. Tea and the British go together yet they can’t make it for beans, ditto for coffee and Americans. OK, there are coffee centres like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco but out in the heartland the coffee is almost always terrible. What makes it worse is the difficulty of getting anything natural to put in it. Maureen and I both like milk in our coffee but almost always the choice in American restaurants is cream (yuk) or various powdered or plastic-containered substances which are probably petro-chemical in origin.