Christmas On The Pecos

Here is Mom's account of their trip to Carlsbad Caverns this week to enjoy the Christmas on the Pecos light show:

We headed out mid-morning, Nov 29th. I didn’t want to deal with morning traffic. She was happy and somewhat excited. I will admit, I have a lead-foot so I use cruise control on the highway. Good thing because the police were running radar in Tijeras Canyon. No problem. I would keep it about 5 mph over the posted limit, well maybe 9mph. As we came back thru Vaughn, I slowed down like I do when it says “reduced speed ahead.” Good thing I follow the speed signs in the towns because their entire police force was out running radar. One man for south bound traffic and the other for north bound traffic. Yes, a 2-man force. I did fine and when we got home Lyn said she was surprised we never got stopped. Ha, not me. Anyway, I said I still wanted to see the hawks and antelope. She laughed at me.

All we saw were LOTS of sheep, cattle and goats. There were a few hawks but nothing like last year. The ride down was a bit depressing since the sky was overcast. We did have sun half way down but as we approached the almost-ghost towns of Encino and Vaughn the clouds were still overhead. BTW, if someone is looking to buy I saw a home in Encino that was an adobe, 3 bdrm 1 bath. The yard was a good size. List price $18,500. Of course there is almost no one living in Encino. Right outside Roswell you can buy 145+ acres for $25,000. What a deal, both places.

OK, so now we’re in Carlsbad and I even know where I’m going. The highway construction from last year is still going on, just on the opposite side of the street. Thought I was back in Albuquerque. We checked into Best Western and relaxed for a while. We were to be at the riverfront by 5pm. So we were there at 4:30. I wanted a chance to look thru the gift shops. I bought myself a birthday present since it was my birthday. I got a lovely, handmade bowl.

We got on the Bella Sera at 5:15 for the first trip down the Pecos. This is the 20th anniversary of this event. The homes were so pretty, so diverse. We saw everything from The Holy Family to Santa to Clifford, the big red dog. Music was coming from of the yards with such beautiful lights. Fortunately, we were able to sit in the front, just like last year. She was happy and relaxed.

We went back to the room and she was able to watch Wheel of Fortune. She began to get nervous because it was now dark and we weren’t home. I did some fast talking about how much fun we had, how pretty the lights were and we were going home in the morning.

Wed, we had breakfast and went back to the riverfront. They had a banner along the chain link fence I wanted to copy. I’m sure you are familiar with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Well, this one is the NM version- such as “On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a quail in a polvadera tree.”

On the way out of town we turned into the Living Desert Park and Zoo. Now, both of us love to visit a zoo wherever we visit another city. This one is built on the north end of Carlsbad and only took about 1.5 hours to go thru. This part of the state is the north edge of the Chihuahua Desert and all the animals are native to the region. We saw cougar, bobcat, lobos (wolves), elk, deer, antelope, rattlesnakes, owls, eagles, ravens and mountain blue jays. They have a bear, Millie, but she wasn’t out. We smelled her!!!! Her talent is painting. They sell the pieces and they were so cute.

Time to head home. We pulled onto 285 and she wanted to put in a CD. She wanted Christmas music. It is too early for that, I think, but oh well. After cruising thru Artesia and stopping in Roswell for gas and a quick sandwich we’re back on track. She put her seat down to take a nap. We did see several herds of antelope. About 50 in all and it was nice to see how fat they are. I’m sure I saw 3 that had my name on them. What I find interesting is that different things look going north on the same street we went south on 24 hours earlier.

I’m glad we did this again. I urge you, if you live in NM, to throw a toothbrush and clean underware into a overnight bag and go down to Carlsbad. It’s beautiful. If you live in England, when you visit a trip to Carlsbad is still on the books for the Caverns.


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