Day 6 of Road Trip Reveals Wonders of Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns and First of Cool-looking McDonald’s

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Carlsbad Cavern's Big Room

We spent our only night in Marfa at the historic Paisano Hotel (built in 1930). James Dean stayed at this hotel during filming of his last movie before he died, the Texas epic "Giant."

The sixth day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip took us westward from Marfa, Texas to the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico as well as to the first of several cool-looking McDonald’s that we will be visiting during our 40-day journey.


The day started with a great, Tex Mex-style breakfast at Marfa’s Cochineal restaurant.  Angela and I both felt that while the food was pricey the restaurant serves the most amazing waffle we have EVER tasted.   As we were getting ready to leave Marfa,

PapiBlogger is interviewed in front of The Big Bend Sentinel newspaper's offices.

we learned that the area’s top weekly paper, The Big Bend Sentinel (circulation 4,000) wanted to interview us for a story about our trip.  Reporter Tom Haines summoned us to the paper’s offices where he interviewed us and took photos of us riding in our 2010 Chevrolet Traverse (the Papimobile).

Chic to Chic: Our Papimobile (2010 Chevrolet Traverse) enjoys a moment in the spotlight of the Prada. Click on this link to see the satellite location of this photo.

Approximately 30 miles west of Marfa, on our way to New Mexico, we ran into one of the most peculiar things we’ve seen yet: a Prada shoe store.  Well, it’s not really a Prada shoe store.  It’s a permanent, $100,000 art installation that was purposely placed in the middle of the wide-open Texas desert in 1986 by Berlin-based artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset because, well, it doesn’t belong there and that’s part of what art does.  Art makes you think about profound things like that.  (Incidentally, two days after it was installed in 2005, the store was broken into and ransacked.   You can read more about it here).


The mountain time zone sign represents the border entering New Mexico from Texas.

As diligent as we were to photograph the welcome sign for the state of New Mexico we couldn’t find one on the route we took west through the Guadalupe Mountain range.  What we did see, however, were the

The Central Time zone is actually also the Texas state line.

time zone markers dividing the western from the central time zones.  Later we learned that the time zone markers, which stand about 30 feet from each other, are also the state lines officially dividing Texas from New Mexico.  We photographed both signs.


The Guadalupe Mountains near the Texas - New Mexico border

During our drive to our Santa Fe, New Mexico destination we originally planned to visit the quirky alien museums of Roswell, New Mexico but as we got closer to the Carlsbad Caverns, the lure of aliens vs. the world renown caverns began to fade.  I had read about the caverns since I was a young boy.

Formation inside the Big Room of Carlsbad Caverns.

With just two hours of  to spare for our budgeted drive to Santa Fe, we detoured to the wonders of Carlsbad Caverns, a family and budget friendly destination at a cost of $6 for adults 16 years and older and free admission for children 15 and younger.

Once you get to the main visitors center, you are transported 700 feet below to the caverns via an elevator.  With a tight schedule like ours all we had time for was the star attraction of the Carlsbad Caverns known as the Big Room.  The Big Room, is a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet (about 1,219 m) long, 625 feet (190.5 m) wide, and 350 feet (about 107 m) high at the highest point. It is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world.


Spaceship McDonald's in Roswell, NM. Click on the image to see a satellite version of the location.

This is the coolest McDonald's our family has seen yet on this trip.

Our final destination stop of the day was the over the top Spaceship-style McDonald’s in the equally kooky town of Roswell.  We hadn’t had lunch so we made up for it with a terrific dinner that included my kids favorite dessert: the McDonald’s Frappes (Elena likes the Mocha and Jonathan the Caramel one). Even though we didn’t have time to explore more of Roswell, one thing you notice driving through is that the city has embraced the whole alien cult thing in its many signs and even city light poles.

FAMILY ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY (Sponsored by Sprint Nextel)

If you’re on vacation for any trip that involves long drives or outdoor travel, expect for you and your family to get sweaty and dirty.  It doesn’t matter how you pack, if you are going to enjoy your trip you will get constantly get dirty one way or the other, especially if you have a baby in tow.  The other day my daughter Elena completed the day with THREE different layers of cookies, BBQ sauce and drinks.  It comes with the territory of having fun so the sooner you realize this reality of road trip traveling, the saner your vacation will be.

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