Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacation Favorites and Other Notables

Over our two week trek through west Texas and southeast New Mexico, we experienced many things, but as is always the case, certain things stood out.

Favorite restaurant: La Trattoria, Alpine, Tx. Their dark chocolate hazelnut cheesecake is possibly the best dessert I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Favorite lodging: The Maverick Inn, Alpine, Tx. This quaint motel with a Zen cowboy atmosphere is owned and operated by a family of cats, but they have a couple humans working for them.

Favorite lodging lobby: Hotel El Capitan, Van Horn, Tx. This place is an old renovated hotel in a teeny town off I-10. I asked the desk clerk about the bullet holes in the stairwell window. “I don’t know, but it used to be a bank,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. I’m always looking for a good story.

And while I’m in Van Horn, this was our quirkiest discovery: “Fancy Junk.” No one was there to talk to, the place wasn’t officially open, but someone there has a knack for making artwork out of scrap metal . . . insects, spaceships, dinosaurs, etc.

Okay, while I’m still in Van Horn, what the heck is a Haul of Fame? No, we did not eat there.

Favorite critter encounter: This had to be a tie. I couldn’t decide between the colorful lizard or the tarantula. Both were photographed during a hike on McKittrick Canyon Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Most nostalgic moment: At the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center, there’s an exhibit of 3D photography of the Lecheguilla Cavern. When I looked through the lenses at the first photograph, I immediately was reminded of “View Master,” one of my favorite toys as a kid.

Longest drive: Alamogordo, NM to New Braunfels, TX – over ten hours.

Biggest disappointment: So few bats flying out of Carlsbad Cavern at dusk.

Most educational visit: McDonald Observatory. This place has an awesome deal. For eight bucks, you get a three hour astronomer-led tour of some of the largest telescopes in the world. I learned more about the sun and how telescopes work – it’s all about mirrors – than I ever knew I wanted to know. Great place!

Most physically challenging endeavor: Hiking to the top of Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park. (See previous post.)

Most pleasant surprise: There are no mosquitoes in west Texas or SE New Mexico!


Common Household Mom said...

What great travels you have been on lately. You do have a knack for finding the unusual. The junkyard! The bullet holes in the hotel lobby! The hotel run by cats! I love hearing about all of it. The photos are great.

Anonymous said...

Love your vacation pictures! Dixie