Crossing Into the West

A few weeks ago, a group of friends from work came down from Rochester to join us on our adventures in Florida.  Friends and family all had a great time together, and by the end of the week, everyone just seemed like family.  This was proven yesterday when Johnny Z and family returned to Florida for a week at Disney, and took some time out to meet up with my brother Aaron and his family.  I had to share this great photo they emailed to me afterward.

As we left Hobbs, Texas this morning, just as David alluded to in his comment, the presence of the oil industry was very apparent.  Not only were there oil pumps spread throughout the fields, but every one of the hundreds of businesses along the main street of Hobbs seemed to be oil related: oil rigs, parts, services.  On the way out of Texas, the highway sign indicated about 70 miles to our destination of Carlsbad, NM.  As we continued across the miles of flat desert, it was difficult to imagine how the landscape could possibly transform into the mountains that supposedly housed the Carlsbad Caverns.  However, we approached the town of Carlsbad, and in the background, a mountain range jutted out of the flat desert and 750 feet below this mountain…

…were these caverns.  One of the most amazing things I have ever seen, miles and miles of cavern.  In National Park fashion, the cavern was easily accessible by elevator and the path was blazed with smooth wide non-slip concrete paths, lighting, railings, information signs at each scene, and recordings for a self guided tour.  It made the experience seem surreal; one of the most unreachable places on earth with the most jagged uneven terrain, and it was “spelunked” by a handicapped cancer patient.  I am very appreciative of the opportunity to experience this amazing atmosphere, but the ease of accessing and maneuvering it prevents a full appreciation.  I proposed starting a new conspiracy theory that the caverns were man made??

The elevator operator seemed to be having a bad day and had almost as much character as the caverns.  On the way down the elevator, he seemed very short tempered with any inconvenience in a classic “Saturday Night Live” manner.  However, after hiking the caverns and on our way back up, his attitude had turned as he joked about the “ups and downs of his job.”  He seemed surprised when we didn’t laugh…I tried my hardest.

Leaving Carlsbad headed toward Las Cruces, New Mexico, we all felt as if we had finally reached “the west.”  The landscape transformed from brown flats to mountains and desert.  Some of the most picturesque and unfamiliar scenery I have ever seen.  As the day progressed it was amazing to see the range of colors the sky progresses through; shades of blue to pink to peach to orange.  Mom captured these great images…

On the long stretch from Carlsbad to El Paso, there is no gas, and hardly any sign of civilization.  That is except for the booming town of Cornudas, TX where there latest cesensus indicated a population of 5-6 citizens.  This town is completely isolated and the only business in town is Cornudas Cafe, despite the fact that the roof says May’s Cafe.  The menu is hand written on paper bags.  Shannon and I split one of their self proclaimed famous Cornudas burgers, a burger covered with green salsa.  Considering how isolated they are and how far they have to drive for their ingredients, it was a pretty good meal.  More importantly, it was a great experience!

+/- 20% Accuracy

True Definition of Isolated

Cornuda's or May's Cafe??

New Meaning to Brown Bag Lunch

Thanks for the Great Shirt Aubles & Malinovs


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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9 Responses to Crossing Into the West

  1. Aunt Bo says:

    Thanks for taking me to a parts of the country I have never been to…but clearly want to see. Also thank for increasing my vocabulary—I had to look up the word “spelunked” How embarrassing!!!
    The cavern pictures are phenomenal and so are the views in New Mexico. Amazing trip. Thanks as always for sharing it with us.

  2. JoEllen (Fahy) Schubmehl says:

    In honor of MLK Day, here is a quote I thought to be appropriate for your journey,
    “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” MLK, Jr.


  3. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    Nice shirt Bret! I have to say you look awesome in it!
    Enjoy the wild west! Looks awesome! Cant wait to see where your next adventures take you!

  4. Aaron says:

    Yo Brotha!

    Thanks for posting the photo of the Zimmerman/Hoefen Outing! We had a great time hanging out with Tracy, John and the girls. Your adventure has joined so many. We have made new life long friends following you!

    So, now for the origination of the caverns. I believe this used to be a nuclear waste dumping area. They were testing the effevtiveness of self disolving drums made by Griswald Industries. See, no evidence! It slowly leaked through the ground creating a melty void under the surface. Eeeewwwwww! You didn’t touch anything did you?

    Mike, I ‘ll need your help finding a supporting video on this theory!

  5. Tracey Zimmerman says:

    Thanks for posting our picture!! Having a wonderful time in Disney but meeting Aaron, Elisa, and their girls will no dought be the highlight of our trip. They are so great and we had such an amazing time. Best of all, being together made us all feel closer to you and Shannon. We miss you and are so grateful that you are sharing your journey with us. Sending lots of love. T

  6. Johnny Z says:

    Wow, thanks for posting the picture Bret, I would have thought that between you and Aaron that you could have photoshopped out my big gut. In my defense we just got done eating a big meal. Apparently the Bret Hoefen diet plan is not working. You would think Belgian Beer and stuffing your face at every stop wouldn’t be that bad for you????
    Lovin the beard look Grizzly Adams(too young for that?) But you’ll never get a good respirator seal. I hope Shan videos you when you decide to shave it off, that should feel real good.
    As far as the caverns go. Don’t be ridiculous, those were obviously built by aliens.
    We really enjoyed our time with Aaron and the girls. I’m pretty sure Christina had more fun with the girls than at Disney. I’ll send you those photos later. Keep riding in a good direction. Hope to catch up with you soon.

  7. Mike Gratz says:

    Great photos. Awesome trip you are on..keep riding in a good direction!

  8. Uncle Kevin & Aunt Judy says:

    Bret, Your trip is starting to remind me of our Family trip in 1967–ask your Mom about the paper dresses we bought in Cheyenne, Wyoming! It sure saved on laundry. The scenery is so awesome and your pictures are great. (I will need a print of your Dad with his cotton glasses on!) .
    Love, AJ

  9. Cousin Geoffrey says:

    Hey guys! If you thought the Cavern tour guide was fun, you should make a stop by the Hoover dam and take the dam tour. You’ll hear the funniest dam jokes you’ve ever heard. Best dam tour I’ve ever been a part of!

    Yippe ki yay,

    Cousin Geoffrey

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