After gassing up the rental car in Alamogordo. New Mexico, I started toward Carlsbad through the Lincoln National Forest and discovered the San Andres Mountains. Well, it was only a discovery for me, but I wasn't expecting the slow, steep, winding road - rugged and beautiful.
There were several spots along US Highway 82 where I wanted to stop, but I only stopped for photos once. The remains of an old narrow gauge railroad trestle looked particularly photogenic. But darkness was coming and this was a road I didn't want to drive in the dark.
The road did get better after I reached Cloudcroft. (9,000 feet). The long trip down the east side of the San Andres Mountains was an easie driver, but I pushed on to see as much country as possible in the fading light.
I saw a few deer during this stretch, but didn't see much wildlife during the rest of the trip. The other highlight was a roadrunner that crossed the road ahead of me the next day.
The best meal of the trip was late in the evening at Lucy's in Carlsbad - shrimp fajitas. Lucy's margaritas were better than the Double Eagle's, and about half the price. My favorite waitress at Austin's Bar & Grill in Olathe had recommended Lucy's Mexican restaurant.
I spent the too short night (the time changed to daylight savings)
at the Days Inn in Carlsbad, New Mexico.