My flight left at 6:35 instead of the printed ticket time of 6:45, so I sprinted through the terminal and made it in plenty of time. The plane ride itself was fairly uneventful, so I put on the complimentary headphones and tuned in the country classics station. The first song I heard was Patsy Cline's "Crazy." Yes!
I arrived in Albequerque and we (Mouser, Lukas, Allana and myself) all hopped in the rental truck and headed out. After sitting on an airplane for 2+ hours, I really wasn't ready for 4.5 hours more driving, but everyone got along well and we ended up talking about music, movies, and everything else nearly all the way to Carlsbad.
Driving a rather gnarly road, we went through some serious backwoods country on our way to the first caving expedition of the trip. Our destination was Black Cave and although it was rather small in terms of caves, it was a fun time and a good way to get introduced to the experience. There were a lot of active formations inside and we got plenty dirty and even had to go through an entrance covered in spiders to make our way into it. When we got out of the cave, it was getting rather dark and on the 1.5 mile hike back to the truck, storms were brewing all around us, but never threatened other than some bright flashes of lightning and the distant rumble of thunder.
After eating dinner at Denny's (and receiving very poor service) we arrived at John Hall's (our gracious host for 2 evenings) at about 11pm and Mouser and I went swimming and chatted. Afterwards, I took one of the coldest showers ever (not by choice, the hot water in the pool house wasn't working) and finally crashed at about 1am, approximately 21 hours after I'd awoke for the day.