It was still chilly and dark on that early Sunday morning in late December as we pulled out of the driveway heading for Interstate 40. Bobby and I had been planning this trip for over a month and of course Robert & Tony were going with us. We had almost 800 miles to drive and wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time to enjoy the ride. We didn't need to reach our final destination until Tuesday evening. Earlier in the week I had stopped by Triple-A and picked up a Trip-Tik. I put our four tickets inside the Trip-Tik and then into the glove compartment. This was gonna be Tony & Roberts first visit to Carlsbad Caverns and we were just as excited as they were. As usual Bobby was driving the RV and I was making Margaritas for the three of us. After all It was Five O'Clock. AM. In no time were turned off 40 onto 285 and we were on our way.
We pulled into the park entrance just before eleven and decided to have lunch before exploring the caves. As usual Chili Verde was the menu. We still had plenty of time for the hike down 750 feet inside the earth, plenty of time to view the stalagmites & stalactites which were still growing since the time of the great Ice Age, plenty of time to explore The Hall Of Giants, and plenty of time for THE FLIGHTS OF THE BATS at dusk. Tony & Robert loved it all. Especially the flight of the bats.
We left the caverns and headed to the KOA RV park to spend the night. Monday morning came quickly but we had plenty of time for coffee and breakfast burritos before heading onto Interstate 20 to Abilene.
We pulled into The Abilene Zoo with plenty of time to enjoy lunch in the RV and then an afternoon at the zoo. It really was a fabulous Zoo even though it only covered around 13-acres and housed about 200 species. It was time for drinks so we headed to The Buck Creek RV Park right off of I-20 and settled in for a night of drinks dinner and good times. We woke
up to a beautiful sunshiny New Years Eve tuesday morning and had plenty of time for coffee, showers & Chili Verde burritos before hopping back on I-20 towards Dallas. This was gonna be a night to remember. All four of us could hardly wait to get there but since we had plenty of time we decided to enjoy the morning at Buck Creek.
Bobby pulled out of the park a little after one and got back on twenty. Meanwhile I made a fresh batch. Of Margaritas. It was just a little after five when I saw the fire in the sky. So did Bobby. I screamed WTF was that and Robert & Tony came up to the front to check it out. The fire was falling thru the sky down towards the earth. And then just as quickly the fire came up from the earth and back into the sky. It was only a few minutes before the announcement was made over the radio. Ricky Nelsons plane had caught fire plunged to the ground, severed power lines slammed into a tree, lost a wing and killed everyone on board with the exception of the two pilots who scrambled thru the cockpit windows. We were all in shock. I opened the glove compartment and grabbed the four tickets to Ricky's concert at The Park Suite. We had reached our final destination in plenty of time but Ricky hadn't. Silence. We knew we had plenty of time to cry.
This one's for you ML.