sexta-feira, 21 de julho de 2017

Day 5: Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

It is pouring when we cross the border from Texas to New Mexico and enter a new time zone. We hardly see the road. I correct: we don't see the road and I'm scared we might be run over by a truck or capsize because of the slippery pavement. If ever I was frightened, this is it. Eventually, the downpour subsides as we get to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park and we are lucky to take the mandatory pictures at the entrance of the park. Back in the car and the rain returns.
It is a very slow climb to the summit of the Guadalupe Mountains where the gate to the netherworld of the caves is. Heavy, heavy rain.
The caves are famed as a natural wonder of stalactites galore and one of the largest caves in the world. I hear my Tesla-geek husband mumble something about these caves being as impressive as the Portuguese caves at Mira d'Aire, his element of comparison. I smile at the disproportion between these caves and the ones at Mira d'Aire but nothing like a first hand experience to better judge the comparison.
We take the long trail because we want to be stunned by the cavern. It's 1.25 miles and my brain immediately converts the distance to metric. Let the show begin!
We wanted to be stunned. We were stunned. The cave is epic in size and in the amazing amount of stalactites and stalagmites and all formations possible. One cannot help but feel dwarfed when we think about the eons of Time that it took to shape the caverns. Our jaws drop at every instant, at every footstep that gets us deeper and deeper into the bowls of the Earth. There's so much to marvel at that there comes a point when you just feel overwhelmed and it's as if you cannot process any more visual information. A sense of being out of this world in some alien planet is probably what best describes the experience.
When you resurface from the depths, the sun is out. Down below is the vast expanse of the Chihuahan Desert. Your eyes get accustomed back to light and you wonder if what is below the ground is truly true...

segunda-feira, 17 de julho de 2017

Day 5: Fort Davis, Texas

Going to west Texas and not visiting a fort is missing out on what made frontier life back in the day when a frontier was being made and fought for. As we discovered, there aren't those many forts left. We Europeans think of Texas as the land of forts and cowboys and naively imagine they are abundant and well-preserved. Turns out only a few remain. To mythical Fort Davis we went.
We think of Fort Davis as the sort of ultimate, über fort. Hollywood has helped instil this image, much as it helped create the myth of The Alamo. However, Fort Davis no longer has the sould of a fort. It is a museum, an attraction and it is hard to imagine it as it originally was. What is not difficult to grasp is how difficult life must have been at the forts. I take  amental bow for all those pioneers who endured the heat, the wilderness, the lack of modern comforts and medicine, constant raids and fear. Thinking about those souls makes one think we're all wimps.
For the Tesla-geek and geek of all things geek in general, the interpretation center at Fort Davis was full of 19th-century technology. On the age of internet it was fun to see Morse-code in action (to think that my husband knows Morse is actually mind-blowing).
I thought Fort Davis was going to be a crowded place with hordes of tourists just like the Alamo but, with no one other than us in sight, we used an old mirror for a quite modern selfie. Come think of it, coming to Fort Davis was experiencing how time has so monumentally changed. Here we are in the comforts of the present looking back behind the looking-glass to a time when "selfie" was not even a word...

quarta-feira, 12 de julho de 2017

Day 4: The Rio Grande (on the Mexican border)

So, this is the rio Grande? Hm... I thought it was blue. Well, at least this is the rio Grande as it meanders through Big Bend National Park. This is the iconic river bordering the US and Mexico. The border so depicted in Hollywood cowboy movies (and now the infamous site of a wall-to-be that won't be). The heat is on the threshold of unbearable but the place is evocative of pasts and presents. This is, after all, the borderland and many things are associated with the idea of a border. I bring my own thoughts and the imagery that formed in my mind over the years. Yes, I thought the river was blue and shallow. I also thought there was going to be people here but there's only me and the Tesla-loving guy I bring along. I got the heat right, though.
I still want to see more of this river and of this border...

segunda-feira, 10 de julho de 2017

Day 4: Big Bend National Park, Texas

When I said I wanted to go to Big Bend National Park, I was far from anticipating all the zillion border police checkpoints and patrols. "WelcomeTo southern Texas, M'am!", I heard in one of the times we were stopped by the police (we were also stopped for speeding while escaping an angry dear mom and baby and my passport having differing nationality and citizenship does not exactly work on my favour...). Anyway, enforcers of the rule of law aside and we made it to Big Bend National Park just to discover why it is that it is one of the least visited American national parks and a jewel worth discovering (more on posts to come). It "is" remote, very remote. Then the border patrol ordeals are not exactly enticing and on top of that you can only find very limited lodging options and all far from the park. We stayed in Alpine, which, like everything else on this part of the country, is a remote place, a very remote place.
Big Bend here we are!

quinta-feira, 6 de julho de 2017

Day 3: Mission San Jose, San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo was nice as a box ticked in the proverbial "been there, done that". Where I was really looking forward to going in San Antonio was Mission San Jose. I'm glad I went there. Unlike the Alamo, it's an almost tourist-free zone. You can literally hear the sound of silence and the cicadas there. Besides, it is one of the rare Historic UNESCO sites in the US and amazingly preserved.
You wouldn't guess the Mission is actually in the urban perimeter of San Jose. You were tricked by the GPS and got lost before finding our way to the place and once you get there you feel you are in a pre-urban space far back in time. Mission San Jose is a time warp kind of thing which transports you to a parallel dimension. I could well imagine the real life characters of a Jeremy Irons and a Robert de Niro playing the missionaries in "The Mission" (1986) for this is a Mission like hundreds (or maybe thousands) of other Missions spread out in the then called New World. The effort, faith and courage needed to take on such endeavours are mind-boggling. How could people survive in these inhospitable environments (the scorching heat the first thing that comes to mind)? How could these isolated Missions carry out their missionary efforts when the odds were so against them? Again, mind-boggling. We think so highly of ourselves and of our modern accomplishments that we forget, from the comforts of our hyper-tech-driven world what real life was like. Mission San Jose helps you put things in perspective. You do feel humble(d) there...

terça-feira, 4 de julho de 2017

Day 3: The Alamo

I know, I know it's been a (long) while but I needed the time to do some soul-searching on what I want this blog to be: Tesla-dedicated alone?, a smorgasbord of Tesla and non-Tesla things? Heck, these are complex matters, right? Bottom-line, I'm a Tesla-wife but am in no way endorsing Tesla, this is a personal blog and darn if I'm not going to do here what and as I fancy. My Tesla-wifeness is only a circumstance of my being married to a bloke who owns a Tesla and lives and breathes Tesla and EV-geekiness.
This said, after a pit-stop in San Marcos, Texas, so the EV and Tesla-aficionado could check the Super-chargers while the patient Tesla-wife posed for the mandatory pics of said aficionado, we headed to that Texan must-see: The Alamo. No EV talk, just soak in the history and wonder in awe how monumental defeats can be re-written as phenomenal victories. The Alamo stands for nation-building and the courage it takes to face the odds when the ideals of freedom, independence and motherland are at stake. You cannot help but respect what The Alamo stands for...

segunda-feira, 19 de setembro de 2016

Day 3: San Marcos, Texas

Because this year's roadtrip was not going to be prodigal in supercharger chasing moments (I mean, we were bound for the desert and who in their right minds is going to the desert?), we decided to make the most of civilized Texas before we headed to the deep, far West.
San Marcos was an absolute surprise: Tesla superchargers hand in hand with conventional superchargers. What a treat for the Tesla-geek aficionado travelling with me.
See what I mean?