After leaving Guadalupe Mountains National Park, we drove toward Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It has no campgrounds, but there is one in Whites City, right at the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns NP. The reviews were not good but we decided that it was so close that we would try it. It worked out fine. It was not a 5 star place but it was adequate, with full hookups. The shower and toilet was a single room for both uses but it was clean.
We drove into Carlsbad Caverns NP and went to the visitor center. They confirmed that the elevator was still broken but we could walk in the natural entrance, about 1.25 miles, then through the caverns, another 1.25 miles, then out the natural entrance. So we planned to do that the next day.
We learned that there is a nightly event this time of year where bats fly out of the natural entrance at dusk. We went back to the park after dinner to see the event. They have a Bat Flight Amphitheater for you to sit in and wait for the bats to start flying, about 8 PM. It was amazing: hundreds of thousands of bats flying out of the cave entrance. They just went on and on. We took no photos as they don't allow any electronic devices while the bats are flying out as they disturb the bats,
The next day, we returned and went into the cave. It was great. If you haven't seen Carlsbad Caverns, put it on your list. It was one of the best caves I have seen. We walked in the natural entrance and down a long set of switchbacks and paths, with lots of interesting cave formations as we went. Then we got to the Big Room and took the self-guided trail. It had one of just about every cave formation I have ever seen, and the Big Room was ENORMOUS. Then we had lunch and started back up the natural entrance. Even the natural entrance was BIG. It wasn't as bad as we feared it would be to walk out of the cave and we got out nicely. A great trip.
Update: The elevator is now fixed, so no worries.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.