Saturday, June 21, 2014

It's an adventure......

Yes, I went to see the bats again, at a different location – can’t resist a show like that.  I’m glad I did, since they emerged from the cave in two separate, huge groups about a half hour apart.   But this story isn’t about seeing the bats so much as it is about the trip out to the Bat Cave.   Yes, they do call it tBat Cave.

 I got an instruction sheet at the Visitor Center in town and it states that there is over 8 miles of dirt road to get there.   OK, I’ve been on dirt roads before.  Unfortunately, this one was rocky and had mostly a washboard surface for the better part of the way. 

The first part out of town was smooth going.  Then it turned into a narrow well-patched road, but it still wasn’t bad.  Then it turned into washboard and I was going about 10 mph to try to minimize the impact on my truck.  There were occasional cattle guards and even they were more bumpy than you’d find on a regular road around here.  A cattle guard consists of steel tubes across about 4’ of the road and the idea is to keep the cattle on one side or the other.  Apparently, they have not figured out how to get across it.  So, they're free to roam wherever they want.

I came across a bull who was rubbing his face in the dirt along the side of the road and then stopped to look at me as I passed.  Then I came across a little stream crossing the road, complete with the rock bottom.  The next stream was larger, with more water across the road.  I couldn’t  tell how deep it was, so I got out and walked around the edge – only a couple inches deep.   No problem.  Pretty canyon rock walls on the right side, so it must have been a nice river at one time.  Maybe it still is in rainy season.

I felt like I’d been driving forever and I hadn’t seen any signs.   Then I saw a white pickup coming at me, so I flagged him down and asked if this was the way to the Bat Cave.  He grinned and said it certainly was, but there was one more river to cross.  He told me it was about 100 yards wide but only a few inches deep.  I thanked him for the information and went bumping down the road.

Shortly after that, 3 SUV type vehicles passed me going at least 25 or 30, kicking up dust.  I looked at their wheels bouncing on the road and figured their vehicle must be more comfy than mine.  A couple minutes later, I rounded a corner to see all three of them parked and everyone out of the car, looking at our last river to cross. 

These people were all related and one of the members of the family was related somehow to the original owner of the Bat Cave property.  I told them about my conversation with the man in the pickup and that it was safe to cross.   One woman was very curious about me, since I was all alone and started asking about my life on the road.  She seemed very intrigued with it. 

The crossing was not bad, someone had planted sticks to mark the shallow area on one side, and on the other, you could see the rocks drop off – there was even a small waterfall.  Very small.  I took it very slow since I didn’t want to get water in my brakes – thinking that at least it was not sea water.

Shortly after that we were able to make our way into the preserve.  What a trip!  To prove that there are people who actually live down this road, there was a huge ranch with a big sign at the end near where we turned into the parking area.

The bats came out about 8 PM, which was still light enough to get pictures, but they’re so close and so fast that I didn’t get good shots.  They get going about 35 mph in the vortex, but can do 50-60 on a straightaway, after they get going.

After the show, I was able to cross the larger river in almost daylight and the only other holdup I had was cows.  By the time I came upon a herd of cows having a meeting in the middle of the road, it was totally dark and they’re all black.  I stopped to see if they would move out of the way.  They just stared at me staring at them.  I moved the truck a couple feet closer and they took a couple steps toward the sides.  I inched along slowly while they moved away.  I’m so glad they’re placid animals. 

The rest of the trip home was uneventful, although slow.  But, it was an adventure.



1 comment:

  1. Quite an adventure and that picture of the bats is absolutely amazing! It's so cool how you can actually see them individually plus get the idea of the swarm coming out.