Six of us from the company I work for had flown into Albuquerque, New Mexico - about a 5-hour drive distant from the town of Carlsbad. As a result, we rented two trucks (since we all had luggage as well as work gear with us for our three week stay in the area) for the journey southeast to almost the Texas border.
This view was taken in Carlsbad National Park, since I took this Dodge Dakota AWD for the 27-mile drive from the city of Carlsbad to the National Park via Highway 62/180, with the last seven miles being on a scenic road inside the NP. The truck worked great and air conditioning was essential in the desert heat. The vehicle I rented from National in Albuquerque cost US$1550 (including extra insurance) for three weeks and gasoline was running at just under US$4 per American gallon (the least expensive grade) at this stage of the up and down oil prices.
The first dealings our company had with the potash mines in New Mexico was when their executives asked a small group of us to fly down for a 3-day first-hand look at their facilities. They arranged for this Beechcraft King Air 200 to fly five of us plus one of their executives the ~1500 miles straight south from Regina, Canada. We stopped in Casper, Wyoming (the half-way point) both going and coming in order to clear US Customs and top-up the fuel tanks.
The aircraft itself was very nice, seating 6 passengers and having an on-board toilet. The pilots had prepared for our needs with a couple of ice-coolers full of soft drinks, juice, beer and liquor as well as quite an assortment of snacks. We just helped ourselves whenever we felt the need. I really enjoyed cruising along in this personalized mode as we dodged various thunderstorm clouds that rose even higher than our 30,000-ft maximum altitude. There was one cell we could not avoid on landing in Regina at the end of the trip and the airplane took quite a buffeting from the storm clouds as strokes of lightning lit us up! Some of the guys were understandably quite nervous but I have been on so many flights that I just enjoyed the action - and opened another cold beer!
Just a few weeks later, we were awarded the contract and I was in our first group of six employees who flew down via commercial flights for a 3-week stay. Regina-Calgary-Denver-Albuquerque was the plan but various hitches turned it into a 40-hour non-stop slog via Regina-Calgary-Phoenix-Albuquerque incuding the 5-hour drive (1 AM - 6 AM) to Carlsbad in order to be there for the start of a 7 AM mine safety training course. The charter flight was looking great by comparison!
We flew to El Paso & drive to White Sands before heading for Carlsbad Caverns.
From El Paso, take Highway 62/180 East to Carlsbad Caverns directly. It's about 2 1/2 hours ride.
Carlsbad is also serviced by Mesa Airlines.
No commercial vehicle as indicated by this sign.
El Paso - 166 miles.
Rowell - 76 miles.
Albuquerque - 278 miles.