We drove all the way to Cortez, CO, with a rest stop break outside of Moab, UT. We planned to eat at Pepperhead (which is delicious and awesome and you should eat there any time you're in Cortez), but apparently they have bizarre business hours in small podunk towns, so they weren't open. We drove on to some place somewhere in New Mexico and ate at a diner there because we couldn't wait any longer. Then we continued on to Albuquerque, where we spent the night.
The next day, we had a shorter day. We drove to Carlsbad via Roswell. We had dinner at an amazing Texas BBQ place in Carlsbad called Danny's. It was so yummy and kind of the first complete meal we'd had the whole trip so it was very much appreciated. We had originally planned to take it easy and see the Caverns the following day, but we (mostly me) were anxious about making the truck deadline, so we decided to hike the caves that evening instead. It meant we had to miss seeing the bats leaving the cave, which Sam dearly wanted to see, but I think the barbecue dinner was worth it. Sam really loved the caverns. He was very impressed and I am glad we made the detour.
The following morning, we took a guided tour of the King's Palace at the caverns. It was very cool. It's kind of funny because neither of us figured out how to take a picture in a cave that actually looked good until the end of the tour, right before we left for good. Ha!
After that, we drove straight through to San Antonio. We had dinner at BJ's (might be a new favorite with us), and then pressed on. Sam made it a point to stop at Buccee's so I could experience it, but I didn't see what the big deal was. It was pretty normal except that everything was branded with that joyful beaver. The bathrooms still had scraps of toilet paper on the floor and half-broken soap dispensers just like everywhere else. I will admit that it was a bit unusual that there was a deli counter of sorts there (at which people didn't seem to be wary of eating), but other than that, I was not impressed. I have been to way cooler truck stops. Sorry, Texas.
We finally rolled into Houston around 2am. Rachel and Josh were kind enough to let us crash at their new house, even though I'm pretty sure they'd moved in like the day before. We had a very early day the next day, so we got like no sleep and then headed over to our new apartment complex to get checked in!