Couple of quick questions:
1. Is a side-trip to the drive-in a worthwhile endeavour? Is it old fashioned? Is it busy on say a Friday night?
2. Are there any motels, hotels between Carlsbad and Alomagordo that you could recommend - preferably one that's approx. half way.
I can't say that I remember a drive-in in Carlsbad. These are usually nothing very spectacular. As for the crowds, I'd guess that there would be a crowd on a Friday night provided that you go when the high school football season is over though. If you've never been to a drive-in though, don't go with the idealized, Hollywood imagery of the 60's drive-in. They're not really like that anymore.
US 70 is the road between Carlsbad and Alamogordo. Much of it is in the mountains and the Lincoln National Forest. There are lots of very reasonable hotels in Carlsbad because of the Caverns, a few in Artesia, and then very little as you head into the mountains. Ruidoso (ski resort town off to the north) has some motels. There is also a really cool, little mountain town along the way called Cloudcroft. There is a very fancy, 19th century lodge there as well as several cheaper hotels. It's a beautiful place, and only about 40 miles outside of Alamogordo (i.e. - Alamogordo is not a beautiful place).
Hope that helps.
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