This is the image I've had of the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns since I was, well, able to imagine the same thing again and again: a massive, Disneyland-scale parking lot, with the heat distorting the light 10 or 14 feet in the air; a sheer, grey-brown cliff; a huge opening at the base of the cliff, like two arcs joined at their base, the same way you might outline an eye.
In actuality you park on top of the mountain, not at the base, and even though it can get hot, there's a bit of a breeze. The hills are brown, though, at least in early June, and the grasshoppers while like ungreased machinery.
Now that I've been to Carlsbad, that old picture isn't going away. Instead, it now coexists with my image of the real place because, in my memory, they are equally real.