Tues., 11/25: Dude on the Dunes

Feels great to have wifi and connectivity after being in the Roswell vortex yesterday where Internet connections faded in and out (probably depending on alien spacecraft arrivals and departures.)

This morning, I walked Nick at 5:30 in what must've been 20 degree weather. Gorgeous waning crescent moon hovering over the barely lightening horizon. But screw the beauty, it was COLD, so it was a quick walk.

After napping and waiting for the sun to rise, we had a wonderful, leisurely morning (our first on this trip). Had coffee and planned our way home. Went for an hour walk on a nature trail to get some exercise (and it was rapidly warming by 9AM). Then had the opportunity to make our first hot breakfast--sausage, eggs, and some of that killer beer bread from West, Texas. Camping does not mean roughing it.

Broke camp after everything thawed out at 10:30. Lisa tried her first on-board shower because the shower rooms at the state park aren't heated, and after discovering that our water hose was frozen, heat in the shower seemed necessary.

Wound our way through rural (and mountainous) NM: US 70 to Las Cruces. Stopped at such roadside attractions as the Billy the Kidd museum (we missed the Smokey the Bear one, but it was referenced in this place) and the state's first and largest pistachio farm. Check it out. We'll hold a contest for what you initially thought this was before you read that it was a pistachio.

Then we tooled toward new favorite sign of all time:

Road Closed for One Hour When Flashing
(picture of a missile)

Thank you, White Sands Missile Range.

Nick--our faithful shepherd--found his puppyhood again today when we visited our second favorite national monument (#1 still is Scottsbluff, NE)--White Sands National Monument. (His other name is "Dude", so this explains the title of today's post.)

Ranger says that we're welcome to take the dog anywhere, to run and play on all the sand dunes, and that RVs can handle all the paved and unpaved roads. By gummy, he was right. This is a GREAT park. The squeals of children "sledding" down the gypsum sand dunes was fun. Running around on the surprisingly hard surface was fun for us, too. Interpretive nature trails added some education to the whole play thing. What a surreal place (30 miles long x 10 miles wide, and yes, the park closes when missiles are tested).

Parking lot at the end of the 8-mile scenic drive. Love the picnic table shelters:

Can't believe how hard it was to remember that this was gypsum (which is pretty heavy and hard), not sugar soft sand as we had in Destin, FL, and not cold snow drifts like we grew up with (they plow the sand on the road like snow).

Tonight we're staying in Las Cruces, NM. Not as far as we'd planned to get, but worth the delay since we got to play in the dunes today. We'll write tomorrow about the kind of place we're staying. A 5-star RV resort ;-)

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