— On way home – Day 3

We spent today at the White Sands National Park and White Sands Missile Range Museum. Both are close to Las Cruces, New Mexico. After driving through some mountains into Alamogordo, we were surprised we went from over 8,000 feet to 4,000 feet in elevation. There is a little ski town of Cloudcroft and a ski hill about 30 miles from Alamogordo. White Sands National Park is a white sand desert created by the wind blowing gypsum from the mountains to the southwest. It is a National Park that encourages visitors to go off trail. You can walk up a dune and set up a picnic or slide down on a plastic saucer or piece of cardboard! The White Sands Missile Range Museum is on the White Sands Missile Range, a US Army military testing area and firing range. After showing a picture ID and a quick background check, we were admitted onto the military base. There is an extensive museum chronicling the development of rockets and missiles. This test range is where the first atomic bomb, Gadget, was exploded in 1945. Twice a year, April and October, visitors are allowed to view the test area where an 8 foot deep 5.7 mile wide crater was created. Another full day of learning of the wonders and history of this vast country. We had to drive about an hour past Las Cruces to find a state park to overnight. We were pleasantly surprised by Rockhound State Park in Deming, New Mexico. A spot at the foot of some beautiful mountains with desert flowers in full bloom. From here we will be able to make it to Hemet tomorrow.

Mary Ann