Monday, April 12, 2010

South West Day 3

Today we finally will leave Texas. It seems like I 10 is forever. Our goal for today is Las Cruces, New Mexico. The name means "The Crosses". It came about when the crosses for all the dead were viewed. The Apaches massacred the settlers then many years ago. We also plan a side trip to the White Sands National Park.

Below is the New Mexico welcome center. I do believe that it is the prettiest welcome center that I have ever visited. The sky was picture perfect and the weather just great.

This is another view from the visitor center. The air is very dry, but I still felt the heat.

We stopped along the road to take pictures of the scenery. We start to appreciate the beauty of the Southwest.

White Sands National Park is located in New Mexico. The U S Army does its missile testing in the area and sometimes the area is closed. The dunes are a type of sand that gypsum is made from. The loop within the park is 16 miles long. As we drove towards the entrance we were able to see the dunes on our left. Some are 30 to 40 feet high. As we approached the entrance to the park, we had to pass through a border check point. U S Border Guards were checking every car to insure that we were U S citizens. The drug sniffing dog sat by the check point. This was a new experience for us. We were happy that our dogs slept while we were being checked.
My Golden Eagle passport was the only card needed for entry. Anyone over 60 should have one.
We decided to climb a dune and walk along the nature trail. Although it was very sunny, the sand was not unusually hot. However the sun beating down and reflecting off the sand could easily cause sunburn.

This was the start of the climb to the hiking trail. Following are sample pictures from the many that we took.

The visitor center rents plastic sleds and you are allowed to slide down the dunes. If you look closely you can pick out the sled marks. We saw several kids enjoying themselves on the dunes. Carol and I decided that it was a young persons sport.

That night we stayed in a La Quinta Inn in Las Cruces. I was initially dismayed to find several bus loads of high school students staying in the same building as us. They were with FFA. (Future Farmers of America). We never heard them during the night. However they wiped out the continental breakfast.
The desk clerk recommended a Mexican restaurant for us to try. Carol was hankering to have Mexican food. We went to La Posta. It was elegant in a Mexican way. I did try some of the dip, and had a plain steak while she had a wonderful Mexican meal. I did introduce her to sangria.
Another wonderful day on our South Western adventure.

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