Saturday, 25 January 2014

Las Cruces NM to Roswell NM (188 miles)

Before I tell you about our day, today, I wanted to first thank all the people at Leasburg Dam State Park. Sometimes people don't realize that many of these parks are staffed, part-time, by volunteers/park hosts. These volunteers are often the voices at the end of the phone when you call in asking questions. They are also the ones with the great ideas as to what the park holds and what is in the area. We wanted to give a big shout out of thanks to Karen Stewart and Sharon & hubby (sorry, can't remember his name) and park ranger, Alex. they all contributed big time to us enjoying our stay at Leasburg Dam State Park. Thanks! You guys rock!!!

We left the park this morning about 10:00 am. We stopped briefly at Fort Selden Historic Park, just down the road and just quickly snapped a few pictures. It was a US Army post, occupying the area in what is now Radium Springs, NM (right beside where the state park we stayed at). The fort was established in 1865 to help protect westbound settlers  from Native American raids, The post fell into disrepair after the Civil war. It was ultimately abandoned in 1891. Still, pretty neat to see the walls still standing.....


Might need some roof repair in a few places!!

 Up and through this pass is the White Sands Missile area on Hwy 70....

Coming down over the hill to the White Sands Missile Range!

Huge valley on the other side of the mountains from Las Cruces...

First glimpse of White Sands National Monument. This
area is right beside the missile testing range...
When we first saw it, Doug said....."SNOWSTORM"!!! That is what it looked like we were driving into!! This amazing area is approximately 710 sq. kilometres (275 sq. miles) of white sand dunes made up of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world. These crystals have been washing down from the surrounding mountains for thousands of years. The sand collects in this basin/valley. Here is what my internet research tells me, and I quote:
"Unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, the gypsum does not readily convert the sun's energy into heat and thus can be walked upon safely with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months. In areas accessible by car, children frequently use the dunes for downhill sledding. Because the park lies completely within the White Sands Missile Range, both the park and US Route 70, between Las Cruces and Alamogordo are subject to closure for safety reasons when tests are conducted on the missile range. On average, tests occur about twice a week, for a duration of one to two hours. Located on the northernmost boundaries of White Sands Missile Range,the Trinity site can be found, where the first atom bomb was detonated."
YIKES!!! - Pretty heavy stuff for us little VW travellers!! Anyway, we had an amazing time there. Check these photos out:





So much sand stuck to the tires and wheels on the bikes, propane access, etc!!!

 So much sand that they plow the roads, just like in the winter with snow!!

You expect to step on the sand and sink in but you don't. It's hard packed to a degree....

Huge open picnicking areas. We went by one group that was having a kids
birthday party. All the kids were out on the saucers, sliding down the hills. They
were dressed in shorts and had bare feet!! 

You know he is ALWAYS on our minds....

 Yes, it had to happen....again!!

Anyway, enough about sand!! We carried on and went up and over another mountain. This pass, called Apache Summit took us up to 7591 ft. Doug managed to get a picture of the GPS showing just a little shy of that number. There was even snow under the trees. 
Bottom of the mountain. It is a huge Apache Reservation.
It just goes on and on forever and there are lots of casinos!!

Just 2 feet short of the summit!!

Coming back down on the other side....

After that it was another 1.5 hours of prairie like driving. Just wide open spaces. It reminded us both of the Medicine Hat area. Then we were at Roswell. Seems a pretty nice little town. And yes, we saw aliens!! Well, the blow up kind, the wooden cut-out kind, the plastic kind....
Here we are at the Bottomless Lake State Park (Lea Lake Recreation Area). The colours tonight were spectacular to say the least. We will stay in the campground all day tomorrow and take advantage of some of the hiking and biking areas. Monday it looks like we will go into Roswell and do laundry (I know - boring) and visit all the sites we can to learn more about this "invasion" in Roswell!


Right off the end of our site, looking down the road to the little lake...



Not sure what this tower at the visitor centre is for.
We will try and find out.!

From us to you all!!


Best part is that the bathroom is right off our front driveway!!!
Doug has Googled the weather and it doesn't look too good. We may be hunkered down here for a few days! Thank goodness for our little heater!!
Thought for the Day: Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure....

1 comment:

  1. Woo
    Do I ever love together dunes- I have never heard of it before great pictures and thanks for discovering it for us