"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Warm, White Sands!

Las Cruces, NM

Leasburg Dam SP 
Ah, back into the warmth and sunshine.  Finally. As we drive west leaving Carlsbad we head for Leasburg Dam campground just north of Las Cruses.  It's a pretty drive with many mountains to drive past.

We both thought the town of Las Cruses was very nice.  Pretty town, clean and well laid out.  Easy to get around and not a lot of crazy traffic.  This will be a great spot for all the time we'll be spending in the White Sands area.

The towns water tank was nicely painted.

There was a little Visitor Center and playground.
Lots of little trails that wind all around the campground.  Some have markers that tell you the names of the different cacti and bushes & trees.

Interesting rig.  Looks custom made.

This is what a typical site looks like.
Our site, # 19.  This is a small park and very, very well kept.  Only two loops, all pull-throughs with W/E.  Most will hold large rigs.  Lots of privacy and space between sites.  Again, only $14 a night.  Right next to the Rio Grande River.  It was dry when we were here though.  They have a lot of little trails that wind through and around the park.  Beautiful sunsets here!

The Organ Mountains

Another nicely decorated water tower just outside of town.

While it doesn't show well, there was a large granite point
to this range that I dubbed the "Hershey Kiss".
We spent an entire day at the White Sands Missile Museum.  It is on base and you had to go through a screening process to get in.  There were many signs warning you on the way in that no pictures were allowed to be taken outside as you drove in.  You park in a lot just outside of the entrance and bring your ID, vehicle registration and insurance cards.  They run your background and as long as you're not a wanted criminal, you're given a slip of paper and permission to enter.  -- Kind of reminded me of the Ron White Tater Tot bit --  You can then either walk through the crossing to the museum (a couple hundred feet maybe) or if you chose to drive in, the process was a bit more involved.  We walked.

There was a small indoor museum and an outdoor missile display area.  I'm not a big military fan, but I really find the missiles fascinating.

This is an Oryx from Africa.  They were introduced to the region at one time.  There main predator was the African Lion.  Since there aren't any in this area, their numbers have increased and there is now a lottery draw to hunt them.

The Fat Man Bomb Casing
After the first plutonium bomb was tested at the Trinity site, the next
completed weapon was the Little Boy, which was dropped on Hiroshima.

That's a lot of missiles!

The MK5 Guided Missile Launcher, 1977.

The Pershing.
The first and only medium range ballistic missile deployed by the Army.

Athena, a single stage, solid-fueled rocket.
It could reach 200 miles before descending.

The Hound Dog was named after the Elvis Presley song and was
the precursor to the Cruise Missile.

Redstone was the largest surface to surface ballistic missile.

The Crossbow is a long range cruise missile designed
as an anti-radar missile. It was home in on hostile ground radar systems,
dive at near sonic speed and detonate on impact.

Nike Hercules
It was the Army's only deployed nuclear armed surface to air weapon.
F-4 Phantom Jet
Steve used to work on the Electronic Warfare Systems when he was in the Air Force.

Lacrosse was the Army's first surface to surface guided missile.

Honest John
was a free flight rocket that carried an atomic, high explosive warhead.

Huey Helicopter UH-1M

Another shot of the Hershey Kiss

All that rocket admiring made us hungry.  We stopped in a KFC for a quick bite and sat a bit with the Colonel. He wasn't much of a talker but looked pretty good for his age.

Later in the week we spent the day at White Sands National Monument.  We used our National Parks Pass.  It's $80 for a year and gets you into almost all National Parks, Monuments, Grasslands etc (can't be used for camp fees).  A steal if you are going to be in a few as it can cost $25 or much more to get into one park.
Sure looked like snow.  They even have to plow it to keep the road passable.

First let me say that my I-phone simply cannot capture the beauty of this place.  The sand is so white and it's hard to capture the depth of field in the pictures.  Some of these dunes are huge.  Considering that it hadn't rained in a few days, we were surprised to find the sand somewhat wet and quite packed down in some areas.  In others, it was soft and deep. 


Hurley loved it.  He was on-leash but I dropped it while taking
a picture and he just bounded up and down, having a ball. (dogs are permitted, but must be on-leash)

These kids were having a great time sliding down the dunes on sleds.

Almost looks like a palm tree.

And finally we wanted to visit the Museum of Space History and the Hall of Fame.  It was a nice time.  We're not huge space buffs but we still enjoyed it.


We liked the Hall of Fame a lot.  It was very interesting to see which countries the astronauts were from, which flights they were on and what capacity they served. 

First woman in space, first woman to walk in space and first American woman in space.
I was surprised that there were so many women who have been up in space.  Here are just 3 of them.
It was a long day and on the way back home we stopped at McGinns.  We sampled many flavors and walked through the gift shop.  I chose the Dark Chocolate Habanero Pistachio Brittle.  Very good.  Steve couldn't make up his mind between the Atomic Pistachio Brittle, 3 Nut brittle and the Chili Pepper Pistachios.  So he got all three.  
Worlds Largest Pistachio

Newly planted pistachio trees.


I took this picture because the sun came out of the clouds just enough to shine on Alamo Peak in the Sacramento Mountains.  It really doesn't show how amazing it was though.  And of course having the phone line and RV park right smack in front of it didn't help either.
Next Up, spending time with RV Friends!!


  1. We saw a lot of oryx in the wild when we were in Namibia, Africa last winter. Fascinating to look at, and tasty to eat!


    1. We will be in Ruidoso the end of the month for a family reunion but unfortunately won't have time to visit White Sands this time (I don't think). I love that NM has great parks with such reasonable rates. Love the old Huey and your pic with the colonel!

    2. Kevin & Jodee, Tasty is always good :-) The parks are great. If we were here longer we'd have bought a parks pass and taken advantage of more savings.

  2. Replies
    1. I'd go back again to do more hiking. We're here at Pancho Villa and just visited with Steve & Karen! Must be nice in So Cal!

    2. Merikay... we will join you too and go on a tour next winter! Sounds interesting.....
      Great meeting you Debbie and Steve... also Glenda and Kurt! So much fun to run into each other after reading blogs of our travels.
      KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
      (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

    3. It was great to meet you and Steve too Karen. We're looking forward to crossing the border and having some good eats. If they don't let us back in, please send someone to look for us :-)

  3. Did you see Stephen Colbert at McGinn's? :)

  4. No, was her there recently? There wasn't too many people there. It was just before closing. Still enjoying the great brittle.

  5. Wow, that is an action packed week! The white sands area and missiles looks pretty interesting. A lot of military history that makes you think of the past wars and the roles they played in the conflicts.

    1. Yes, I was surprised how interesting I found it.

  6. We really enjoyed our time at White Sands NM but took a pass on the missile museum. Might reconsider on our next time through. We thought the McGinns Pistachios were the best. The wine tasting was also good and we even bought a bottle.

  7. They call me...Tater Salad!

    1. HA, we tried not to laugh too much, but that's what we were thinking of Gene!

  8. What a great post Debbie. Thanks for taking me to the missile range. It isn't something I would probably do and I'm glad I got to see it through your eyes. But the National Monument definitely is. Love your pictures from there. It reminds me of how much we enjoyed Great Sand Dunes in Colorado this summer. Your spot in the state park looks terrific and the price is amazing. Do they have a 14 day limit?


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