It is John's birthday today but we don't have any big plans. While lunching with friends yesterday B mentioned we should go to White Sands since we will be in Las Cruces.
We are in the Hampton (supposedly right DOWNTOWN or s the desk clerk said when I questioned the location "we are centrally located *snort*) so a free breakfast is provided.
While we pack up the car I get some photos of the water tank. Las Cruces is famous for its water tank murals and we had taken some when we were here in December.
We also spent some time in Mesilla in December, a great spot close by.
In looking back we had driven by this hotel when I photographed the mural so here it is again.
We head to reception, hand over our passports, get verified and given one day passes with our photos on them. We are told we can take photos at the missile park and museum. We walk through the security gate.
I will do a separate post on these amazing missiles.
Can you see me there?
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.
You would swear this was snow, I kept expecting it to be cold outside!
You can rent sleds!
As you leave the park you have to slow down for Border Patrol inspection. There are several officers on duty and the car in front of us was pulled over. Usually we are just asked our nationality and waved on but this time we were asked for our passports.
The United States Border Patrol operates 71 traffic checkpoints, including 33 permanent traffic checkpoints, near the southern border of the United States.The primary purpose of these inspection stations is to deter illegal immigration and smuggling activities. These checkpoints are located between 25 and 75 miles (40 and 121 km) of the Mexico – United States border along major U.S. highways. Their situation at interior locations allow them to deter illegal activities that may have bypassed official border crossings along the frontier.
We pull away and are about to enter the highway when there is a New Mexico police car pulling us over. The officer gingerly approached our car on the passenger side and he asked me if there was anyone in the back seat. It seems John hadn't slowed down when entering the inspection mall. The signs went from 75 to 65 to 55 to 45 in a very short space.
The officer was very sweet and lowered the fine to $72.
It is now past lunch time so we opt for a sub from Subway, the best deal when on the road.
We are a long way from the interstate so the GPS takes us along an interesting route.
Cloudcroft is a village in Otero County and is within the Lincoln National Forest. The population was 674 at the 2010 census. Despite being located in an otherwise arid region, its extremely high elevation (8,600 feet (2,600 m); one of the highest in the U.S.) allows for a relatively mild summer that makes it a popular tourist attraction in West Texas and New Mexico.
We just keep climbing.
The principal economic activities which support this entire area are the oil and gas industry, agriculture and dairy.
Odessa is our destination for the evening.
Artesia is centered at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and 285; the two highways serve as the city's Main Street and First Street, respectively.
The town assumed its present name in 1903, after the discovery of an artesian aquifer in the area; artesian wells for agriculture flourished in the area until the aquifer became significantly depleted in the 1920s.
This was a good time for a break as there were exceptional sculptures which depict the history of the town in a delightful way.
The woman is reading from a book about " Billy the Kid. " The statue is of a woman who helped develop Artesia, Sallie Chisum. The famous outlaw was one of her admirers. The title of the sculpture with the two children and woman is " The Spirit of the Pioneer Woman. "
We're still in New Mexico but there is a lot of oil drilling going on. Nearly every vehicle is a truck carrying something.
I can't do the area justice with photos from the car, there are rigs upon rigs for miles.
Every now and then you see a field with a flame.When oil is extracted from wells, it’s often accompanied by natural gas. There’s no economical way to store and use that natural gas, so it’s burned (“flared”) right at the site. That’s the natural gas burning off.
We lost an hour when we crossed into Texas.
The entire hotel needs an update and some modernization.
Room looks better in the evening. Very dated. Bed sagged. There was an adjoining door (I hate those) that rattled every time they went in or out next door.
Worst dining experience. Dining room is so dated. We were the only guests. John ordered a bottle of wine, and received a glass that was filled to brim, no chance to taste first. He stated he had asked for a bottle, so then she brought the bottle but didn't bring me a glass. We asked for another glass.
We had said we weren't going to use the salad bar so there was much production about cleaning it, washing the floor, slosh, slosh. Oh, and then they vacuumed the floor in the other section.
We asked for sparkling water, she had no idea what that was so asked the manager who brought club soda.
Then the manager and server had a conversation about her removing her vest because it was so hot.
Our server had absolutely no experience, common sense for serving customers.
But the food was delicious. The cook/chef obviously loved what he did.
I had two lobster tails.
Off to bed. It looks a lot better in the photo.