Carlsbad Caverns; Carlsbad, NM

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Carlsbad Caverns has a large natural opening so it was just a matter of time before someone entered and explored the caves within.  In this case it was James White in 1898 at 16 years old.  He made numerous trips into the caves to explore and for many years he was the only person who knew his way around.

Carlsbad Caverns

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White Sands National Monument (Alamogordo, NM)

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Two hundred and seventy-five square miles of white sand dunes, the largest gypsum sand dune field in the world.  This is the White Sands National Monument just south of Alamogordo, NM.  The source of the sand is the gypsum that is trapped in the rock layers of the surrounding mountains.  Rain falls on the mountains and the runoff collects on the desert floor.  When the water evaporates, the gypsum collects in crystal formations.  Wind then takes over and tumbles the crystals until they break down into grains of sand.  These are active dunes, moving thirty to forty feet per year.  Surprisingly, the dunes have formed in only the past 10,000 years.

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Deming, NM

We spent two nights in Deming, it was a stopover for us.  I don’t really like driving more than 3 or 4 hours at a time.  So Deming got us to that point heading east from Benson, AZ.  We were parked at the Low-Hi RV Ranch.

Stumphenge

Overall, it’s not a luxurious RV park but it is clean and the staff provides good customer service.  Mostly we appreciated how they expressed their sense of humor and whimsy by creating some little “gardens” around the park and naming them.  There was the “Pyramid of Geezers”, “Lizard Graveyard” and “Stumphenge”, which is pictured above.

Roadrunner

Then there was the iconic Roadrunner.

Next stop:  Alamogordo, NM

Three Days, 900 miles

Ok, it’s not a breakneck pace but it’s a bit more driving than we have done through our road trip so far.  We left San Antonio on January 23rd and drove to Fort Stockton, Texas.  This allowed us to cover about 310 miles of West Texas.  Fort Stockton sits in the heart of the Permian Basin oil field and has ‘Paisano Pete’, the road runner.

Fort Stockton, yes, that's a road runner

The next day we drove on through the rest of Texas and into New Mexico, stopping overnight in Las Cruces, covering another 285 miles.  After an overnight stop, we continued on into Arizona stopping in Tucson, an additional 275 miles.  This drive was by far the most we have driven in such a short time but there just wasn’t much to see along the way.  It was interesting passing through El Paso, Texas, shouting distance to the Mexican border.  If we had brought our passport we could have made this an international road trip.