Monday, October 31, 2016

Alamogordo, New Mexico

October 24 - 26, 2016:

A calm clear travel day on route 70 to Tularosa and then south on route 54 to Alamogordo, New Mexico.  It was a weird ride as I didn’t make one stop, very unusual for me.  It’s a scenic ride passing Ruidoso, Ruidoso Downs, the Mescalero Apache reservation and Tularosa but not many places to pull over along the highway or easily detour to.  We arrived at the Eddington RV Park where we had a reservation at noon time.  This is a odd campground, kind of a parking lot with full hookups and a few folksy touches such as a small library shack with coffee maker, a small pond stocked with fish, a small shower room, laundry and good WiFi.  Last but not least they accept Passport America and are convenient to everything Alamogordo has to offer.

The cute pond, stocked with fish, at the campground

The Windmill out front

We spent some time here previously, March 31 - April 7, 2015, staying at another RV Campground a short distance away and found Alamogordo fairly dumpy, but it is close to the White Sands National Monument and there was just no way around it.  Alamogordo wasn’t always so dumpy, when it was less populated, before the outward sprawl, when the hotels, restaurants and businesses were in the old downtown area it was kind of nice.  Aside from the appearance, there are many attractions in Alamogordo.  There is a beautiful old building on the corner of 10th and New York Ave where the “Shroud of the Turin Exhibit and Museum” is located, no idea why this is here in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  There is a wonderful Founders Park area with beautiful historic tile murals and sculpture pieces on early settlers, Indian, Anglo and Hispanic.  If you love history, this area is amazing with several old towns established back in Spanish and Mexican days and as always the raiding Mescalero Apaches. 

View of 10th Avenue not too exciting

Founders Park mural is great

As is the Airborne Monument across the street

Don't know what to make of the Shroud of Turin Museum

Sadly, Mission Billiards appears to be closed

 I am most happy to see that the beautiful old Plaza building, built in 1937, which had been vacant and neglected for many years was finally renovated into a home for the Tularosa Basin Museum of History.  There was much controversy concerning this, CVS wanted to buy the building so they could tear it down for a new CVS Pharmacy and parking lot.  I guess they wanted to compete with the Walgreens Pharmacy across the street.  It seems there was quite a battle over this, but the preservationist won out and the renovated building is a beauty.  The museum is staffed by volunteers, very friendly and the museum collection was way beyond expectations, it’s inspirational !

The Plaza Cafe and service Station opened in 1938

Plaza now, far superior to any CVS Pharmacy

Beautiful John Deere Wagon

Indian artifacts in the museum

WPA diorama made for White Sands National Monument
grand opening celebration

Painting of the "ghost" Lady of the White Sands

Alamogordo is "Arrows to Rockets" according to this novelty

Painting depicting the route of the Alamogordo-Sacramento
Mountain Railroad, known as the "Cloud Climbing Railroad"

from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft

Some of us may have ridden Trigger in days past

Very inspirational

A treasure of old Atari games was discovered in the Alamogordo
landfill that were sold on E-bay for $ 107,000.00 in 2014

I always return to the beautiful Alamogordo County Building with it’s fabulous Peter Hurd WPA murals painted in 1940.  Also across the street is the Flickinger Center for Performing Arts, but I have never been here when a show is scheduled.  The New Mexico Museum of Space History is also excellent, great things in aviation and space exploration have happened here.

Historic and Beautiful

Peter Hurd Murals painted on entrance

I am a little upset that the old vintage cars and trucks that I saw at the “North 54 Garage” on my last visit now appear gone, but I’m hopeful they were sold to someone who will preserve them or do something with them.  They were just slowly rotting away before.

We go the White Sands National Monument and it is as good as we remember.  It's a sunny day, near 80 degrees, but there is a breeze.  We go for a partial hike on the Alkali Flat Trail which isn't so bad if you pick your route to avoid going straight up the steep areas.  The White Sands National Monument is the largest Gypsum Sand dune area in the World.  The Gypsum is pure white, cool to the touch, blindingly bright and easy to walk on.  The sand crust most areas supports your weight, so you don't sink in.  There are many unique plants and wildlife that have adapted to life in these hostile conditions. 

The Visitors Center built in 1938 by the WPA

It's a 8 mile road, paved about half way, into the dunes

Many warnings as you head onto the dunes trail, for good
reason, a foreign couple died on this hike this year

Starting on the trail with the San Andres Mountains in the distance

Twinkles in the lead

The patterns in the sand

The dunes move and change shape continuously

You need to follow the trail markers, you don't want to lose you're
bearings out here, especially in the heat of the day

The plant roots hold these sand columns together after the
dune has moved away

Much vegetation in places

Yucca Plants thrive here

Had to stop and admire this view

It's also a short but very steep and beautiful ride from Alamogordo at 4,334 feet to Cloudcroft, New Mexico at 8,600, we went part way on this ride.  

Route 82 into Lincoln National Forest

Great mountain views

 Next stop is Las Cruces, New Mexico in time for the Day of the Dead festival,

Twinkles and Slick

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