Wednesday, April 17, 2019

New Mexico, Las Cruces - Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - White Sands National Monument

On our drive into Las Cruces we had to find the “Recycled Roadrunner”.  Directions to this roadside attraction were a bit sketchy indicating it was at an eastbound rest stop off of I-10 “just before you get into Las Cruces”.  We found it at mm 135.  Over the years the sculpture has been “refeathered” by several rounds of recycled products. 

Looking out over the area where we will be staying for the next few days.

This is us, looking good!

As we were getting ready to head out this morning Greg did an especially good cleaning on the Jeep windows so I could take pictures.  It was all in vain a short time later – we were hit by a huge swarm of some kind of insects.  Yesterday the same thing happened to us in the RV.  When over 100 bugs hit your windshield at the same time it’s pretty noisy!

Our destination today was the White Sands National Monument.  We stopped at the visitor’s center so Greg could clean the windshield again.

The mineral gypsum occurs in some of the rock layers in the nearly mountains.  Rain washes the gypsum into the bowl shaped basin below.  The shape of this basin keeps the gypsum from flowing to the sea.  Instead, the water evaporates and the gypsum is left behind.  Water and wind break up the gypsum crystals into gypsum sand which is carried by the wind into the dunes.

It’s like a winter wonderland out here.

A pure white dune field is one of the rarest landscapes on earth.  Only a handful of gypsum dune systems exist, this is the largest.  Several films have included scenes filmed at the dunes, a couple I recognized where Transformers, 2006 and Year One, 2008.

The boardwalk between the dunes is a nice walk.

Lots of picnic areas throughout the facility.  All with shields to protect from the wind.

They have sleds available at the visitor center if you feel adventurous.  

After you leave the paved road about halfway through the facility you are on packed gypsum which looks like ice.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, April 6, 2019 - Flowers at Val Vista Villages

The weather is starting to get really hot here now.  We have to time our walks to coincide with the cooler parts of the day.  Lots of cactus are in bloom.  We decided to confine our search of cactus flowers to the resort rather than going out in the desert again – no rattlesnakes here, they start coming out in the desert when the weather gets hotter.

The flowers at the entrance to the resort are in full bloom now.  However, I can't get the pictures of them to download, so we will move on.  This view is looking down the main entrance road.

The library is one of my favorite spots.

This is a view of the patio where we work two days a week.  I work the front section which has 22 tables that seat 8 to 10 people each.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, March 16, 2019 - Drive to Tortilla Flat

I think we are a little early for the cactus to be blooming but we decided to stop and walk for a while to see if we could find any.  There is a great variety of cacti in this area.

Not sure if the purple ends on this one are blooms or blooms to be.

I need to brush up on cactus names since we spend more time here than anywhere else.

Superstition Mountains in the background.

We found a lot of wildflowers on the side of the road.

On the way to Tortilla Flat we stopped at the Lost Dutchman State Park for a look around.  For $7.00 we found out that they have a lot of campers there and on this particular day there were a lot of people there for a wedding in addition to the huge amount of weekend hikers – we just drove through and went on our way.

From the Canyon Lake area to Tortilla Flat there are a lot of hairpin turns, but the scenery is great.

Superstition Saloon was our supper stop before heading back home.  Actually we didn’t have much of a choice.  Tortilla Flat, population 6, is made up of this saloon and a small store.

The walls and most everything else inside the saloon is covered in $1.00 bills, four and five bills deep.  The guy behind us in line at the hostess stand asked how much money was on the walls and the hostess said they estimate between $350,000 and $400,000.

The entertainment with dinner was watching the short-legged, out of shape old people trying to get up on these saddles that serve as stools at the bar.  They took off the stirrups so that makes it even harder.