Saturday, April 9, 2022

White Sands National Park {Day 5-6} March 15-16

Picking up where we left off here, leaving Albuquerque. We headed south. It was about a 3 hour drive to Alamogordo. In our Good Night New Mexico book they talk about eating empanada's and we had yet to find some. So we did a search and found this little place on the way that we'd planned to stop for lunch to get more Mexican food and try an empanada. 

Lots of open road! Land as far as the eye can see. 


Came upon this rest stop, which was the most interested rest area we'd seen. Pretty cool.





View to the south from one of the bungalows


 


Back on the road. 


Update with Emma's eye, healing nicely. 


This was the place we stopped at called La Pasadena in Socorro, NM. So good!


Then back on the road... I was driving and ended up missing our turn off which would take us East... there was no exits for the next 25 miles so I ended up going about 10 miles and then UTurning it in the median to help us not get TOO far off. We took highway 380 over to get to Alamogordo. 

Somewhere along the way, literally in the middle of no where there was a semi pulled over in distress. We stopped to offer a helping hand, but we had no cell service either, nor did we have room in the van. So we weren't much help, hopefully this man was able to get some help. 


Before hitting our destination town we came across a patch of land called the Valley of Fires. Everything was BLACK, it was pretty cool. We turned off at this camp area to get out and get a better look. Check out this link for more info on this: Valley of Fires






You can't really tell from these photos just how dark the earth was. There was a clear distinction from this and from what the surrounding earth looked like. 






Just north of Alamogordo lies the FAMOUS Pistachio Land! We had to stop, get a pressed penny, a bag of pistachio's and a picture with the largest pistachio every, lol. 

 



We made it into town and stopped at a playground. Tried to figure out what we wanted to do before heading up the mountain to our AirBnB which was about 17 minutes outside of town. Decided we'd just hit a grocery store to pick up food for dinner. 


We got gas and groceries and headed up the mountain for the night. Going through the Lincoln National Forrest. 



Tunnel! Beautiful terrain. 


We made it to our AirBnB, this little cabin right off the road. 



Settled in, started a puzzle, kids watched TV and we made a charcuterie board for dinner. It was a quaint little cabin and gave us an itch to have our own cabin up north in Minnesota. 





We watched a movie, got a good nights sleep and then the next day we set off on our adventure to the Space Museum and White Sands National Monument. I had a yoga student mention to bring cardboard to slide down the hills at the White Sands, thankfully there were three saucers at our AirBnB that we were allowed to borrow to take with us. Thankful for that because saucers at the park for sledding down the sand ran from $25 new to $16 used a piece, yikes. 


Heading back down the mountain into Alamogordo. 




We stopped at the lookout just on the other side of the tunnel. 


First stop was coffee, then the Museum of Space History (which we got in with our Wichita Exploration place membership). 




The kids were getting a little tired of Mexican so we mixed it up and had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, LOL. Then headed about 15 minutes southwest out of town to the national park. 



Stopped in at the visitor center first, got a pressed penny and read about the park, then entered in the gates. Since Isaac is in 4th grade we got in free with the fourth grader program pass. We can get into all National Parks for free with this pass! 


It was a long drive in to the white sands, but so cool. 


The road was paved to a point then turned in just a sand road. 



We made it to the end and turned back through the turn around and then picked our spot that we wanted to get out and walk the dunes. We had our red saucers in hand and had a lot of fun sledding down, and a nice workout climbing back up! 

















We walked back to the van and then up over toward the other side for just a bit. The kids loved it but we were getting thirsty and drank through all our water. We had to go back to the visitor center at the entrance for water so did that. 

Once our water was filled we decided to do a couple of the hiking trails. The first one was a board walk with little informational signs along the way. Makes you think you'll walking toward an ocean, but just a sea of sand. ;-) 




The next hike was more of a wilderness one with signs along the way. It was a type of quiz where you walk through and read about various dessert animals and then you're able to answer the question at the end. 








It was really fun and probably one of our favorite parts of the whole trip. We finished at the white sands and then headed back UP the mountain past our AirBnB to have dinner at this mountain brewery Kyle had read about. It was in the town of Cloudcroft, called Cloudcroft Brewery. We had quite the wait, about an hour! But it was good to eat, they had woodfire pizza which the kids love. After that we headed back to our AirBnB for one last night in the mountains. 

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