We got up and hung out, since our drive today was a short 96 miles to Alamogordo. We would have to make a fuel stop today and we called the campground to see if we could get in a little earlier than check-in at 1:00. They said anytime after noon would be fine. We hooked up the Jeep and were on I-10 out of town at 10:00.
The temp was 79 with a nice, cool breeze blowing. We picked up Highway 54 after a few miles on I-10. I got one last look at the red “X” before leaving El Paso.
The skies were clear and blue over the Franklin Mountains.
This pine tree really seemed out of place in this climate, but it was disguising a cell tower. We’ve seen a few of these here. We even saw a cell tower disguised as a palm tree recently. How about one disguised as a giant cactus? Now, that would be cool.
We crossed the New Mexico border at 10:30.
A prison was located out in the middle of nowhere right across from the entrance to Ft. Bliss (US Army). I guess if anyone escaped, there would be nowhere to hide.
Highway 54 went straight for 40 miles, no turns, with little to no traffic.
We passed through the town (?) of Orogrande–a mere shell of itself from earlier times. It was like a ghost town, except for one gas station.
We did see a dust devil off in the distance before the landscape changed to more trees and greenery. The road remained straight forever and road conditions improved as we got a better view of the mountains.
We had to stop at the New Mexico Border Patrol Checkpoint.
Again, there were lots of cameras, but no dogs this time.
There were a few vehicles ahead of us. When it was our turn, they asked Bob if there was anyone else on board. Bob answered that there was just his wife and the dog and they waved us through.
We were traveling through the Tularosa Basin which is 30-40 miles wide, lined by the Sacramento Mountains to the east.
You might be wondering why we went from Texas to New Mexico to Texas and New Mexico again. It’s simply because there were very few highways that allowed us to make a more direct route to places we wanted to go. We arrived in Alamogordo just before noon. We were surprised that Alamogordo was such a big city and we wondered why it was here. We were told that it thrives now because of the Army and Air Force bases here. Originally, it was settled to support construction of the railroad in 1898. Then tourism took hold with the creation of the White Sands National Park in 1933. In 1945, Alamogordo was known for its connection with the Trinity test, the first ever explosion of an atomic bomb. In the 1950s and 60s, Alamogordo was the unofficial center for research on pilot safety and developing the space program. We saw quite a few gas stations with diesel fuel for $4.99/gal., but none that we could get into easily. Bob did his homework before we left El Paso and found a station on the northern outskirts of Alamogordo with easy access and a price of $5.04/gal. Woo-hoo! Not bad! While Bob was fueling up the bus, I unhooked the Jeep. It took us about 20 minutes before we were on the road again. We headed back into town for a few blocks to our campground, Alamogordo-White Sands KOA.
We checked in at the office and were directed to site #40 for 2 nights.
It was a back-in site, with a fire pit, swing, grill, table, chairs, and a tree.
Once we got set up, Auggie and I sat outside in the shade with a view of the Sacramento Mountains from our site. The breeze was blowing, the sky was blue, the temp was 83, and it was perfect! The only thing that would have made it better, would be if I could put my feet into some green grass, but that time will come. It was peaceful and quiet and we were away from the dust! Bob and I enjoyed cocktails before dinner while sitting outside in the shade of the tree with Auggie. He loved being outside with us.
More campers arrived throughout the afternoon. Auggie and I took our walk after dinner when the sun began putting a glow on the mountains. We saw this giant cactus in front of the office. It was huge and beginning to blossom. If all the blossoms opened at the same time, it would be gorgeous!
Tomorrow we have the detailer coming to wash the bus in the morning and then Bob and I are going to make a visit to White Sands National Park to see the dunes. Bob’s sister, Mary, had visited here before and told us all about it, so we had to make it a stop on this trip. We had a fairly easy drive today, although the wind continued to be a factor and took a toll on our gas mileage.