In the middle of the night I had to pull up the quilt because it got a little chilly. When we woke, it was 53 which was a pleasant change. It warmed up a bit as the sun came out. The skies were mostly cloudy or hazy. It’s hard to tell which sometimes. Many campers left today on their way to somewhere else. Bob made our usual Sunday breakfast and we got ready to have the motorhome washed and detailed by Southwest Suds.
They arrived at 9:30 to get all that dust and dirt off of the bus since the Big Bend dust storm. It was filthy! We were still finding piles of dust in the lower compartments that we didn’t know were there. Bob got them started on the roof and the slides while we hung out. I brushed Auggie’s teeth while we waited. Once they were done with that, we pulled in the slides so they could finish the rest. It took them about 90 minutes to get the bus shiny and clean, wheels and all. Bob was happy with the work and the price! We left for White Sands National Park around 11:00. We packed a lunch and hit the road. We took Highway 70 past Holloman Air Force Base.
We passed the Alkali Salt Flats that we could see on both sides of the road.
We arrived at the entrance to the park at 11:30.
We stopped at the Visitor Center where they have exhibits and a movie about the park.
We pulled up to the Ranger Station and showed our Lifetime Senior Pass. Then we were on our way.
We took the Dunes Drive into the heart of the dunes. The Dunes Drive is 5 miles of paved road and 3 miles of packed gypsum. Initially, the dunes we saw were covered with plant life and not what we expected.
The further in we drove, the more they resembled the dunes we knew. The skies were so smoky or hazy, they obscured our view of the mountains.
Our first stop was the Interdune Boardwalk, a walk along the boardwalk of 2000 ft. A sign explained that the White Sands area has been used by Hollywood to film over 50 movies since 1950 like Transformers and others.
It had signs along the way explaining the plants and wildlife that inhabit the dunes. One exhibit had you match the animal tracks with the animal that made them. We were able to see two different tracks in the sand for ourselves, as we stood on the boardwalk. These tracks were made by the Apache Pocket Mouse.
The other track we saw was done by the Black-Tailed Rattlesnake.
We looked for more, but that was all we could find. We walked to the top of the boardwalk and had a good view of the dunes. It looked a lot like snow.
It was quite windy and with all the clouds, it was a cool 68 degrees. I was glad I brought my fleece. From there, the pavement ended. Driving on the packed gypsum was difficult at times because the light was so flat. It was hard to make out any definition of the road and the size of the dunes.
We drove around the entire loop, stopping now and then to watch people try to sled down the hill.
The campground lends out saucers, free of charge, and we borrowed 2 to take with us. No one seemed to be sledding down the hill with any speed or much success, so we didn’t even try. We climbed up a few dunes to get a better look and from there you could see the dunes for miles.
The sand is not soft and fine like beach sand, but more granular, so it doesn’t stick to your feet. We read that the winds are predominantly out of the southwest and maybe that’s why all the wind protectors at the picnic areas were facing the same way.
At some points on the road, the sand was drifting over the road causing a narrow pathway.
Eventually, the sun broke through the clouds when the clouds parted. We were able to see blue sky and the temp warmed up a few degrees to 70. We could finally distinguish the sky from the dunes.
We decided to park at one of the picnic areas to eat our lunch and watch people attempt to sled. This family had the right idea, setting up their chairs to watch the sledders.
We checked out the Dune Life Nature Trail before leaving the park.
We made a quick stop at Walmart before going back to the campground. Then we spent the afternoon sitting outside with Auggie watching a few campers arrive for the night. By now, the temp had risen to 73, but the breeze was still chilly. Earlier I had researched places in the area that served Navajo fry bread tacos and found a good restaurant that served them just down the road. We had plans to eat there tonight, but they are closed on Sundays! Rats! My taste buds were all set for that sweet fry bread. We’ll keep searching and hopefully find some in New Mexico or Utah. Keep your fingers crossed. Bob cooked a steak on the grill in the campsite. It was a brand new grill. The 3 of us took our after-dinner walk. The skies looked smoky again as the sun was setting. We won’t get a good sunset tonight! I decided it was time to put the Texas map away! It was pretty worn out after all the use it got spending 28 days touring around Texas. Tomorrow we leave for Grants, NM for an overnight stay. Then on to Moab, UT for an 8-day stay. We had such a great time in Moab last year, that we decided to make another visit. It’s a great town and is near to many national parks. It also has lots of off-road trails that we want to do in the Jeep.