2014 Western Road Trip Day 13, Saturday May 17th

Another beautiful day, clear, sunny, and 63 degrees this morning. We had to go to Walmart once again this morning to get water and windshield washer fluid. One thing Texas and New Mexico are not short of is bugs!

Artesia, NM is a cute little town. As I said yesterday, it is an oil town. The main employer in town is the Navajo Refining Company.



There is “art in public places” in the form of bronze statues all over town. Babs took photos of Cowboys, a teacher, and an active oil rig for examples of the art.






The first stop of the day is White Sands National Monument which was around 120 miles from Artesia via the middle of nowhere.


The Monument is surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range and is closed twice a week on average because of missile firings. The missile range was created right after WWII to test captured German missiles.


The entire monument is covered in Selenite crystals that have broken down to the size of sand and blown into dunes, some of which are over 50 feet high. You can climb and slide down the dunes in many places which can be accessed by your vehicle on roads plowed into the crystals.






Babs making a “sand angel”


Babs next to an average dune


The sand depth next to the road is about 24″


Kids having a blast sliding down the dunes


On the way out

Our next destination is the Salinas Pueblo Missions visitor center located another 130 miles west of White Sands in Mountainair, NM. Yesterday when we had no plans to picnic, there were picnic tables about every five miles. Today, because we are picnicking, we only found one picnic table and it wasn’t until around 2:45 in the afternoon. We ate lunch there in Spencer Park in a little, one  4 way stop sign town.



We arrived at the visitors center at 3:50 p.m. and watched a 14 minute film which explained that the missions were founded by Spanish Franciscan Friars. They built three missions, Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira. The Franciscan Friars made the Indians stop practicing their  customary native rituals, such as Kiva dancing which represented spirit messages to the gods who ensured the natural cycle of life. Simultaneously, there was three consecutive bad crop harvests which caused most of the food supply to be exhausted and over 450 Indians died of  famine. The Indians  finally rebelled and most left the missions. Apache Indians who were once trading partners with the missions began attacking the missions as retribution for Spanish attacks on them. Finally, the missions were abandoned during the 1670’s.



Mural on side of building across from visitors center




Ruins of the church


Kiva where Kiva dancers would practice their rituals.

Tonight we are staying at a Holiday Inn Express in Truth or Consequences, NM. Dinner was at K Bobs, steak & salad wagon, restaurant……another bad meal! After dinner we went to Walmart so that I could buy more underwear.

Tomorrow head to Gila Cliff Dwellings.


Babs Says:You know things are not good when the first stop of the day is Walmart and the last stop of the day is Walmart!





2 thoughts on “2014 Western Road Trip Day 13, Saturday May 17th

  1. tpwilliams1 says:

    Frank, You and Babs should combine ALL your trip blogs across the USA into one “book”. I have a 32″ by 50″ map of USA in the garage and check for your stops. You should get one and place pins on all your visits. I’d love to see it. Drive safe and carry on.

    Sent from my iPhone

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