Southern New Mexico is very much like Texas.  We have seen lots of oilfields and lots of desert scrubland.  It is windy as well and freezing at nighttime, so our stay is brief and just in the south.

Jan 15 – We are very disappointed that the Carlsbad Caverns National Park is closed due to the ongoing USA budget fight. We press on north through pecan and pistachio groves and desert to Roswell to visit the UFO museum here.  The cheap $2 entry shows us a lot of exhibits, grainy photos, and witness accounts, etc., but no firm evidence.  In 1947 something crashed on a rancher’s land that the military removed.  Alien beings were rumored to be in the crash, which the military explained as a “weather balloon.”  The truth is still out there…

We also visit the Roswell Museum and Art Center.  Besides artworks, there is a large exhibit on Dr. Goddart and his rocket research/workshop dating to his last rocket launch in 1942.  He had an amazing collection of patents and rockets but was not well regarded in the US until years after his death when Germans reverse-engineered and improved his designs.

Jan 16 – We head north to the Museums of Lincoln.  One of the most authentic western towns remaining in the US, this is the spot where Billy the Kid practiced his outlaw ways, killing townspeople, escaping custody, and then being shot dead himself.  Today, the town is very quiet, with a single street passing through and many original buildings still standing.

Jan 17 – There is snow on the ground at Ruidoso, so we head south past snow-covered Sierra Blanca Peak (12,000 feet).  Our first stop is White Sands National Park which is closed as well due to a lack of funding.  Another disappointment, but we get a few photos from the road of the vast white gypsum dunes.

Fortunately, we are able to visit the White Sands Missile Test Center Museum as it is operated by the military and not the government.  We agree to only photograph inside the museum and “in the west direction” when at the rocket/missile park outside.  White Sands has been used to test rockets, missiles, aircraft, optical equipment, and radars since 1945 for the army, air force, and NASA.

Jan 18/19 – As we head west near the Mexico border, we overnight at the City of Rocks State Park.  In the middle of nowhere/desert nothingness, we find two large clusters of rounded volcanic towers rising up out of the scrubland.  This area looks true to its name – like a city of rocks and very cool.  We enjoy hiking among the rocks and seeing the tent campsites nestled among the rocks – an awesome campground!

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