Today we went to the White Sands National Monument which is located in the middle of the White Sands Missile Range. The first atomic bomb was detonated north of this area. On the way, we had to pass through a border patrol checkpoint. The sign says to control your dogs because they have K-9’s working there. We didn’t see any K-9’s, but Dart did not like the border patrol agents. He doesn’t like toll booth employees either, so it is nothing new to have Dart express his displeasure at anyone outside the car like that.
The area is covered with dunes made of sand made from gypsum. It is 275 square miles and can been seen from space. The gypsum comes from an ancient sea that covered the area a long, long, long, long time ago. When the sea retreated, it left behind the gypsum. Eventually, mountains rose and carried the gypsum higher. Water from melting glaciers dissolved the gypsum and returned it to the basin. Today, the process continues with rain and snow.
The place is surreal. Until you actually see it, it is hard to imagine. Many movies have used this area for their shoots. The sand is very white and very extensive. It is cool to the feet, so we didn’t have to worry about Dart burning his feet. You can buy sleds (or bring your own I guess) and slide down the dunes. There is a sign that says no alcohol between February 1 and May 31. We had to ask about why only those four months. The ranger said it was spring break. Since it is so far from the ocean here, we could see how college kids would come to party and pretend they were at the beach.
For those interested in the sad story about our Amazon delivery, I have an update. Today, the USPS finally delivered the package. The message says it was delivered at our home. I contacted Amazon to see if we could get the delivery sent to our forwarding address because it should not have been delivered at the house. USPS said “no way Jose'”. Our neighbor told us there was no package at the house. Amazon tried and tried and eventually refunded my money. Several hours later, our forwarding facility indicated they had a package from Amazon. It doesn’t make sense to me that USPS couldn’t tell Amazon the package was delivered where it was supposed to be. I had to call Amazon back and tell them to un-refund the money since I can now get the package. I will have it sent overnight to one of our future campgrounds.
(Update: Regis found out this campground will loan you sleds to go to White Sands. Darn! Wish I knew that. Next time. This campground and New Mexico are awesome, so there will be a next time. We have plans to visit the City of Rocks State Park tomorrow. It sounds like a place my mom would like.)