at Whites Sands NM
After a quick stop at Walmart, we left Artesia and drove west on Hwy 82, through dry, scrubby and dusty land. It was like this for 40 or 50 miles before finally getting hilly. We drove through James Canyon, where the valleys became greener, to Cloudcroft at 8,600+ ft. There we got our first glimpses of the white sands in the distance. West of Cloudcroft the road wound down at a 6% downgrade for 16 miles. We stopped at a scenic overlook about halfway down to admire the views and let the brakes cool.
Once down on flat land again, we drove through Alamogordo to White Sands National Monument. We saw lots of dust devils again today, but they were white due to the white sands. After driving through the dunes, it was back on the highway west through Las Cruces to Deming and Rock Hound State Park. This is a beautiful spot, nestled against the Florida Mountains. The cactus are blooming and the birds are singing. We ate our supper outside at the picnic table, while the moon rose over the mountains to our east and the sun set over the mountain far to our west. We watched the
lights come on down in the valley and enjoyed the cool breezes. We are staying here for two nights, so tomorrow is a rest day, free of driving. Our travel days for the next few days will be shorter than these first few have been.
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