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Published: September 23rd 2013
19 September 2013 – Thursday - This morning I checked out the town of Cloudcroft. It was a neat little town with the usual tourist stores and restaurants. Hwy 82 goes through the town and has some restaurants, lodging etc, and also Burro Avenue a block over has some more of the tourist area usual stuff. I explored it a bit and ate at a café called “Dave’s”. The food was very disappointing. I guess if all you get is tourist and you serve them each once that is plenty enough to stay in business.
Their ice cream must have been good as it was served from a small window to the porch eating area and half the New Mexico State Police in full SWAT gear were out there eating ice cream cones.
Cloudcroft was under a flash flood watch. I decided to go down into the Tularosa Basin to Alamogordo and explore a bit. I drove over to Hwy 82 from Burrow Ave and turned right onto what I thought was the shoulder and stopped, put on my emergency flashers, and took a leisurely look at my maps. I was taking a leisurely look at one and then
the other when a guy in a van pulled up beside me on the right and asked if everything was OK. I told him yes I was just taking a look at my maps. He asked if I knew I was parked in the highway. I said What!! I looked in my rear view mirror to see a row of about a dozen cars sitting behind me patiently. I immediately pulled off into a store parking lot and could not stop laughing at my stupidity! Thank God for me the New Mexico Highway Patrol was up the hill eating ice cream at Dave’s or I might have had a serious ticket. I guess since the cars behind me saw my flashers blinking they thought I was having trouble with my truck being broke down and so they were understanding.
I sure thought I was on the shoulder……
The drive down the mountain was beautiful and I stopped after going through a tunnel to check out the view from an observation point with a large parking area. The view was spectacular, especially of the White Sands in the Chihuahuan Desert. I think if I was someone in the 1800
going to California and came upon this vista of the desert I had to cross I would have just said heck with it and settled in Cloudcroft. And if I had went down into the Tulorosa Basin and seen how hot it was I would have just went back up the mountain again and settled in Cloudcroft.
Down in Alamogordo it was hot and I could see the storm up in the mountains and I went to the visitor center to gather info. While I was there I met another solo traveler who was a woman and after we talked a bit we agreed to meet at 6PM for the ranger guided Full Moon Walk in White Sands.
When I left there the storm was still up in the mountains and a dust storm kicked up in Alamogordo. It was no fun driving around in a dust storm and according to my watch it was around 5:30 and so I just headed out to White Sands National Monument.
When I got there I found out the tourist center had given me an October Schedule for White Sands so the Full Moon Walk had been the previous day.
So I just decided to wait a bit as my watch showed it to be 6PM and see if the women I had met was interested in going on another ranger guided tour instead. I waited till 6: 45 and decided she had changed her mind, and maybe the flash flood watch bothered her and I decided to just go tour the dunes since I was there anyway. I realized later I had not set my watch to Mountain Time and so she may have showed up at the correct time but I was already gone and probably figured I had changed my mind (or maybe she was just like so many others who just talk about doing something and then just do nothing).
The dunes were quite impressive and as it turned out White Sands was under a flash flood watch as well and it really began to cloud up which made for some interesting vistas with the contrast of the desert below and the storm clouds above.
So I enjoyed several hours of enjoying the dunes and actually decided to have my own Full Moon hike without the ranger if the clouds cleared up a bit.
But alas the clouds just got thicker and so I guess no full moon walk for William……Sigh. It did get very cloudy and windy which made for a very surreal feel of being in the dunes and some great pictures : )
So after a bit I went back into Alamogordo and stopped at the Taco Bell for a Burrito Supreme and Beef Taco (no lettuce on either) and then after a stop at SuperWalmart for some cereal and ice I headed back up the mountain to the Silver Campground in the Lincoln National Forest outside of Cloudcroft.
It had been another good and eventful day 😊
Note: a link on campgrounds near Cloudcroft added later. http://camprrm.com/category/new-mexico-campgrounds/
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