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'Cuz I'm on Top of the World, Yeah

New Mexico is Magical

sunny 88 °F

Today began a long, long time ago. I can still remember. We set out from Fort Stockton bright and early, fueling up with"high octane" coffee at the Garage. Good coffe is good. We head north along a two lane highway, speed limit 75, signs of human life limited toil pumps and rigs with the occasional ranch thrown in for variety. So much of west Texas feels infinite, power lines stretching into the ether beyond the horizon and flames from the oil fields.
Our first stop is in the almost ghosttown of Orla. According to Wikipedia, the population is 2. Which is an awfully large population for a ghosttown, in my opinion. They have a post office, a supply store, and a gas station where a woman with an AirJordan logo tattooed on her neck sells beverages and sandwiches. She is very nice. All four people that we interact with are. I stop into the post office to send a few letters back east. I wrote them two weeks ago, but then misplaced my stamps.* I asked to use the restroom and thus learned that post offices do not have public restrooms, and that letting non post office workers use the restroom could get the clerk terminated. And anyway, the water was out. Thus, we walked the gravel to the supply store, where no one would get terminated for letting non employees use the restroom. One of the workers there hailed from Portland, Oregon, and suggested places for us to visit when we get there. He also let me take water and iced tea from the fridge. (Thanks!) The woman at the gas station and rig worker worker aren't sure why I'm photographing everything, and Shari explains that it's a habit. Unbreakable. The worst sort.
About 20 miles out of Orla, we cross into New Mexico a and Rocky Mountain time, so it's now 11:15 again. Almost immediately, the land in greener and hillier. The Gaudalupe mountains fill the distance, and the road climbs and twists.
We decide that the town of Hope might be a good place to top off the gas and stretch our legs before we head into Carlsbad National Park. We should not have placed our hope in Hope. Thee was a small convenience store, sans public restrooms. This seems to be a theme. We get to Carlsbad NP, weaving through hills, valleys, and gulches. The views are sublime. We go into the caverns to see the Big Room, full of stalactites and stalagmites. The air is thin and smells mineral.
I drive the three hours to White Sands National Monument, on narrow roads passing through the Sacramento Mountains. From the top of CloudsCroft to Alamogordo , we descend nearly a mile.I touch the gas twice in the twenty minute descent.


White Sands is freaking stunning. We walk and run on dunes bare foot, marveling at the distant mountains, the sky, the softness of the sand and how the winds coming over the tops of the dunes feels like a sand blaster. I recommend leg coverings and long sleeves. It's nearly sunset, and three storm cells are visible to the south, west, and north east. The clouds are like anvils and mushroom clouds and when the wind dies down, we hear distant thunder. We leave the park at dusk, the lightening now visible in the darkening sky.

White Sands National Monument at sunset

White Sands National Monument at sunset

It's been a very long day, and I look forward to sleeping and having an easier day tomorrow. Los Cruces to Pheonix, AZ!

Lanie, if you're still following, we want you to know the your cookies made it to New Mexico and are still delicious. We evidently have more self control than previously thought.

  • if you want a letter/postcard, I probably don't have your address. Please fix this by sending it to me in a message/text/email. Thanks. Please be aware that my having your address is no guarantee of you receiving a letter/postcard.

Posted by MiriG 22:45 Archived in USA Tagged animals park monument mexico new white national texas sands cross_country carlsbad-national Comments (0)

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