2003 White Sands - On the Way
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A place we make a point of visiting every time we're in New Mexico is White Sands National Monument.  Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, this vast expanse of white sand feels other-worldly when you're standing in the middle of it.  Here are a few snapshots taken on the road there, and it is about an hour east of Las Cruces on U.S. 70. 

The road takes you over the Organ Mountains and then out onto a vast expanse of desert, and you pass right through the White Sands Missile Range.  The highway closes occasionally for brief periods when missile tests are actually being conducted.  I once asked someone who worked there if the missiles really do fly right over the road when being tested, and he said that they most certainly do.  I've always been on the lookout for a stray crater near the highway, figuring that at least once in a while a missile would fall short, but I've never seen one.

 

U.S 70 heading east out of Las Cruces.  It crosses the Organ Mountains, visible in the distance, through a pass at the right edge of the photo. 

The highway is undergoing a complete reconstruction, and we've had to contend with that construction for all of our visits over the last four years.

Visible off to the right in the distance as you descend from the pass on your way to the monument is the headquarters of the missile test range.

   

If you see one, duck!

Scenery as you approach the dunes area from the highway.  The landscape slowly changes from low scrub to nothing but sand.