Monday, September 27, 2010

Las Cruses and Alamogordo

Las Cruses was not on our original itinerary but with omitting Carlsbad, this became one of our stops.  Las Cruses is probably the most lush city we have seen for some time.

It took us only about an 1.5 hours to get to Las Cruses from Deming, so we got set up and it was off to the “Whole Enchilada Fiesta.”  We did not get to see the worlds largest enchilada being made but it was a good time with good food.  there were three music stages, vendor booths as well as booths from local organizations. A parade took place before we arrived.  There were also 5 and 10 K runs, horseshoe tournament and a carnival.  

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The Festival was different, the Mexican influence was prominent.  We were able to sample foods we have not been exposed to.  One booth had varieties of drinks made from fresh fruit including one drink made from rice, cinnamon and fruit, called horchata.  It was delicious.  They also have spiral-cut fried potatoes and the whole gamut of Mexican fare.

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Vendor row with the "Organ Peaks” in the background.

The vendor booths carried items unique to this part of the country.  Spanish-style little girls’ dresses, religious articles, southwestern-style wall hangings and gemstone and inlaid shell and silver jewelry.

The weather was hot again.  I don’t know how the vendors could stand cooking in their booths.

The following day we went on a road trip from Las Cruses to Alamogordo, about 68 miles one way.    Planned stops White Sands National Monument and pistachios.

The highway to Alamogordo takes you through the White Sands Missile Range.  This road may be closed for one to two hours a couple of times a week due to testing on the range.  We did not experience road closures, though. 

White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and created the world's largest gypsum dune field along with the plants and animals that have adapted to this constantly changing environment.

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In places the dunes are used for sledding and the gift shop sold disk sleds. There are marked trails into the dunes. What struck me most was how it resembled snow.  The roads are plowed to keep the dunes at bay. 

2010 09 26_Las Cruses-Alamogordo_2644 There are portions of the dunes that have more vegetation.  The more vegetation the less  drifting occurs.   2010 09 26_Las Cruses-Alamogordo_2626

Our next stop was Alamogordo.  We are looking for a winery/pistachio store.  We actually stopped at two stores.  We were able to sample wine and pistachios in a variety of flavors, cinnamon, red or green chili, garlic and the old standby roasted with salt.

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After a long day, we got home and had steaks on the grill with baked potatoes and salad.  Afterwards we sat outside and enjoyed some cooler weather.

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