Itinerary: Deming – Las Cruces – White Sands Missile Range Museum – White Sands National Monument – Pistachio Land – Three River Petroglyph Site – Roswell
Deming can only be considered as a stop-over town, although its fairly sizeable and has all the things you would expect in this typical American town with regards to motels and restaurants; there is not much as a tourist to keep you here for a day or two. That being said, Deming is well placed between Tucson and White Sands and is a convenient for a stop-over. This is exactly what we did, arrived late, got some food and stayed over in the American Inn (again a typical privately owned US motel). For those of you who are interested, it’s a typical motel, fairly old-fashioned in decoration and amenities, but clean and comfortable for a short stop-over.
After a good night sleep and a quick breakfast we made our way to White Sands National Monument; as we were passing we decided to make a a couple of short stop at the town of Las Cruces and White Sands Missile Range Museum. In Las Cruces we happened to come across an outdoor market in which they closed off the main street and a number of small independent stall set up selling some excellent food stuffs, art and other stuff you never knew you needed. We bought some excellent local honey and had breakfast at a stall that made all it’s own bread products using traditional methods. We worth a little wander if you have the time. White Sands Missile Range Museum is not really the kinda thing we would seek to visit, but as we were passing and we had the time we decided to stop to see what it was about. The White Sands Missile Range Museum is actually situated on a live military base and we had to leave our car at the gate (which there is ample parking) and walk the short distance to the museum. We arrived quite early and the museum was not open yet (museum opens at 10am), but that gave us the chance to walk around the vast display of missiles they have placed in a small park which is part of the exhibit. If you want to find out more you can watch the two short videos.
White Sands National Monument is one of these places that I thought “if we’re passing, why not” This is so wrong; this place is very special and well worth making the trip to go see. Stunning white gypsum sand dunes, that is strangely cool to walk on, and very accessible to climb or surf. In some places they have placed walkways if your not really into climbing the dunes or have problems walking. The white sands also make a perfect place to take stunning photographs with the blue sky and white sand as your backdrop. I remember last year in 2013 when we were making another road trip in the USA; that night we were staying over in Flagstaff before making our way to Monument Valley the next day. Again it was just a couple of day after arriving and we were still a bit jet-lagged; so waking around 4-5 in the morning. As we were making our way north we had enough time to stop at Sunset Crater National Monument (we had originally dismissed stopping here and opted for Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff). All I can say is this was a big mistake and just like White Sands its a place that should be visited for it’s absolute beauty. These two parks are now in the top of my favourite national parks list. Sunset Crater is beautifully cover in volcanic ash where little shoots of vivid green life is starting to break through the black debris from the volcano. I still have one of the photos I took there for my desktop wallpaper. I know White Sands is far away from the normal USA loop for European visitors, and I won’t suggest that you travel hundreds of KM to see the place, but is you are anywhere near, make it a must stop.
Pistachio Land just north of Alamogordo is a large pistachio store with a few attractions. For bears that like to nibble on nuts, then it’s worth quick stop to pick up some of their excellent and vast range of flavoured pistachios (we particularly liked the garlic ones). You can also get your photo taken with the “worlds largest pistachio”. You can’t miss the place if you are driving north of Alamogordo on the 70.
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is unfortunately not that interesting unless you are really into petroglyphs; but for a normal tourist, it’s far away and the collection although vast are scattered over small boulders with most being just some scrapings on the rocks. If you want to see an amazing collection of petroglyphs then try and visit Canyonlands National Park to see Newspaper Rock. This is a very accessible and absolutely stunning collection of petroglyphs.
After a stunning drive through the mountains on route 70 we arrived in Roswell. When I think of Roswell I think aliens and small town in the desert; Roswell surprised me on both points. First of all there is not much apart from a few references and a few little alien shops (that don’t sell any cool alien stuff, really it’s mad but everything was awful) and the town is surprisingly better than the dust-bowl I thought it would be. It’s actually quite a vibrant place full of life with a nice town centre. There are plenty of places to eat, drink and stay. Really not what I was expecting. Again, if you are passing, but don’t go just for the alien thing as you will be disappointed; I really thought they would have capitalised on this much more.