We continued from Texas into New Mexico stopping briefly at White Sands National Monument. The monument is in the middle of a missile testing ground and there is nothing for miles around but sand and dunes. Tom was comparing it to the planet Arrakis and kept professing that he could be the Kwisatch Haderach. It was unbearably bright on the white sand.
With nothing but sun and white sand reflecting the sun, our eyes were quickly sore from squinting. People from all around seem to come to the white sands monument to go sledding, of all things. We guess that if we didn't have any snow at home, this would be a reasonable facsimile to sledding on snow, except that the sand was relatively hot. We didn’t stay long as it was too bright, and a bit hot, and Tom was afraid he was going to get attacked by rogue fighter pilots with experimental missiles.
We drove from white sands to a national forest near the border of Arizona and made camp for the night. The camping was quiet and uneventful except for the occasional pack of wolves howling.
The next morning we visited the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert in Arizona. It was a slightly overcast day and very windy. We walked around the many ancient trees and were amused that only 70 years or so ago, that Albert Einstein had also visited the same location. We were also confused by Arizona’s refusal to adopt Daylight Savings Time. While we were still in the Mountain Time Zone we had to change our clocks to match Californian time. The drive through the park was mostly uneventful. We did stop near where route 66 used to be and at the some of the historic attractions that were on the route.
The view of the Painted Desert was pretty amazing but the wind and clouds prevented us from truly capturing its full beauty. We left in the early afternoon to visit Tom’s cousin Casey. Our drive to her place was coupled with one of the prettiest sunsets we’ve seen yet. It possessed the deepest, most brilliant red which, before now, we thought only existed in Native American artwork as interpretation, not documentation.
TR and CM