Thursday, October 6, 2016

Week of Enchantment: Through Piney Mountains Cold

On Tuesday morning, I bid a reluctant farewell to Roswell and hit the road west. A half-hour of enormous plains gave way to the hills of the Hondo Valley.

The Hondo valley's rocky mounts gave way to much larger hills covered in pine trees, reminding me much of northern Alabama and Tennessee.

I reached Ruidoso much more quickly than I anticipated, around nine am -- much too early for a free wine tasting I'd arranged at a local winery. Alas.  I was also too early for the museum of the Old West,  but the horse sculptures outside were still available for admiration. 

I continued to climb steadily but not dramatically through the Sierro Blanco mountains and the Lincoln National Forest. A sign declared me to be 8,000 feet above sea level at Apache Summit. 

I made tracks for Alamagordo. Within the town itself was the Space Museum,  which is parked landmark-like upon a hill. The glass cube and rocket  next to it made for easy navigation, though getting back to the highway required instructions from an Allsups clerk. 

We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be awed.


Moon rock collected by Harrison Schmitt, the only scientist to walk on the moon.

I spent most of my time outside the museum admiring the rockets and other equipment. 


The space museum displays covered not only the Mercury to Apollo programs, but the shuttle and Skylab as well. It featured sundry items: Russian space suits, the actual food tins carried in the Gemini and Apollo missions, and a plate that simulated the ground during rocket thrusts.  The plate had different strengths for Atlas and Saturns, as well as for whatever launched the shuttle and the Russians. The most intense one I tried was the Saturn, of course. 

Having read so many astronaut memoirs, I mostly appreciated the museum for the Mercury capsule and other aviation equipment, as well as the rocket plate. 

And now, on to White Sands! 


  1. You most definitely got around during your trip!

  2. Oh, you ain't seen nothin' yet. On Wednesday I drove from Las Cruces to Albuquerque (230 miles) with a hundred-mile detour to see the Very Large Array. And I never had a single blown tire or mechanical problem!


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