I began my tourist day by visiting the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This museum sits proudly atop a hill at the foot of the Sacramento Mountains.
I visited with two clerks in the gift shop who were willing to share some very special history of the center with me. Ham, the space monkey was the first chimpanzee to be used in space exploration was trained by a man who still lives in the Alamogordo area. Ham was carried into space by Mercury Redstone 2. After his service to the space program, Ham remained with his trainer, eventually dying of old age. To honor his contribution to the space program, he buried at this museum near the flag poles.
Next it was on to the White Sands of New Mexico. Located about 30 miles southwest of Alamogordo.
The White Sands are 275 square miles of glistening white sands in the desert basin. It’s the world’s largest gypsum dune field. Since I promised to share my adventures, I feel compelled to tel you that I managed to get myself into a situation in the White Sands area. I was taking in the grandeur of this amazing landscape and I saw what I thought was a scenic viewing area. It wasn’t. It turns out that I had entered, going the wrong direction besides, a military checkpoint. I was stopped by a big white truck with flashing lights. The military officer informed me that I was in the wrong place. I sheepishly explained my mis-steps and he turned me around and got me back on the road. So sadly, this is the only picture I got of the White Sands.
But.. not to tempt fate or anything I proceeded onto the White Sands Missile Base. Here, the Visitor Center was clearly marked and the two gentlemen inside were very friendly and helpful. They allowed me to proceed onto the base museum where I had permission to take pictures, and make a couple of purchases in the gift shop.
My oldest son had been stationed here for training a few years ago and I had travelled here to visit with him for a few days. At that time I purchased the most beautiful ring made by the Zuni Indians of New Mexico.
I’ve worn this ring every day since I got it. So I just had to stop again. I was able to find gifts for my daughter, granddaughter and my girlfriend Tammy.
Then since this is a journey, it was time to get back on the highway. I drove through the desert, passed through one Border Patrol Checkpoint, without incident I might add, and ended my day with dinner at Kranberry’s Restaurant in Lordsburg New Mexico.