Friday, July 8, 2016

New Mexico Day 8

Today we have been on the road for 8 days and we’ve passed our ultimate destination, Carlsbad Cavern. But we still had a big day, so we got on the road by a little after 8 am. Mom made oatmeal and Cream of Wheat for breakfast, and we drove the 29 miles into Texas and Guadaloupe National Park. There isn’t much to see in this park, but the boys earned another Junior Ranger badge and patch. We also did two hot little nature walks of under a mile each and checked out the tiny wildlife museum located at the Visitor’s Center. The pioneer cabin was closed, but we walked out to the spring, which had been dammed to form a pond. The water was perfectly clear, and there were fish swimming around everywhere. It was amazing to see this green spot in the middle of the arid Texas desert.
I think we wore the boys out!
Guadalupe Mountains aren't like the mountains here in Utah.
We did find this really tall Yucca plant, though.
And this huge black bug that the boys were fascinated with.
There were lots of fish in the little pond.
Mark and Dax love looking for creatures. 
One last family picture before we head back to Utah.
Seth loved watching the spring water. 
These three have been Junior Rangers a lot of times!!
We didn’t spend more than about 2 hours at Guadaloupe National Park before we hit the road for El Paso. We wanted to see if we could look into Mexico and see the Juarez Temple. Mom whipped up some sandwiches on the road, and we made another big drive through the panhandle.

We really wanted to see the Juarez Temple from across the border. We even checked Google Street View to see if this was possible, but we couldn’t tell. When we got to El Paso, we jumped on the Cesar Chavez Border Highway and drove right next to the fence, but though we could easily see Mexico, we couldn’t see the temple. Then we missed a turn and got a little more than we bargained for. Glen had to drive the narrow surface streets back to the freeway, which was an adventure in this huge rig. For a few minutes, we were contemplating learning Spanish! But we finally got back on the road to Alamogordo where we were to stay the night at the KOA.
We saw Border Patrol all along this fence. 
We were super close to Mexico. It's right there!
After checking in, we unhooked the truck and drove out to White Sands National Monument. They boys were super-excited because we got sleds to go down the dunes. After working on the Junior Rangers for awhile, we hit the dunes. They are amazing, white, powdery soft sand. It was like playing in a 275 square mile bowl of sugar! The sand stayed cool, too, even though it was close to 100 degrees. We had a little picnic and roasted hotdogs and then the boys got busy. For Mark that meant searching for the rare white lizards that live in the white sand. He found two, but we couldn't get any pictures. Dax loved the sandboarding, and after many runs, he taught himself to stand up and "ski" down on the saucer. Seth was the best sandboarder, because he sat very still and balanced his weight. He went farther and faster than anyone. It was a great day in the dunes.
We loved the white sand that fills this National Monument.  
Seth was the best little sledder.
Dad did pretty well on the dunes, too.
It was fun roasting hot dogs out in the white sand.
We dug in the sand, too. 
Mark had fun sledding, but he was definitely more into exploring.
We have to make sand angels, right?
Dax became quite the standing sand boarder.
It was a great evening on the dunes.

We got back around 7:30 and took the kids straight to the showers. Since nobody seemed to be around and there were three shower stalls, Mom joined us in the men's room. She and Seth shared a stall, and Mark and Dax had their own stalls. Dad was the runner; he went back and forth slamming doors: pass the soap here, turn on the water there, dry Seth, get Dax's clothes, slam, slam, slam. Finally, everyone left and he got a shower of his own. The kids eventually got to bed, and we completed our eighth day on the road.

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