Monday, December 3, 2012

Odometer 26,293 miles

Trip Meter 187 miles

Alamogordo, NM

December 03, 2012

Up and moving by 9:30 AM today as we headed out of Silver City and aimed the bus east towards Las Cruces and Alamogordo. The day began partly cloudy and 39 degrees, but it had warmed to 50 degrees and sunny by the time we were packed up and ready to roll. We traveled 42 miles down State Highway 180 to Demming, where we hooked up with Interstate 10, and took 10 east 52 miles to Las Cruces. We were down to about a quarter of a tank of fuel and thought this would be our best opportunity to get fuel at a good price and find a place we could get into and out of, without having to uncouple the car and hack back and forth. What could be better than a truck stop we thought? So we pulled into a Loves truck stop, and pulled into the truck island to fuel up. Stuck in the credit card and it was declined "see Cashier" flashed on the LCD. So I went inside only to be told that if I wanted to fuel at the truck island I'd have to pay 5 cents more per gallon than if I went to the car island! What? I asked, is this a Loves Corporate policy? No it's at our discretion she said sweetly. So great, the car fueling island is like so many these days you drive in and have to exit with a sharp 90 degree left or right- not something you can do with a 36 foot motorhome pulling a 16' Honda. Well I showed them- I pulled in to the car island on the outside pump and the Honda blocked one of the exits while I ran my card twice to get enough fuel to fill up. SMART- really smart, Loves- we won't be back anytime soon.

Now we were hungry and looking for a MacDonalds that we could get in, and out of. We found a Teriyaki Bowl that had an open lot behind that we could park in, and as a bonus there was a grocery store nearby we could walk to. We were most interested in a sign on the ATM in the restaurant that said "this ATM is for customers use only" Hmmm. (don't ask me- I haven't a clue why, and didn't feel like asking) The servings were huge and delicious- we saved half of our chicken and rice for dinner. I said we were looking for a grocery store. We found out from Joan's sister-in-law that Hatch, New Mexico, 58 miles up interstate 25 from where we currently were, is famous for great chili peppers! We bought up a few bags of chilis and headed back to the MH.

Changing the fuel filter on our way into Silver City solved the problem of power loss we'd been experiencing over the last several days. The coach ran very well, zipping up hills and charging down the road. Even though the speed limit is 75 on many of the roads here, Honda warns against towing the CRV above 65 for sustained periods of time. We don't mind- 65 is plenty fast and we can live with that.

Between Las Cruces and Alamogordo lies the White Sands Missile Museum and we couldn't resist. We found the museum sign at the exit off I-10, but when we got to the bottom of the exit ramp- no sign and we didn't have any idea Left or Right? We went right because there looked like a group of buildings off in the distance. As we drove the next 5 miles we didn't see anything that would indicate we were on the right road. Now we started seeing signs saying US Military Installation, vehicle subject to search... we were looking at each other and saying are we supposed to be going to an army base?? We finally got to the main gate and wondered what are we supposed to do? No signs- no indication. We drove into a small parking lot near the front gate and got out to walk up to the guard station to ask if we were close to the museum. Yep! this is it. We had to fill out 3 forms and show ID and Registration, Insurance cards, before we were allowed in- but it was all worth it! Turns out this is where the German V-2 rockets recovered during the war and at the end of the war were sent for study and reproduction. They still have the very first one and it is in the museum. The cut-away is for display obviously.

Once we exited the museum, my eyes glazed over with the sight of all this hardware!
I just had to show you this photo of counter-rotating helicopter rotors with all the missiles in the yard- what with this?? We'll never know- because there was no sign and no docent.
Here is another interesting missile- rocket or prop- why not both? No sign nearby- so another mystery ship
Next in the line-up is the Redstone rocket which is the direct descendant of the German V-2. First built in 1953 it had a range of 200 miles and ran on a rocket motor, that like the V-2 ran on alcohol and oxygen, good for 75,000 lbs of thrust and 3,800 mph. The military really wanted this to be a mobile missile, and it was kinda- It took 3 trucks to carry the missile and 200 other assorted vehicles to transport the accessories. We were told that the assemblage of vehicles spread 18 miles down the highway every time it was moved, and it required 600 personnel.
The Redstone is also very important, in that in 1958 with the addition of a 4th stage solid fuel rocket motor, it morphed into the Jupiter C used lift our first satellite into orbit. In 1959 it was modified again for the Mercury space program and launched Alan Shepard into orbit around the earth.

I had no idea that White Sands was involved in large guns too. I couldn't help crawling into this MK-39 - 5" gun turret to look around. The Navy built an entire battleship out in the desert for testing their large guns (we weren't allowed to see that)

My brother Thane will like this next one. This is a fully working mock-up of a HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) 6 pack rocket launcher. The mock-up was so well done they used it to launch missiles

Tomorrow we see White Sands National Monument, the Space History Museum, and explore Alamogordo.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you enjoyed your peppers! Have alot of family in Hatch and Las Cruces. We will let you know when we se a HMARS come up for auction LOL. Glad that you are enjoying your selves.