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Big Bend National Park.through the canyons.  Hike to the
abandoned ranch.  Take time to hike about.  Go down to the Rio
Grande River and see the river coursing, the javelinas and desert
mule deer.   This is the only place where we’ve been stopped by a
coyote crossing the road.  Birders see numerous species of birds –
often adding to their “life list”.  Vehicles with four-wheel drive may be
driven in selected areas.  This is severe desert.  Take it easy and
make sure you have plenty of water and sun protection.  On your way
out of the park go north to…





Alpine.  You’ll quickly see why this pleasant college town is one of
the top 100 small towns in America.  Then a few miles north to …









Fort Davis.  This community was named for Jefferson Davis, when
he was Secretary of State and before he was President of the
Confederacy.  He served at the fort after he graduated from the
United States Military Academy and before he joined the “south”.  
The main street probably appears much as it did in the 1800s when it
was part of the frontier.  The fort has been restored as the
Fort
Davis National Historic Site
(photo).

Just north a few miles on Route-17 visit the
McDonald Observatory,
operated by the University of Texas, which is marvelously situated, in
an area of Texas remarkably clear for star watching.  Then go north
to I-10 and Route 54 north and US 62/180 to …

Guadalupe National Park.  Here you will see a “wind farm” with
numerous windmills.  Walk out to see the remains of a stop for the
“pony express”.  Hiking the rugged terrain is a favorite activity.  
Before continuing north you can go a few miles west on US-62 to the
Salt Basin.  Here you will see the glaring white of the salt.  Walk out
on the salt flats.

ANOTHER DECISION TIME.  From Guadalupe National Park head
west or go north to alternate …

New Mexico



    ALTERNATE TO ROUTE H    
    (If taking the alternate on US-285 stop in Mentone, TX just to
    say you've been there.  The entire county has about 70 people
    and is the smallest county, by population, in the lower 48.)

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  Tour the caverns – a
    memorable experience.  You’ll be thrilled at the immensity of
    the caverns.  One chamber is the size of twelve football fields.  
    It is a self-guided tour but be sure to wear a light sweater or
    jacket as the temperature is in the high 50s.  Guided cave
    tours are also offered.  If the season is right, you may see the
    bats in flight at sunset.  (You have no concern about the bats
    as you tour.)  Go north to



    Roswell.  You’ve heard of this town as the center of the “flying
    saucer” sightings.  There is a UFO museum that displays a
    number of pictures and reports of sightings – sorta interesting.  
    (The photo has a "UFO" aka weather balloon, which we saw
    one evening at Roswell.)  However, there is another museum,
    Roswell Museum and Art Center.   The art exhibition is well
    regarded.  It also houses the laboratory used by Goddard in
    his research that was the foundation of the post WW2  US
    space program.  Then east to…

    Ruidoso.  If they’re on, take time to go to the races at the
    Ruidoso Downs.  Continue to …


    Alamogordo.  The New Mexico Museum of Space History is
    worth taking time to visit.    The display includes space vehicles
    as well as exhibits of the US space explorations.  The White
    Sands Missile Range (off-limits to visitors) is practically across
    the road.  That was the Trinity site – the first A-bomb test in
    July 1945 was here.  Head south to…



    White Sands National Monument.  You’ve never seen
    anything like this.  Stark white sand glistens like snow -- just
    climb the dunes and run down.  There is a network of roads  
    Then head north to …





    Valley of Fires National Recreation Area.  Desolate black
    lava flows cover the valley.  You can walk out over the flows,
    but be sure to have sun screen and water with you.  From here
    you can continue on Route I to the south or go to
    Albuquerque to join Route H.  




Going west on US-62 into …

El Paso, TX.  This is a major point of entry to Mexico.  Many people
go to
Ciudad Juarez (determine the safety of travel across the
border before going
, Mexico to sightsee as well as to shop.  From
here continue on I-10 and go west to:


                                        

        
Many consider Big Bend National Park the most impressive place they've seen
Guadalupe National Park
Sand dunes as white as table salt go for miles at White Sands National Monument
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Officers' Quarters at Fort Davis
As lava flows break apart trees grow in the crevices
Imagine our surpise to see a UFO at Roswell
Travel Letters