Petroglyph National Monument with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Humans said we need to head home.   Horrible words to duck ears while enjoying a road trip.   But, one more stop they promised.   Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Petroglyph National Monument

Remember, much of New Mexico is desert.   But with enough moisture, cacti do have flowers.

Cactus in bloom

We love blooms on this cactus.  First stop was the Visitor’s Center, of course.   From there we went to one of the trails that allows dogs.   Here we go.

Chloe ready to explore

Chloe and her human mom, also Soapy’s mom, are ready to start.   We are on Piedras Marcadas Trail.

Piedras Marcadas Trail

There are petroglyphs up there.  Yellow.  Maybe for the Colorado Traveling Ducks, but about 700 years before us.

Petroglyphs

Here is another closer to us.

Soapy and Zeb on rock. Not touching petroglyph

We followed a trail up this hill.

Climb a hill here

But, as you can, these petroglyphs are almost in somebody’s back yard.

City from top

Here is another that we liked.

Interesting drawing

This sign explains a little about these petroglyphs.

History was written here

This petroglyph seems to show a human with rabbit ears.

Human with rabbit ears?

We did see some giant rabbits running through the petroglyphs.   Maybe their ancestors were here 700 years ago?  There are so many petroglyphs in this area.   But this is the last one we will show you.

Petroglyph and ducks

New Mexico has beautiful, blue skies.   New Mexico is known for hot air balloons.   There is a huge hot air balloon festival here in Albuquerque in October.   So we had to share this photo, from our February trip, of this lone hot air balloon, soaring above.  We took this from Petroglyph National Monument. If you visit Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico, you will see interesting petroglyphs.   The humans and ducks had fun and Chloe, the dog, also loved it.

Chloe had a good day here at Petroglyph National Monument

Hope you visit soon.

Heart of the Desert Pistachio Farm and Winery

Last week we showed you McGinn’s PistachioLand.   But they are not the only Pistachio farm and Winery in Alamogordo.

Heart of the Desert Pistachio Farm and Winery

Heart of the Desert at Eagle Ranch was possibly the first pistachio farm in the area.   This sign, a glowing heart, was completed in May 2018.   It is 26 feet tall, 20 feet wide and built to withstand desert winds up to 114 mph.   They are awaiting a ruling from Guinness, to name it as largest glowing heart in the world.   Today we want to show you Heart of the Desert ranch, but don’t want to repeat the same information.   This is a great picnic area.

Picnic area

And check out this horse.

Horse. With painted secrets

There are things painted on this horse for kids, of all ages, to find.

Find these things on the painted horse

Here is the list.   Both establishments have tours of the farm.   Both grow pistachio trees and process the nuts to sell.

Pistachio trees

Both have vineyards.  Both produce great New Mexican wine.   This 1928 International One Ton Truck is in Heart of the Desert’s parking lot.

1928 International One Ton Truck

The sign explains the importance of this truck.   Driving on the farm when he was seven years old???

His truck from Nebraska

Let’s see the entire truck.   A real classic.   In 1974, George Schweers bought 400 2-year old pistachio trees, and Eagle Ranch was born.   Trees have been added since that time.   We heard that George Schweers gave pistachio trees to Mr. McGinn when he decided to start his pistachio farm.   Good neighbors help each other.   In 2002 vineyards and wine production was added to Eagle Ranch.   Visiting either, or both of these pistachio farms will definitely add to your enjoyment of the Alamogordo area.   As you know, we like to stop at unusual roadside attractions.   So here we are at Basin Pipe and Metal Recycling.

Basin Pipe and Metal

And this is why.

Giant roadrunner

A huge roadrunner.   The roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico, and this one, built from scrap metal, seems at least 20 feet tall.   There is an area to pull off the main road to look at and photograph this roadrunner.   We like finding new things in New Mexico.

New Mexico Museum of Space History with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Let’s go to the space museum.   We ducks are interested in many things, with aviation and space travel near the top.   Today we are visiting the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Before we even enter the building, we see many exhibits outside.

German Air Force Tornado 45 + 11

This is a German Air Force Tornado 45 + 11.  These planes were at nearby Holloman Air Force Base from July 2, 1999 through June 10, 2009.   One of its primary missions was precision strikes against ground targets.   This plane is highly serviceable due to its automatic terrain-following and electronic counter-measure systems.   That’s what the sign said.   We followed the sign to the Gravesite of HAM.

HAM, world’s first AstroChimp. Final resting place.

HAM was the world’s first Astrochimp.   He was the first chimp to visit outer space, on Jan 3, 1961.   He completed all his tasks on his mission.   He flew at 5800 mph, reaching an altitude of 155 miles.   During is 16 minute mission he experienced 7 minutes of weightlessness.   Inside the museum, we saw his space suit.

xico,  Chimpanzee Restraint Suit for HAM the Chimp

Actually called a restraint suit.   Also, we saw the Mercury Primate Capsule.

Mercury primate Capsule for HAM the Chimp

This was his protection while he was strapped in for his flight.   After his flight, HAM lived at National Zoo in Washington, DC until 1979.   Then he moved to North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC until he died January 19, 1983.   His remains were brought here to New Mexico.   We don’t usually do this, but I want to show you a photo from Grand Bahama Island from mom’s visit in 2011.   That was before I, Zeb the Duck, was even born.

Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, near 1961 splash down sites

On Grand Bahama Island, SE of Florida, the East End Missile Base Library salutes the Mercury 7 Space Pioneers.   The splash down area for early US space flights was very close to this location.   HAM was the first in space January 3, 1961.   Alan B. Shepard, Jr. was the second on May 5, 1961.   Shepard was the first American human in space.   Later, in 1971, he also walked on the moon.   Gus Grissom was the second American human in space, flying July 21, 1961.   All flew separately, and all were successful.   There was so much to see outside the museum.

X-7A Test Vehicle

This is a X-7A Test Vehicle.   It was used to develop a ramjet engine for anti-aircraft missiles.   As a test vehicle it was meant to be reused, so it was covered by parachute.  Also we saw this Air Force Plane.

Air Force Plane

And a capsule used in the space program.

Capsule from space missions

Inside the museum, there were many exhibits and many hands on activities.   We will just show you a few things.   Moon Rocks.

Moon rocks

These moon rocks were brought back by Apollo 17 astronaut, Harrison Schmitt in December 1972.   These rocks are believed to be 3.7 billion years old.   If you were alive in 1969, you probably saw this on TV.

Set for TV coverage of first lunar landing

This is the replica of the moon hung behind Walter Cronkite during the CBS TV coverage of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.   On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong landed Apollo lunar module Eagle on the moon.   This was the first ever moon landing.   July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon.   Buzz Aldrin joined him on the moon.   They walked on the moon for about 2 hours and 15 minutes that day.  They gathered rocks and sent many pictures back to earth.   Here is an early space suit.

Early space suit

Those suits look bulky and very uncomfortable.   But they did protect the astronauts.   The suits are getting more streamlines, as you can see here.   Old suit on one leg, newer suit on other leg.  This is an Apollo fuel cell.

Apollo Fuel Cell

We ducks don’t really understand everything about this space stuff, but we enjoyed seeing everything.   Back outside (we had to leave because the museum was closing for the day), we visited this memorial.

Memorial to those who perished in US Space Program

The United States has suffered three deadly accidents in the space program.   This monument is a memorial to those that perished.   Each disaster has a plaque.

First disaster

 

Second disaster   

 

Third disaster

We hope you will visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  We found it interesting and believe you will also.

McGinn’s Pistachio Farm and Vineyard

We love pistachio nuts.   We love the green color, and we love the taste.   In Alamogordo, New Mexico, we visited McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch and Winery.

McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch

But, are pistachio nuts really 30 feet tall?

World’s largest pistachio

This is the world’s largest pistachio nut.   It is 30 feet tall, made from 5 yards of concrete and then colored with 35 gallons of paint.   When the founder, Mr McGinn, died, his heirs had this pistachio nut created.   They remember as kids they would travel around the country with him, always stopping for these oversized, roadside attractions.   We ducks have seen a lot of these attractions also, and we always are amazed by what we find.    But, back to Alamogordo and this pistachio farm.   The building is huge, housing equipment, gift shop, small cafe and lots of storage.

Large building

PistachioLand is the name, but there are also vineyards here.   Our first activity was a tour of the farm.

Tour bus. Soapy’s dog Chloe went on bus with us.

These ladies were so friendly and so smart.   Our moms were the only humans on this tour, so Soapy’s dog, Chloe, was also allowed to go with us.   First we saw the vineyards.

Vineyards

Seven types of grapes are grown here and they press the grapes and produce their own brand of wine.   Continuing, we saw acres of pistachio trees.

Pistachio trees

You may notice the irrigation hoses on the ground.   Remember, southern New Mexico is mostly desert.   These pistachio trees are grafted.   There is a university in California that has trees that do well in this climate.   Pistachio trees are grafted onto these trees, creating hardy Pistachio trees that thrive in the desert of New Mexico.   After our enjoyable tour, we headed towards the gift shop.

We like gift shops and love ice cream

We see that ice cream cone.   Near the entrance, we stopped at the Koi fish pool.

Koi pond

We love water and we love watching the fish.   We ducks are sitting here with the sheriff.

Ducks with sheriff

He is telling us stories.   At the end of the long porch is a patch of cement.

The notorious of the American Old West

This cement has names of some of the notorious people from the early days of “The Wild West.”

Ducks on wine barrels

Adding to the rustic atmosphere, we are sitting on wine barrels, under the sign for the Saloon and Hotel.   Inside the gift shop, we found normal souvenirs of t-shirts, post cards, refrigerator magnets, and many fascinating items.   Also a nice collection of regional cookbooks, many flavors of salsa and sauces, and wines.   There was a sampling table of candy, most with pistachios.   We especially liked the pistachio brittle.   Soapy’s mom liked the chili pistachio candies also.   Another section had old signs and this 1940 Ford.

1940 Ford

We like this gift shop and we really liked all the people we met.   But, now it was time for the serious stuff.   Remember the ice cream.   We didn’t want sandwiches or any other food, just ice cream.   Each human got 2 scoops of ice cream (huge scoops) in a waffle cone.   Mom had some with pistachios.   Soapy’s mom had some with chocolate.   We went outside so Chloe, our dog, could join us.

Nice area to sit with Soapy’s dog Chloe and eat ice cream

The ice cream was delicious.   We had a great time here at McGinn’s pistachio farm.   When you are near Alamogordo, we hope you will stop.   The tour was good, the atmosphere fun, the gift shop incredible and the samples are tasty.   The ice cream was a bonus and a reason to stop here on a warm day.   Next time we are in Alamogordo, we will stop here.   Maybe we will see you.

White Sands National Monument with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are going to White Sands National Monument today.

White Sands National Monument Visitor’s Center

And there is so much white sand there!    If you start digging at the shallow part, you will still be digging sand for more than 30 feet.   A sign said there is enough sand to fill 45 million boxcars.   That makes a train long enough to circle the earth, at the equator, 25 times.  That is a lot of sand!  White Sands National Monument is near Alamogordo, in southern New Mexico and is surrounded by White Sands Missile Range.   Sometimes this monument is closed during missile range tests.   White Sands Missile Range is also an interesting place.   The first atomic bomb test was here, at Trinity Site, July 16, 1945.   There is also a fascinating free museum at White Sands Missile Range.   But, today we are talking about a lot of white sand.   After the Visitor’s Center, we walked to the gift shop.   Isn’t this a pretty court yard between the Visitor’s Center and Gift Shop?

In courtyard between museum and store

Our mission in the gift shop was sleds.   Yes, we bought 2 sleds and wax sticks for each sled.   We can sled on the sand dunes.   Sleds and wax tucked into our car and we followed Dunes Drive until we found our perfect dune for sledding.

We are ready to sled

Here we are, ready to enjoy sledding on the sand dunes.

Dunes look pretty big from this sled

Well, these dunes really look big from here.   Remember, we are small rubber ducks.   Maybe we should let the humans try this first.   Soapy’s mom was the first to go.   She survived and said it was great.

Mom coming down sand dune

Here comes my mom sledding down the dunes.   We ducks went also.   Fortunately it was not crowded today.   Another family was sledding down a nearby dunes.   All the humans were all laughing and having a great time.   This white sand is primarily from gypsum.   This sand is fairly rare because gypsum dissolves in water, but there is no water here.

So much white sand

 

The sand is very white and beautiful.   A quite a bright reflection when the sun is at its brightest.   There are several picnic areas.   These picnic tables are great.

Picnic area

The covering protects from the sun and also the wind.   Nobody wants blowing sand in a picnic lunch.   But here I, Zeb the Duck, am sitting on the sand.   Those ripples are caused by wind, so be careful if a storm is coming.   But we do like to see mountains behind the sand.   There was another sign reminding us that from the space shuttle, the only white features visible are snow on mountain tops and this white sand.   At 275 square miles of white sand in the Tularosa Basin, this is the world’s largest gypsum dune field.   Much of southern New Mexico is desert, so you can guess that many desert animals live here at the sand dunes.   This one, the Bleached Earless Lizard, was the most fascinating to us.

Didn’t see this animal

We did not see the lizard, but he many have seen us.  We loved our time at White Sands National Monument.   We hope you visit soon.   We think you will have as much fun as we did.   And in the Visitor’s Center we learned so much about this whole area.   New Mexico is great!

Pancho Villa Attacks the US

The United States was attacked by Pancho Villa and soldiers from Mexico on March 9, 1916.   That was the last time a foreign military attacked a state in the United States.   In case you are wondering, Hawaii was not yet a state December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.   Also, September 11, 2001 the attack on New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, was done by hijackers using US commercial airplanes.   But back to Pancho Villa and his attack on Columbus, New Mexico.   In Columbus, we visited the Pancho Villa State Park.

Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico

This park was previously a US military camp, Camp Furlong.  Now it is home to a museum, with memorabilia from the very brief attack, a picnic area and a camp ground.   Here is Cootes Hill, a look out point from the military days.

Cootes Hill

You can see the cacti and flags of the United States and the State of New Mexico.  First let’s visit the museum.

In front of museum

We like the Mexican architecture and the old wagon here.   During the early morning attack, a young family escaped to Deming, about 25 miles north, in a 1915 Dodge Touring Car.

An antique car that survived bullets

All three members of the family survived, but the man did carry a bullet in him for the rest of his life.

1915 Dodge Touring Car with bullet holes

The car and bullet holes.   A close up photo of the driver’s door.

Bullet holes in the door

We are certainly happy all survived.   But let’s talk about the speed of this attack.   On March 9, 1916, at 2:00 a.m., Pancho Villa crosses the US Mexican border, 3 miles south of Columbus.   At 4:11 a.m. there are simultaneous attacks in the center of town and at Camp Furlong.   By 7:30 the last of the Villistas retreat into Mexico.   This attack lasted a little more than 3 hours, but there were casualties.   Ten townspeople from Columbus, New Mexico died.   Eight American soldiers died.   Eight other Americans were wounded.   Estimates are that 90 Villistas were killed and a small number were taken prisoner.   After a trial,  some prisoners were hanged, some jailed and returned to Mexico in 1921.   We ducks think that was a lot of deaths in a three hour attack.   But, let’s see what else is in the museum.   Soon after the attack, General Pershing was sent to Columbus and a tent city was soon built south of the railroad station and south of town.

A tent city was quickly built south of Columbus

We thought this covered wagon, without the cover, was interesting.

Covered wagon, without cover

Large trucks were brought to Columbus.

truck

And airplanes came also.

1916 JN-3 airplane, replica

This is a replica of a 1916 JN-3 Airplane, provided by Roger Freeman of Vintage Aviation.   These were all interesting, but the question is still why did Pancho Villa attach the United States?

Maybe we will never know why Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico

And it is quite possible we will never really know the answer.   The US military spent time and money trying to get Pancho Villa, but he was never captured.   So what happened in Mexico?

Mexican Revolution over

Across the street from Pancho Villa State Park is the first US Military Airbase in the US.

First US airbase in the US

Also in the state park, we visited the headquarters building of Camp Furlong.

Former headquarters of Camp Furlong

Now many people enjoy the New Mexico desert and this picnic area.   There are sites for campers here.

Picnic area

New Mexico is a popular destination for many Americans and Canadians escaping the colder winters in the north.   If you visit Columbus, we hope you take time to explore Pancho Villa State Park and the museum   We think it is quite interesting.

Columbus, New Mexico with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Columbus, New Mexico is a small border town with about 2,000 permanent residents.

Columbus, New Mexico

Located in a high desert valley, between the Florida and Tres Hermanas mountain ranges, Columbus is only 3 miles from Palomas, Mexico.   Mom and I have been here 3 times, usually looking for warmer weather for a couple days.   Columbus is small and not a touristy town.   The first time mom and I arrived, it was night and we were lucky to find a motel.   Our cell phone did not have service, (that was 2013) so we went to the gas station to call the motel owner to come rent us a room.

Hacienda de Villa Motel

We stayed here at Hacinda de Villa Motel.   Not fancy, but the room was large and very clean.   The people here were very friendly.   We went to the train station, now a museum.

Columbus museum

The museum is interesting, and shows the history of Columbus.   This time we noticed a new sign.

Susan Parks sign

This lady, Susan Parks, was a real hero.   During the attack by Pancho Villa, she called nearby Deming, NM for help.  While the bullets were flying, she placed her young child on the floor, under a desk, and continued calling for help.   The soldiers from Deming did arrive and the attack was over quickly.   I’ll tell you more about this battle next time.   The train was important in earlier days, but it is not running now.   The train station was converted into the museum, and the post office.

Post Office

We enjoyed wandering around outside.   There were train cars.

Caboose

Also a few pieces of old railroad equipment.

Railroad equipment

This classic old car.

Classic car

and old farm equipment.

Old equipment

Each time we visited this museum, there have been very few other people.   The people inside are so knowlegable and so nice.   Here is the safe from the bank.

Safe from bank

During the Pancho Villa attack, the safe was shot.   The bullet hole is marked.   What a great museum.   Columbus had rich mineral deposits.   Miners found silver, copper, lead and zinc here.   There is not much mining in Columbus now.   We like this small church.

Holy Family Church

It is Holy Family Church.

Church bell

We admired the church bell, on its own post.   Columbus is not a tourist destination, but if you go, wander around town and you will find several little pieces of history, and very friendly people.   It is a nice change from the busy lives we all live.