I took a day to do a little side trip. Initially when I planned out my route I was going to ride a little further north through New Mexico, but plans change. As I still wanted to see a few things in the mid-New Mexico region I figured I would take a day or two, rent a car and check things out.
I picked up a rental car in El Paso and drove north. I started out by hitting up the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. For those people that don’t have the time or interest in visiting the deserts in North Africa or the Middle East, White Sands is a 275 square mile approximation of what it is like to be among the sand dunes. Granted, the Arabian Desert is about 1,000,000 square miles in size (about 5 times the size of Spain), but you can still get an idea of what it feels like to be among sand dunes at White Sands. And those dunes in White Sands are unique because, well, they are white. The dunes are comprised of gypsum as opposed to quartz (as is most sand), giving them their white color.
The nice thing about the park is that people are able to freely wander around the dunes. I of course had to take advantage of this. I have been in large deserts before and learned just how easy it is to get lost. There are virtually no identifying markers to remember as one dune looks just like the next. Also, when the wind is blowing, it can cover your footprints in a matter of seconds. Luckily, the wind stayed calm and my prints were visible as a last resort, but I had my compass with me in any event. Sand dunes are quite remarkable despite being nothing more than a collection of sand. Seeing them one after another until the curvature of the earth pulls them from view is an amazing sight.
I had a little problem with my camera in the park. The problem was that it died on me. The lens motor didn’t seem to want to do its job. After taking nearly 25,000 photos with that camera, I figured it had taken its last photo.
I drove to Roswell, New Mexico where I had planned to spend the night. I raced around town looking for a place to buy another camera, but my only choices were Target and Wal-Mart. Neither had a camera that I would have considered even as a temporary replacement though. I figured I would wait until I got back to El Paso to pick up something new.
I rounded out the night with dinner and a few beers, deciding what to do about a camera.