What a fabulous trip to a fabulous state! I won't go into great detail, but will mention some highlights.
White Sands: Not sand, but 325 square miles of blindingly white gypsum dunes, dotted in some places with desert foliage, but mostly bare. We brought sandwiches and had lunch there, then walked a bit into the interior. Very, very hot, but quite beautiful--and dangerous. A French couple died there last year; their 9-year-old boy survived.
Petroglyphs: Fascinating carvings on rocks left by ancient native residents of the area. Some are decipherable as goats or deer and some may be crude maps. Many haven't been interpreted yet.
The Valley of Fire: In prehistoric times, a volcano erupted over hundreds of acres in central New Mexico and the landscape is still mostly black. You can see the ripple effect often where the lava flowed down.
Fort Stanton: A fort erected to house soldiers who came to protect the white settlers from the Indians. Later, it was used as a barracks in the Civil War, then a T.B. sanitorium, a reformatory, and so on. Sounds boring, but it was actually quite interesting.
Lincoln: Where Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Now, it seems, Billy has been dug up, dusted off, and reincarnated as a local hero. The fact that he was an enthusiastic murderer is being soft-pedalled, as ole Billy Boy is acting as a draw to get tourists in the dusty little town of Lincoln. Well, we fell for it.
Hubbard Museum: My favorite kind of museum because it wasn't overwhelmingly huge, nor did it throw at you every single bit of information or preserved item imaginable. It included the life of the museum's sponsor, Anne Spradling, along with guns, carriages, furniture of the time. Absorbing.
Space Museum: The "museum" part consists of entering a working telescope base and viewing the various phases of the sun projected high up on the circular wall. Interesting, but even better were the spectacular views from outside it. I found amusing the fact that a dozen or so cows (and maybe a bull) were wandering the grounds.
Mexican Canyon Railroad: High up (as everything in the area is; Ruidoso is 6900 feet above sea level) in the mountains, a trestle is preserved and there's information on the train. How workers and early residents ever got the nerve to board it is beyond me.
I'd add more about my trip tomorrow.
Got back to L.A. at one something, Ellen picked me up. and we had lunch in El Segundo, then headed home.