We woke up in Oklahoma after a very restful night near Fort Sill in Lawton. Fort Sill is the home of the US Artillery, so of course we had to stop. It was a very stormy day, hard rain, thunder and wind. Touring a museum was just the thing. Coincidentally, the thunder was so loud, I thought it was sound effects created to make us believe we were under fire.
On the road again, we found ourselves in a large wind farm. The clouds were so low that the top of the turbines were obscured.
Moving south towards Texas, we drove through more and more oil fields. I had never seen such large oil fields before, pump jacks as far as the eye can see. The other notable thing about Oklahoma and Arkansas were the large amounts of dead armadillos on the roadside. We never got to see a live one, unfortunately. I was surprised as I always though armadillos lived in arid regions like southern Texas. Not at all. It seems they have few natural predators in those states and so they thrive.
From Oklahoma, we drove west to Lubbock, Texas where we stopped for the night. On the way, we had a little mishap with the bicycle rack getting loose as a bit of welding let go. Leon had to remove the bikes and the rack and place them inside Roadie for us to continue driving safely. We stopped at the campground for the night with the plan to visit a welder in the morning.
A little side story here – Leon had to use the men’s room and he kept having to go back as it seemed to be occupied for a long time. He also noticed a few young boys hanging around the one bathroom. It turned out the boys had locked the stalls from the inside and crawled underneath the doors. I told Leon to tell the campground owners about those little hooligans as they had won all kinds of awards and I would hate for them to lose one because of a few pranksters.
As it turned out, it was a hot sunny day and the welder, Chico, was only a few blocks away. Leon worked hard at removing the back bumper chrome cover so he could re-install the repaired piece after it was welded. Chico came through for us. Before we left, he showed us some of his prized restored autos and the many trophies he won. Lovely man!
We continued on our way west through New Mexico to our destination, Alamogordo. This town is located near the White Sands National Monument, a huge area of powdery white sand. It is also famous for being the area where the first nuclear experiments were done. Our intention was to visit White Sands the next day.
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.
In the morning, however, the wind was strong and the dust was blowing from all areas. We passed on White Sands and Leon kept Roadie steady for about 6 hours of hard driving through incredible winds and dust. When we stopped in Deming NM, for our usual McDonalds break, the dust had attached itself to my face and my mouth was full of grit. Lovely!
We kept on to our destination of Tucson where the sun was shining and the winds were calm.