The White Sands Desert National Monument sits in the White Sands Missile Range and we experienced both on our way from Alamogordo to Garden Valley (just south of Tucson). We stopped at this amazing desert and could have stayed there all day. It was a totally new world with huge sand dunes made of sand as white as new snow.
Just west of White Sands, we were pulled over by the police. They were closing the highway because the military was test firing a missle across the highway up ahead. That one hour wait was fun, especially considering that it was a small price to pay for the security of knowing that our southern neighbours are all boned up on their missile technology. I'm amazed at the sizes and ubiquity of military installations in the area. But then, the NM, AZ desert has always been a vast, "empty" place suited to the testing and deployment of firepower, and it was at Los Alamos (just north of Santa Fe) that Robert Oppenheimer and his colleagues designed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Tomorrow, our friends will introduce us to Tucson and its environs. We won't go to Tombstone to witness a reenactment of the Shootout at the OK Corral; W. says he saw it and it's not worth the money. He did, however, tell me the story as he learned it, including the trial that followed in which Wyatt Earp and his two brothers along with Doc Holliday were charged with murdering the three men they were attempting to disarm. Quite a story. As W. said, the story after Hollywood is bigger than life.