The White Sands desert in Alamogordo, New Mexico is something everyone should add to their bucket list. It is incredible.
We woke up early that morning, considering we had gained another hour after traveling in to mountain time and we were ahead of everyone. We fueled ourselves with coffee and payed our respects to Ham, the first chimp in space, who is buried in Alamogordo. And off to the White Sands we went.
Annie and I split up in the White Sands. I could see her running off in to the desert, looking so tiny in the grand scope of things, a little black pin prick climbing up and down the dunes. I sat on the top of one of the mounds, my feet dangling off a drop. I spied a woman in a red dress off in the distance, walking along a particuarly high peak. She was alone. I couldn't help but wonder what she was doing there, all by herself dressed in such regal attire. It wasn't hard to imagine she was some kind of temptress, a siren without song, luring people in to the desert. Each time you thought you'd caught up she'd be gone and appear again past the next five dunes. You'd follow her until civilization was long gone and the desert replaced it's beauty with an unbelievable sense of forboding. And you'd discover she'd never been there at all.
The desert can do many things. If you have never been to the desert you'll not be able to grasp the feeling of being surrounded by nothing. A friend of mine asked me how I could ever live in a city, he said, how do you ever feel alone? I told him I had a room, I could be alone there. He said, a room? I have the desert. My alone is much different than yours isn't it?
Another friend said it was hard to trust anyone in the desert. Or if you could trust someone in the desert that person was worthy of complete trust. You never know what someone can do when there is no chance of anyone watching or coming to find you.
I was so fueled with the thrill of being alive after leaving the White Sands Desert that I got my first speeding ticket. The guy was a total asshole. I cried. He treated me like an idiot. It wasn't pretty. I survived... we drove to Albequerque.
I had called an old friend of mine asking for a place to stay. I had gone to the Outdoor Academy with Alex and it had been years since we'd seen each other. The fit, chatty Alex that greeted us outside his small adobe house was nothing like the chubby quiet kid I'd known in the tenth grade, but friendly and hospitable still. We drank some beers and poked through his over grown garden for a bit. He had a couple friends over and I fell asleep in the car. I had grown to like it I suppose.
Next stop was Santa Fe, just an hour or so north of Albequerque. We ate an enormous traditional New Mexican green chili covered breakfast at The Frontier and hit the road.