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New Mexico - Day 2 - Trinity Site & White Sands National Monument
4 April 2015
The Trinity Site is only open to the public 1 or 2 days each year. We happened to be around on such a day so we couldn't pass up the rare chance to visit the historic (and somber) place where the atomic age was born. For those who aren't familiar, Trinity is the site where the very first atomic bomb was detonated almost exactly 70 years ago. The site is now part of the Army's White Sands Missile Range. In the afternoon we travelled to White Sands National Monument. It's an amazing place. Miles and miles of fine white gypsum sand make you feel like you're out in the snow. The kids sledding down the massive white dunes add to the illusion. Of course, you eventually realize they're all in shorts and t-shirts with no snow boots or mittens in sight. We climbed some of the dunes and took in the sights.

(click any photo for a larger version)

DAY 1 | NEW MEXICO INDEX | DAY 3
2-001 Welcome to Socorro Sign 2-002 M Mountain 2-003 M Mountain
Socooro is a small yet interesting city
The M on the mountain represents the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
The M on the mountain represents the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
2-004 US-380 2-005 Cow 2-007 Jumbo
I'm not used to being able to see a road go on for so many miles
You never know when you might see a cow along the road
Jumbo was built to contain the bomb in case of a failed explosion, but was never used
2-010 Jumbo 2-011 Direction Sign 2-012 Mountains
Jumbo was built to contain the bomb in case of a failed explosion, but was never used
Pointing out all of the important spots at the Trinity Site
The view from ground zero at the Trinity Site
2-013 Cactus 2-014 Trinitite 2-016 Trinity Site Obelisk
Just a (possibly radioactive) cactus
Trinitite was formed when the sand at the Trinity Site melted in the heat of the nuclear explosion
This obelisk marks the center of ground zero of the Trinity Site nuclear explosion
2-018 Tower Footing 2-019 Trinity Site Obelisk 2-020 Trinity Site
The remains of a footing from the 100 foot tower that held the bomb
This obelisk marks the center of ground zero of the Trinity Site nuclear explosion
Crowds gather at the Trinity Site
2-022 Trinity Site 2-024 Fat Man Bomb Casing 2-025 Fat Man Bomb Casing
Crowds gather at the Trinity Site
This bomb casing is the same type used for the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan
This bomb casing is the same type used for the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan
2-027 Alamogordo Caravan 2-028 McDonald Ranch House 2-031 McDonald Ranch Barn
This 300 car caravan travelled from Alamagordo to the Trinity Site
The the nuclear device tested at the Trinity Site was assembled in the McDonald Ranch House
The remains of the McDonald Ranch House's barn
2-032 McDonald Ranch Barn 2-033 McDonald Ranch Barn 2-034 McDonald Ranch Windmill Tower
The remains of the McDonald Ranch House's barn
The remains of the McDonald Ranch House's barn
This tower once held the windmill at the McDonald Ranch House
2-036 McDonald Ranch House Interior 2-037 McDonald Ranch House Gate 2-038 McDonald Ranch House Gate
The the nuclear device tested at the Trinity Site was assembled in the McDonald Ranch House
Not exactly the secure gate you might expect at the site of the assembly of the world's first nuclear bomb
Not exactly the secure gate you might expect at the site of the assembly of the world's first nuclear bomb
2-039 McDonald Ranch House 2-041 McDonald Ranch Pool 2-044 Mountains
The the nuclear device tested at the Trinity Site was assembled in the McDonald Ranch House
The men working on the Trinity Site device used this as a swimming pool. There were probbaly fewer cacti in it then.
The view from The McDonald Ranch House
2-046 Radiation Warning Sign 2-047 Oryx Sign 2-048 Owl Bar
The radiation remaining at the Trinity Site is minimal
We did not get to see an Oryx roaming White Sands Missile Range but we watched for them
The Owl Bar and Cafe in San Antonio is known for its green chile cheeseburger
2-049 Owl Bar Sign 2-050 Green Chile Cheeseburger 2-051 Lava Field
The Owl Bar and Cafe in San Antonio is known for its green chile cheeseburger
The green chile cheeseburger that put the Owl Bar and Cafe on the map. It was delicious!
The black on the ground is a 5000 year old lava field
2-052 Lava Field 2-055 Lava Field 2-056 Lava Field
The black on the ground up ahead is a 5000 year old lava field
Driving through a 5000 year old lava field
The black on the ground is a 5000 year old lava field
2-057 Giant Pistachio 2-058 McGinn's Pistachio Ranch 2-060 White Sands National Monument Sign
Roadside America at its best… a giant pistachio at McGinn's Pistachio Ranch
We brought home from pistachios from McGinn's Pistachio Ranch
Entering White Sands National Monument
2-061 Dunes 2-062 Road and Dunes 2-063 Road and Dunes
Suddenly the sand changes from brown to white as you enter White Sands National Monument
Driving through White Sands National Monument
Driving through White Sands National Monument
2-066 Boardwalk 2-068 Dunes 2-069 Dunes
The boardwalk at White Sands National Monument
Clearly plenty of animals scurry up and down the dunes
It's amazing to see so much white sand in the middle of the desert
2-072 Dune Grass 2-076 Dunes 2-077 Dunes
Dune grass
Interesting plant life on the dunes
The wind leaves brilliant patterns on the dunes
2-078 Dunes 2-079 Road and Dunes 2-080 Kids on Dunes
This view makes you feel like you're at the beach, even though the closest ocean is hundreds of miles away
Driving through White Sands National Monument
People sledding on the dunes only adds to the impression that you're surrounded by snow
2-081 Dunes 2-083 Mom on Dune 2-084 Mom on Dune
People sledding on the dunes only adds to the impression that you're surrounded by snow
My mother high atop a sand dune
My mother high atop a sand dune
2-085 Dunes 2-086 Michael on Dune 2-087 Michael on Dune
This area of the dunes is packed solid enough to ride horses on it
I'm on a dune!
Climbing the dunes was fun and good exercise!
2-088 Michael on Dune 2-090 Van 2-091 Van
Way up on top of a high dune!
The rental car saw a lot of diverse locatons on this trip
It's cool how they have to plow the roads as if they were snow covered
2-093 Mountains 2-094 Alamogordo Sign 2-095 Mountains
Headed through the desert along the permimeter of White Sands Missile Range
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Headed through the desert along the permimeter of White Sands Missile Range
2-096 Mountain and Sun 2-097 Train & Mountains 2-098 Sunset
The desert sun
Trains crisscross the desert
A spectacular New Mexican desert sunset
2-099 Lava Rock 2-100 Lava Rock 2-101 El Camino Family Restaurant Sign
This lava rock is part of a 5000 year old lava field
This lava rock is part of a 5000 year old lava field
El Camino Family Restaurant in Socorro is a diner that serves delicious New Mexican cuisine

GO TO DAY 3

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