Ruidoso to White Sands National Monument - Monday, October 8, Columbus Day
7:30 Meet at the hotel lobby for the daily meeting. Day’s Director David McLain
MCM Elegante Ruidoso to McGinn’s Pistachio Grove - 46 miles
Depart 8 am, Arrive 9 am, Stay 1 hour
Browse gift shop and ride motorized tour, if desired.
McGinn’s to NM Museum of Space History (9 miles) Depart 10 am, Arrive 10:20 am.
Arrive museum to browse at your leisure, depart for lunch, and other activities, as desired.
NM Museum of Space History to check in at Marriott Fairfield Inn (6 miles)
Marriott Fairfield Inn to White Sands National Monument (15 miles)
Depart 3 pm, Arrive 3:20 visitor center and gift shop. Depart 4 pm for National Monument. Walking sunset tour at 5:30, if interested.
Monday, 8 October, Columbus Day
Much like the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, we will set out on discovery of new adventures of tree nuts, space history, and the intriguing white sands of southern New Mexico. This leg of the tour departs from Ruidoso with the first stop at the McGinn’s Pistachio Land. Extra caution on this leg must be observed as wildlife (deer and elk) is often seen crossing the road ways. After a brief visit at the pistachio grove, we will continue on to the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Once at the museum, you are on your own time to browse the space history, or if you care to venture on to other activities in the local area. This will also be an opportunity for you to enjoy lunch on your own at a place of your choosing (a brief list of local area restaurants is included). Next, you can make your way to the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites to check in, freshen up and regroup. We will meet back up in the lounge at the Marriott to caravan to the White Sands National Monument. This will conclude the scheduled activities, with dinner on your own and socializing during the evening at the Marriott.
McGinn’s Pistachio Grove: There is an optional motorized farm tour that departs every hour and lasts for about 15 minutes. This offers a firsthand look at how the trees are grown and harvested. They have a great little gift shop, complete with free samples of various products. There is also a winery and an ice cream parlor in case anyone wants to try early morning refreshments. No, I am not advocating for drivers to sample the wine!
New Mexico Museum of Space History: The mission of the museum is to educate the people of New Mexico and our visitors from around the world in the history, science, and technology of space. The museum stresses the significant role that the state of New Mexico has played in the development of the U.S. Space Program through collecting, preserving, and interpreting significant artifacts relevant to the history of space. The museum includes the International Space Hall of Fame, John P. Stapp Air and Space Park, Daisy Track, New Horizons Dome Theater and Planetarium, Astronaut Memorial Garden and the Hubbard Space Science Research Building. Museum fees are $8 for adults, or $7 for seniors. Additionally, there are other activities in the museum which include a film for $7 and planetarium for $5. They also offer various combo packages at discounts; for example, the combo for all three is $16 for adult, or $13 for seniors.
White Sands National Monument: Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dune field. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dune field, along with the plants and animals that live here. The further you drive into the site, the greater the dunes become, transitioning from the desert vegetation to the pure white flowing sand. There is a sunset stroll that you can enjoy on your own that begins at 5:30 and lasts for about an hour. This is a great way to end your day by enjoying a leisurely one-hour ranger-guided walk through sand dunes to learn about the geology, plants, and animals of this unique area.
There is a visitor’s center and gift shop outside of the park entrance, so if you choose not to enter the park, you can browse at your leisure. Fees do apply to get into the National Monument. Normal adult fee is $5 per person. Holders of the Interagency Annual Pass, Interagency Senior Pass, Interagency Access Pass, Interagency Volunteer Pass, and White Sands Annual Pass will be admitted free along with three other adults in a private non-commercial vehicle.
Things to consider: hat, sunglasses, water, sunscreen, lite jacket, cell phone.