The final leg of our trek from Edwards to Fort Worth started just outside Alamogordo, New Mexico. We showed up in the mid afternoon and quite naturally stopped in to the White Sands National Monument visitor center. Elizabeth got the passport stamp and I learned about a ranger led walk on the sand dunes. Most ranger talks are good, but Ranger Michelle was outstanding. Walking the dunes on your own is a mistake - we learned so much more about the area from Ranger Michelle. Had we more time, we would have spent time sled-riding down the dunes (NPS condoned) or taken a longer walk. Sunset over the dunes was filled with awesome hues.
For dinner, we tried Memories Restaurant in Alamogordo. This restaurant is on the first floor of a residential house/inn, decorated with a random assortment of old glassware. That aside, the food was solid (bonus points for the green chili soup) and the service was on par with what I'd expect from a fancy spot. It's the best restaurant I've found in Alamogordo to date.
Holloman AFB 's lodging is fine - USAF standard.
When in Alamogordo, be sure to check out the world's largest pistachio nut (and other area pistachio growers). Several have small visitor areas and pistachio tasting bars. There's also the New Mexico Museum of Space. We didn't stop on this trip because I've been before. But for a first-timer, it's a must-see. They have the burial site of Ham, the first space chimp and a most impressive meteority collection.
We pushed on to Roswell, New Mexico and visited the International UFO Museum. They have a military discount, but you may feel a little odd showing your ID at a place that suggests military conspiracy in the UFO matter. There isn't much else to do in Roswell. But if you've got time to jog 20 miles south to Dexter, visit the Dexter National Fish Hatchery. You can call Michelle Bell and arrange a tour. We missed the tour, but will probably try if we head back that way.
From Roswell to Fort Worth, the travel story becomes less exciting. We planned to overnight in Lubbock TX to visit the windmill museum, Buddy Holly Center and prairie dog park. But instead, we had a burst of energy and make it to Abilene. There, we stayed with a college/grad school/USAF friend named Kelsey. It was good to catch up with her after a long trip of strangers. We dined at a place called Little Italy and had such good conversation, we closed the place down. Their claim to fame is an outstanding sundried tomato salad dressing.
The following day, Elizabeth and I drove the blue Toyota Matrix along I-30 to the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth. Our trek to Texas was over. The trip marked our first inter-state road trip as a couple. And this opportunity to explore a part of the American Southwest did not disappoint. I'm happy to say that we're now road-trip partners and look forward to our next trip together.