After a year of sitting pretty much inside, not really but it felt like it, Llama and companions decided to get out of town. Karol and Michael liks that they can drive to some really cool places in about 5 hours from their home. Llama could have gone to places he had been – Ruidoso (save that cool for the summer heat), OKC (still too chilly), Central Texas (nah, didn’t really want to feel forced to see folks), DFW (oh hell no) – so he picked a place he hadn’t stayed in and had outdoor activities to do: Las Cruses, New Mexico.
Las Cruses is a nice 5-hour drive and plenty to see between here and there. The first part of the driving was through the flat plains of West Texas. Though Llama likes the plains, this area in March, before crops, is pretty unimpressive: flat, dusty, and lots of oil/gas pumpjacks.
Crossing the state line into New Mexico, not much changes for awhile. If not for the road conditions changing (NM is known for its bad roads) and change in road signs, you wouldn’t know you were in a different state.
Continuing the drive took Llama through Artesia, NM. Scattered throughout the city are bronze sculptures. This is a main street project. Nine sculptures throughout the main area of town pay honor to the heritage of the area. https://www.artesiamainstreet.com/history-in-bronze
Artestia actually has a nice main street. Could be good for an day or overnight stay.
Also in Artesia is Abo Elementary School. Llama saw this listed on the National Parks Service site and HAD TO STOP!
“It was the first public school in the United States constructed entirely underground and equipped to function as an advanced fallout shelter. Designed at the height of the Cold War and completed in 1962, the school had a concrete slab roof which doubled as the school’s playground. It contained a large storage facility with room for emergency rations and supplies for up to 2,160 people.” (Source https://www.nps.gov/places/abo_school-nm.htm)
The new elementary school is right next door. Llama would have LOVED to go inside but it is closed to the public. The school held classes there until 1995! Wow, I can not even imagine going to school all day, everyday, entirely underground. Not only the terror of the Cold War (I do remember that) but no idea what the weather is, any sun light, fresh air…….
Leaving Artesia behind, Llama and crew headed on toward White Sands but there were still things to see before they reached the shimmering sands in the distance.
Time to press on……..
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