Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We hit the road, to “Las Cruces”…

It was only about 76 miles, to hit Las Cruces today, but we decided we would go and stay overnight, and see what it has to offer.  It was a beautiful day today again, lots of sun, starting off a bit cool, but turned out great!  Just the way I like it!

We decided that we would stop and visit the White Sand’s Missile Range, which is on the road over to Las Cruces.  We are glad we did, as they have a great Museum to visit, for the price of a donation which we gladly made!  The Museum explained the whole history behind the Missile Base, and had lots of artefacts' to show us.  We ended up spending over 2 hours there this morning, and enjoyed it all.

Oh ya, and we took a few pictures… after we were warned by the Guards, that all our outside shots had to have Mountains in the background, and now the Missile Range!  OK…. augh… no problem…. please don’t put me in Military Jail!

Ok, here we go, this first picture is the whole reason for the White Sand Base… the V-2 Rocket that the Americans ended up with from the Germans during the 2nd World War.  They brought it here to test it out!   The Germans fired 1,800 of these onto England, mostly on London, killing over 8,000 people during the war, and wounding 25,000.  Hitler thought the British and the Allies would surrender after the rockets started, however they did not, and in the end, the overall consensus was that it was not a major weapon during the war!


Most people will recognize the picture below from the Star Wars Movies… who wouldn’t…  Seems the sound people (Lucas Films) came out to White Sands, and recorded a number of rockets and missiles taking off, to use the sound in the Movie, and win an Academy Award in the process! 


This is one of the earlier test units… hand held!


The big white thing below is how they filmed all the missile tests… it gave all the info they needed to analyse the event…


The Missile Dogs…  these two dogs were the first on the base, used to locate misses after they came back to earth!  They would spray a scent on the parts, that the dogs could detect.  They were 96% successful, and were used until 1965! 


The panel below was the main launch panel used up into the 60’s… it gave all the info needed to make a good “launch”…


In the mid-60’s, they did some testing on the range with laser lights… this half inch steel plate, was melted by a laser, in just less than 30 seconds!


A lot of the testing over the years, was to try and shoot down flying, and moving targets… eg. planes, tanks, trucks…  this control panel below would control all the remote targets, like planes, or trucks or tanks, out on the range for them to shoot at.  It was used until the mid 70’s…



This is the one that took over from the unit above…


They were prepared for an atomic bomb attack… these containers were meant to sustain you in the underground bunkers… yikes…remember, this was the 60’s…




Oh, and they gave everyone the book on how to survive!


On June 5 , 1963, JFK visited White Sands Base… he remains the only active President to visit this base… they fired off 7 rockets for him to watch while he was here! 


They received a nice picture and flag from NASA for the 1982 landing of Columbia Space Shuttle at White Sands, which turned out to be the only landing… Florida was nothing but rain, and Edwards AFB, in California, had the dry lake runway flooded at the time by rain.  Judy and I toured Edwards last year!


Many different type of missiles were launched and tested here…


The picture below is the first Atomic Bomb, that was tested just north of here on what is now known as the Trinity Site…



We continued the tour outside and first off, was the Patriot Missile System, which they were very proud of testing  on this range.  It can shoot down incoming missiles and planes…


The outdoor missile range, is like a playground of toys… they had just about everything here… check out the nice sky today! (yup, we are OK, mountains in the background)



OK, now check this out below… they developed this machine to make a safe landing on the planet Mars, many years ago!  They tested this over at Roswell, NM.   Does this ring any bells with anyone???? Hello????  What landed at Roswell????


So, we are back to the reason for the White Sands Missile Base… the captured V-2 Rocket from Germany.  This is one of the few, if not the only original V-2 Rocket.  It was made in Mittelwerk, Germany, in 1944, and was captured by American Troops in 1945. It was sent to White Sands, to be studied.  The Americans built their rocket program off of this Rocket!  It is an important piece of history, and is treated like that!


This is the building the Rocket is housed in, built only for the V-2!


We left White Sands, and made our way into Las Cruces… got settled in our RV Park, and decided to go on a tour in Downtown Old Masilla… what a bunch of history here…

This old area, has been restored and made into shops, and restaurants, etc… for the tourist!  A great idea.


It is all original… a nice place to visit.


Now check out the pic below… it is true!


This is the building… there are a number of buildings here the Kid hung out at… he only lived to 22 years of age though…


This afternoon, Judy and I had a great skype call with Kristina and Gwenny… we snapped a  pic off the computer to give you all your Gwenny FIX…

She is kind of thinking… “How did you get in this box Granny”???


Video call snapshot 24

Another busy day, but we are having a blast!  Who knows what tomorrow will bring???

Till tomorrow…


  1. we are all stuck in the 'boxes', Gwenny, not just Gramma!!

  2. That was a great tour. Thanks.

  3. Another nice tour and pictures we have really enjoyed you sharing your visit their. New Mexico is definitely on our list of things to see. Gwenny is growing so much. You have a beautiful family. Now get ready for the Leafs and Nashville tonight, hoping you get a win!