Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fun Places and Facts Alamogordo and Las Cruces New Mexico

While we have been in the Alamogordo area we have been to some fun places and learned some interesting facts.

New Mexico Museum of Space History

Best thing about it – Burial place of HAM – world's first AstroChimp! He is buried at the base of the flag poles. There was no marker when we were there as the Boy Scouts had taken it to be polished. 

HAM's Burial Place
New Mexico Space Museum

Next best thing about it – finding out that when Stennis Space Center (which happens to be in Hancock County Mississippi where we now live) was built the residents of 5 communities had to be relocated. Was surprised to see anything about Hancock County in a museum in New Mexico.

Pistachio Farms

Eagle Ranch Pistachio Farm

Took a tour – learned that the climate of Alamogordo is pretty close to identical to that of Iran – the world's largest pistachio producer.

These will be harvested in September
He was harvested 72 years ago

Can you imagine sorting pistachio nuts by hand 8 hours per day?
Not quite ripe
(or is that "not quite right"?)
Then at McGinn's Pistachio Farm we saw – The World's Largest Pistachio

98% of the pistachios produced in the U.S. are grown in California.

African Oryx

Did you know that in the United States, New Mexico specifically there are wild Oryx?

I did not take these pictures.
We did not see any Oryx.
This African antelope was introduced to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The oryx was brought from the Kalahari Desert in Africa to an experimental range at Red Rock New Mexico. Federal law prohibits introducing a wild animal from another country into the wild in this country so offspring were obtained at this experimental range to introduce onto the White Sands Missile Range.

Between 1969 and 1977, 93 oryx were released on White Sands Missile Range. There are now about 3000 animals in residence. Annual hunts for the oryx began in 1974 on the Missile Range. Oryx can weigh up to 450 pounds. They stand 47 inches at the shoulder. Both males and females have horns that average 34 inches long. Their brown coloring with distinctive black and white markings allows them to hide among desert shrubs.

Las Cruces Veteran's Memorial

One of the nicest Veteran's Memorials we have seen. As this coming Monday is Memorial Day we thought it fitting to visit here. Besides a memorial wall there is Bataan Death March Memorial which was quite moving. Two larger than life size Soldiers support a third Soldier between them and on the ground in front of them are footprints from actual New Mexicans that survived the Death March and subsequent internment at the hands of the Japanese.
Las Cruces Veteran's Memorial Park
In Las Cruces – saw The World's Largest Chili Pepper

47 feet long and 2.5 tons of concrete (Monte stayed in the car).

Germans at Holloman Air Force Base

We have been camped at the FamCamp at Holloman AFB in Alamogordo.  We were surprised that we, the U.S., host the German Air Force here on a permanent basis. 
The German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAF FTC) contingent at Holloman Air Force Base currently consists of 680 military personnel plus families. The program is structured to train German Air Force pilots to fly TORNADO Fighter Aircraft.
And thus ends our stay in Alamogordo.

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