Friday, 5 March 2010

Winter Olympics!

We didn’t have a TV, so we missed out on most of the outlandish costumes, make-up and drama of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

So we decided to hold our own Games, 60 or so miles outside Las Cruces, New Mexico, at White Sands National Monument.

Measuring 275 square miles, the dune field is made entirely of gypsum sand evaporated from nearby piles of gypsum crystals and then blown by the wind into rising meringue-like peaks.

(All you have to do is pretend you’re not next to the Missile Range, or Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb was tested. The Monument closes on missile testing days). Also nearby – and less scary – are White Sands Space Harbor, a NASA Test Facility, the Sunspot Solar Observatory and the town of Truth or Consequences.

Sledding is encouraged here, so we spent the afternoon whizzing down the dunes on a plastic purple saucer purchased at the Visitor Center.

Everyone had a go, solo and with up to three riders – headfirst and feet-first, on backs and fronts. Boring a path into our favorite dune, we achieved infinite speeds, setting our own imaginary records and screaming with glee. With the world as her sandbox, Lulu had a blast.

As we were leaving, Daniel couldn’t help himself, leaping out of the car to complete an individual sand-surfing event with only the oncoming sunset to support him.

I was too worried to capture that one on video, but we did get some other events - see below.


  1. Hi, I just linked to your blog from FOTR and wish I'd done so sooner - it seems our paths have just crossed, we left White Sands last week and are heading west, staying in Tucson this week.

    We're Brits ( and have been on the road for 7 months, working our way back to our home in PA by next August.

    Enjoy the journey, it would've been nice to have chatted over a cuppa!


  2. Ali, thanks for getting in touch.
    Such a shame we didn't meet. Since White Sands, we've sped across I don't know how many states and are now within relative spitting distance of my parents in New York.
    You will have to look us up next time you're in the UK, it would be fun to compare experiences.

  3. Are you heading back to the UK after NY?
    We plan to be back in PA by mid-August but will probably be back in UK for a couple of weeks in the autumn.
    You've definitely been moving at speed, still chilly in NY?!
    We're in sunny San Diego this week, wonderful fun at Legoland yesterday for homeschool day, hard to get back into the school zone today though!

  4. Would be great to meet up, let's email to arrange.