Gordon and Ellen stand in front of their CJ-3B Tractor Bob. A name thought up by their grandson, who is an avid reader of eWillys, Tractor Bob isn’t Mr. Reliable. Apparently on more than one occasion a jaunt about Silver City in Tractor Bob meant a relaxing hitchhike home. Therefore, Ann and I thank Gordon and Ellen for taking a chance and driving Bob to meet us for dinner and a narrated walk around the wonderful town of Silver City.
Before I share Wednesday’s fun, let me comment on the La Quinta Inn in Las Cruces . . . On Tuesday night when we arrived at the La Quinta Inn in Las Cruces (did I mention the La Quinta Inn??), we were surprised to discover that when we got to our hotel room, it hadn’t been cleaned (pizza boxes piled on a table and the beds remained unmade). Now, while I knew I’d gotten a great price on the room using Priceline, I did have an expectation the room would be clean. So, I went back to the desk and asked for a different room.
The mortified desk clerk apologized and quickly gave us a new room. Off to the second room we went (just a few doors down from the first one). We unpacked, then I went into the bathroom, only to discover there were no tissues in the dispenser (I really don’t give a rip, but in this case it wasn’t a good sign) and there was melted ice in the ice bucket container from the previous guests, meaning this room hadn’t been cleaned/restocked very carefully. While we were too tired to complain, I did check out the bed to make sure the sheets were clean.
Wednesday morning at checkout, I explained our poor experience to the morning clerk. Like the evening clerk, the morning clerk was mortified. She promised to address the situation and told me I’d receive a coupon in my email to make up for the poor experience we’d had. When I checked my email I discovered that the La Quinta Inn felt our poor experience warranted a whole $5 discount. It’s fair to say I remain unimpressed. Did I mention that was the La Quinta Inn in Las Cruces???
However, we didn’t let our La Quinta Inn experience dampen our mood. Our goal for the day was to get to the White Sands Missile Range Museum and then head over to Silver City.
The Museum was a pleasant surprise. Even the price was reasonable (free). The museum is divided into two interior sections and an exterior missile park. We started with the main interior portion. One of the first exhibits we encountered was an original Darth Vader mask. Apparently, the guy who won the Oscar for the Star Wars (for you young folks I am referring to Star Wars Episode IV) sound effects obtained a variety of sounds from the missile range, so he managed to get the Darth Vader mask donated to the museum. Nice bit of trivia!
Ann was very excited about all the missile stuff. She was particularly interested in the specifics of the device in this case. She stayed hunched over this exhibit for several minutes, fascinated by it. She attempted to explain some part of it to me and did this with her hands.
But, this wasn’t just missile history. There were other smaller exhibits. For example, there was a very small, but interesting exhibit on the Apache fight with the U.S. Soldiers during the 1880s. One of the soldiers involved in the fighting was very sympathetic about the Apache situation, noting the Apache had been lied to far too many times and had no choice but to fight, even likening them to the American Revolutionaries fighting for the right to their land. It was an interesting perspective from a small, but good exhibit.
Another small, but powerful exhibit was a series of paintings done by Benjamin Charles Steele, who survived the Bataan Death March and Japanese prison camp. He drew sketches while a POW, but they were destroyed. So, after the war, he got a degree in art and recreated the paintings. The paintings coupled with concise descriptions tell a powerful story of his (and many others) experience as a POW in the Pacific Theatre.
These paintings line the entire room.
It was hard to take a good photo of it due to the glass. This shows the burial detail to which Benjamin was assigned.