Southern New Mexico offers snowlike sand, hot springs, sandhill cranes

Ed. Note: A dispatch from Columbus Ohio about our region.

When the rambling man inside your head threatens to grab the wheel, succumb: A good old-fashioned road trip does the soul good.

At least, that’s what I found when I flew to El Paso, Texas, and joined GeoBetty Tours for a spin through southeastern New Mexico.

We swept across drifting sands, climbed mountains, chilled alongside the Rio Grande and rambled through the desert, uncovering quirkiness and charm all along the way.

Our first stop was White Sands National Monument, a glistening, lunar eclipse of a park just outside Alamogordo where it can be like playing in the snow. We dragged saucer-shaped sleds up what looks like a hill of sugar and then rode them down, whooping and hollering all the way.

We also made sand angels, hiked across a series of sand ridges and followed a beetle trekking through the desolate terrain. The park also offers full-moon bike rides, sunrise photography tours and sunset strolls.

. . .

We wrapped up our road trip in Truth or Consequences, a funky little town that famously traded its original name of Hot Springs for the name of a game show in the 1950s. They should have kept the old name because the springs are what make this a town worth stopping to explore.

We stayed the night at Riverbend Hot Springs, a quirkily charming resort alongside the Rio Grande. We spent the evening relaxing in the stone-lined, spring-fed tubs, twiddling our toes in the piping-hot water, watching the stars pop out and listening to the coyotes yap.

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