Day 7 : Sandy NutsJune 4, 2016 in the United States
When planning-out our expedition, in order to ensure we completed our circuit in the allotted time we set a series of fixed-points in time which, a la Doctor Who, we absolutely positively couldn't change (unless a blonde girl from London asked reeeeeeally nicely). It was also accepted that there would be variables ripe for inclusion discovered along the way, but for such diversions to be worthy of our visitation they should ideally meet the criteria of being 'The World's Blank-iest Blank'.
Our first stop today was to be one of these such locations. Technically it was our third stop; our first being one we chose; for breakfast (I personally find breakfast to be the best choice for resolving those pesky morning hunger pangs) and our second being somewhat obligatory; any failure to stop potentially inviting a barrage of good-old American freedom-infused bullets. The Border Patrol pulled us aside for being suspiciously English; our accents insufficient to evidence our nationality and ESTA status we were required to present our passports, which for me necessitated a partial unpacking of my suitcase on the New-Mexican highway.
After taking various DNA and other samples for their records they permitted us to leave and we proceeded onwards North towards the above-trailed 'Blank-iest Blank' location. To maintain the gripping suspense, assuming I haven't used a picture of it as the primary blog photo, I shall reveal the blanks sequentially. The first Blank is 'large', so therefore 'large-ist'...or 'largest' to use the actual English.
The second blank...'Pistachio'. I'm not sure exactly who, if anybody, keeps track of these things ; there was no Guinness certification to be seen (they would likely take issue with the fact that it isn't actually a nut, but instead some sort of nut-shaped monument, constructed in honour of the great Nut God and used for weekly Nut-themed worship, ritual and sacrifice as the owners would have no-doubt told me if I'd asked), but I'm more than happy to accept this to be the biggest Pistachio in the world purely on the basis that I expect the particular mental irregularity that prompts a person to build a huge nut in their yard is sufficiently rare for this to be an isolated case.
'Pistachio Land' most definitely exceeded what minimal expectations a name such as 'Pistachio Land' generates. We swarmed around the 'free samples' bar, a phenomenal sales technique that induces obligation on the part of the sampler to purchase. Not that adherence to this consumer convention was necessary for our wallets to be pried open; the samples were delicious and we each walked out with bags of flavoured Pistachios. Luke almost bought the 'Atomic Brittle', a particularly spicy pistachio brittle, but found the sample too spicy and had to drink lots of water and cry in the corner for a while. I purchased the 'Chili Chocolate' brittle which was less spicy than the 'Atomic' stuff but 100% more chocolatey. We also all had some ice-cream before going; the pistachio-flavoured type agreed as the best amongst those of us that tried it - Luke having now developed a psychological aversion to pistachios opting for the safe and definitively un-nutty vanilla.
Next stop was 'White Sands National Monument', which absolutely isn't a monument but is instead a small-by-America-standards but massive-by-our-standards desert in South-East New Mexico. Must confess; when Mark suggested going to the place I wasn't overly-excited, expecting it to be something that could be experienced in any desert with a greyscale filter-lens. But how wrong I and my monochrome camera kit would have been - White Sands was, to re-use the one and only adjective I can muster in such circumstances, stunning.
See, it's not about the whiteness of the sand at all; though they are exceeding white (Daz, eat your detergent-y heart out). I genuinely believe the sweeping, majestic dunes of White Sands would be as equally impressive were they bright orange, powder-blue or a Clan MacGregor tartan pattern circa 1730 with fluorescent green highlights. No, as with many things; it's not the size, colour or slight bend at the end that matters - it's how you use it.
Dunes naturally have a slight bend at the end, totally cleaning up that comment, which is essential for providing the means for deceleration upon reaching the bottom. See, we didn't just drive through, walk round or taste the white dunes. We didn't do the last one at all (imagine they'd be salty). But instead we found the biggest, steepest dune and flung ourselves down it in a plastic dustbin lid.
The technique was initially hard to master. After an unspectacular first attempt by Luke and Mark, Woody and I decided to try jumping forwards from the peak and land on our bin-lids mid-flight to enhance forwards thrust upon landing. Didn't work, unless by 'work' you mean 'to discover an efficient means of getting a sore arse', in which case you define 'work' very oddly and should probably seek help.
We eventually sorted it and enjoyed several slides down the dunes and endured an equal number of awkward treks back up the dune between goes, not counting the first trek up the dune which obviously couldn't be between goes as it preceded the first go, albeit this was likely implied and such pedantic clarification is a waste of both my time, your time and the finite bytes the internet can store, presuming the Internet can be said to 'store' information in 'bytes' and not in some larger unit and I know that even if larger units are used then technically these larger units could be reduced to bytes but, think about it, when you say you've got a pot of pepper in the pantry, assuming you have a pantry and don't just use a cupboard, but wherever you store your pepper, if you were to be asked if you had a pot of pepper, or salt if you prefer, you would say 'yes, I've got a pot of pepper' or 'yes, I've got a pot of salt' depending on your preference, though you'd probably say 'shaker of salt' instead of 'pot of salt' or at least I would as I have an affinity for alliteration, you wouldn't express the volume of pepper in terms of the number of peppercorns in the pot, or mill/grinder as would actually be needed to dispense pepper from its peppercorn form though these terms don't alliterate as nicely, or salt-rocks in the shaker which, too, would need to be a mill/grinder to be of any use, unless you're one of those people that buy ground in which case a pot or shaker would suffice and you would find it even more difficult to express your quantities of condiment in terms of their individual component parts and so would, in common with those with mills/grinders, would likely if asked simply respond with 'yes, I've got SOME pepper or salt' depending on preference, possibly enquire as to their unhealthy interest in your stocks of seasonings when you'd not even offered them dinner and re-evaluate your acquaintanceship with them and therefore we had a great time on the White Sands dunes and I'd likely go back if I was ever again in the area.
After sledding down the dunes we also took a walk on the 'boardwalk' section, where it was quickly discovered that we could generate static charge simply by walking on the boards without touching the handrail. Except Luke for some reason. Thusly and logically the game became 'shock Luke', which he appreciated immensely. Though I suffered the biggest shock upon handing Mark the car keys on departure, karma eh? (Or 'Car-ma'...ah-ha-ha-ha-ha).
From White Sands the intention was to drive in the direction of 'Tombstone' which we plan to visit on Day 8. We stopped for dinner at a retail park where we tried to go to an Applebees, but despite it smelling delicious when we entered the foyer they had the gall to expect us to wait twenty minutes for a table. We instead crossed the road to a 'Jack-in-the-Box' and had yet another though by far the best burger of the trip so far. Except Luke.
We drove for a couple of hours and stopped in a small town called 'Lordsbergh', famous for being the place we slept last night.Read more