It IS Rocket Science at White Sands Missile Park in NM

November 2015 – In our RV travels across New Mexico, we made a fun pit stop at White Sands Missile Range where there is a unique outdoor Missile Park. But before I show you some of the missiles of yesteryear, I have a few more photos to share from our stop in the metal art haven of Tatum, New Mexico.

After 8 months of RVing in the eastern states, it was here that we saw our first really huge, colorful and expressive skies that are so common in the west. Sunsets filled the sky from corner to corner, leaving no part of it untouched by vibrant color…

Sunset in Tatum New Mexico

Vivid color fills the sky at sunset

…on another day, the brooding skies of an incoming storm filled the air with an eerie feeling and then brought a deluge of rain.

Brooding skies in Tatum New Mexico

Dark and mysterious clouds blanket the heavens

And then there were the fun metal art signs, two of which stand on opposite sides of Eubanks Street in Tatum. In the first, a cowboy approaches his mule with a friendly greeting in hopes of getting some cooperation from the stubborn beast…

Metal art sign Eubanks St Tatum New Mexico

Howdy Y’All

In the second, the mule kicks him clear over the moon!

Metal art street sign Eubanks St Tatum New Mexico


The metal art in Tatum was such fun. When we drove out of town, we noticed the back of the “Welcome to Tatum New Mexico” sign bidding us goodbye in Spanish:

Hasta Luego metal art sign Tatum New Mexico

See ya later, Tatum!

Driving along US-380 we saw lots of ranches with cool metal art signs at the entrances. The Johnson Cattle Company has everything from a turkey vulture sitting on a windmill to Wiley Coyote and The Roadrunner on opposite sides of “The Needmore Outfit.”

This ranch was so big that there were several similar signs at different mile markers along the edge of their property.

Johnson Cattle Ranch metal art Sign New Mexico


Another biggie was for LA Ranch:

Carpenter Graham LA Ranch metal art sign New Mexico

The roundup…

As we approached the mountains, we discovered that the rain that had drenched us in the flatlands had dumped a bunch of snow in mountain peaks. This was the first snowfall of the season and looked very dramatic in the distance at the end of our rippling road.

New Mexico snow capped mountains US-380

A first snow covers the mountains

Soon we were passing White Sands where the drifts of sand looked like snow.

Fall color on US-380 New Mexico

The sand at White Sands (is it snow?)

We noticed a sign for White Sands Missile Range and decided to drive down that road, not knowing quite what to expect.

White Sands Missile Range Logo


What fun it was to discover that there is an outdoor missile park at the White Sands Missile Range. Missile testing has gone on at this range for decades. Set out on pads, as if in a rock garden or on a pin cushion, a bunch of old, outdated missiles aim at the sky.

Missile Park White Sands Missile Range Museum

The White Sands Missile Park is a playground full of old missiles that were once tested here.

There are missiles of all kinds, dating from the 1950’s to the 1990’s.

Missile at White Sands Missile Park New Mexico

Missiles come in all shapes and sizes. Some are square and boxy….

White Sands Missile Range Missile Park New Mexico

…others are tall and skinny!

You can walk freely among them, and there is a plaque next to each one explaining what it was and when it was tested at White Sands.

Tank Missile Park White Sands Missile Range Museum

Some have moveable launch pads

White Sands Missile Park New Mexico

And some have sizable fins

Missiles with familiar names like Pershing and Patriot are on display here, along with lots of lesser known missiles. There is a museum too, but we happened to have come on a Sunday which is the only day that the museum is closed. Oh well…Next time!

White Sands Missile Park New Mexico

Yes, it IS Rocket Science here at White Sands Missile Range!

Whenever we visit New Mexico, we always see unusual things, whether it’s exotic rock formations or alien visitors or funky metal art or white sand beaches. The Missile Park fit right into that crazy theme.

But even better was the usual City of Rocks that lay just ahead…

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