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Anyone up for a 3-day road trip?


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I'm going on a 3-Day road trip to the VLA, Trinity site, White Sands National Monument., White Sands Museum, etc.

Anyone else want to join in the fun? :howdy

What's VLA and the Trinity Site you ask? Read on for more info and online links.




DAY 1 - Friday October 14th

Launch point - 7:00 AM from the Chevron station on the SE corner of the Goldfield Rd exit of US 60.

   We will stay on US 60 all the way to Socorro, NM, except for an 8 mile side trip to visit the VLA.
Breakfast in Globe - Cafe 60/Denny's 1535 E. South St on the N side of US 60.
Rest/potty stop - Salt River Canyon Rest Stop just before crossing the bridge over the river.
Show Low - Fuel/Rest stop and optional meet point IF you choose to go through Payson via AZ 87/260.
          (PM me for cell phone contact info re: est time & location to meet with real-time live updates)
Springerville - Lunch at McDonalds (at the 1st and only traffic light in town)
Pie Town, NM - stopping for 30 minutes to eat the best pies ever, at the Pie-O-Neer cafe. I'll probably (of course I will)

         have more than one. :eat:  Maybe even getting some to go. :partydance:
VLA - Very Large Array (VLA)      See: https://public.nrao.edu/visit/very-large-array/
         They are taking reservations only, so if you're interested, act quickly for the 2:00 to 3:00 PM entry on 10-14-22.
         NOTE: Please turn off cell phones and any GPS devices as we pass through the town of Datil and keep them off
         until you reach the town of Magdalena to reduce any additional radio wave disturbance to the array's antennas.
Socorro - Hotel of your choice. I suggest you make reservations early as some hotels are already full. Socorro is one of

the prime assembly points for trips to the Trinity Site. Dinner location to be chosen by the availability at the moment.


DAY 2 - Saturday October 15th

Breakfast in Socorro. Location yet to be determined.
Going from Socorro on I-25 to San Antonio then East on US 380 to NM 525 to Wsmr P Rt 7 to Wsmr P Rt 20

to the Trinity Site/McDonald house. It's roughly about 50 miles.   (Wsmr is White Sands Missile Range)


Trinity Site -  see: https://www.nps.gov/places/000/trinity-site.htm   That's the main attraction and primary reason

for this trip. It's the only opportunity to visit the site until next April. So the length of time spent there and any other

places you might want to visit, are left up to your own individual choices.


My personal choices include:
 1. Returning to US 380 and heading East to Carrizozo for lunch, with a short stop at the "Valley of Fires" on the way.
 2. Heading down US 54 to Alamogordo and then US 70 to visit the White Sands National Park.
 3. If time permits: Backing up to US 54 at US 82 to take a quick side trip to Cloudcraft and return.
 4. Continuing on US 70 to NM 213 and to the White Sands Missile Museum.
 5. Back onto US 70 to Organ to visit the Space Murals Museum
 6. Continuing on US 70 and to Las Cruces for dinner and hotel.


Some other choices of places of interest to visit in the general New Mexico area are: Carlsbad Caverns National Park,

Lincoln National Forest, Guadalupe Mountains National Park., Roswell, and more.

  If you need to get back home early from the Trinity Site, going back to I-25 and then South to I-10 via the Hatch

  shortcut, can get you back to the starting point in Apache Junction in less than 500 miles or 6+ hours driving time.


DAY 3 - Sunday October 16th

Heading West on I-10 to Lordsburg and a late breakfast or a second breakfast, if the one at the hotel wasn't enough.
Then US 70 with a rest stop in Duncan and on to Safford for lunch and continue to US 60 in Globe.
Arriving back in Apache Junction to say goodbye's to anyone who traveled along and then know their own way home.


The overall trip, using the same direction and stop choices as I posted, will be roughly 900 miles from AJ to AJ.


Got you curious now? Don't miss this fun trip.

So who is in ????

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I am IN for the first part of this trip, including the VLA and the Trinity Site, parting ways probably at Carrizozo NM on the second day. :thumbs


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3 hours ago, Extender32 said:

We would love to go on this run but my Son turns 30 on the 14th.


Celebrate on the 13th. . . :thumbs

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Sounds like an awesome trip. I've been wanting to go to the VLA for quite some time now. Unfortunately I'll be in California for a surprise birthday trip. 

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20 hours ago, tubadude said:

Sounds like an awesome trip. I've been wanting to go to the VLA for quite some time now. Unfortunately I'll be in California for a surprise birthday trip. 


Sad you can't make it - would have been great to have you along!  Have fun on your trip to Cali - watch out for giant potholes! :smilelol

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  • 2 weeks later...

Report: It was a fun and educational trip. There were parts I'd like to do again, if/when I get back into New Mexico the next time. The stop in Pie Town is a requirement. Getting to the VLA was relatively easy in a day, although in hindsight there were additional places along the way I'd like to have stopped and seen, if I would have made that part a 2-day trip.


Unfortunately, the VLA re-opened from their nearly 3 year Covid shutdown  prematurely, since there were several things that were not quite completed in time for visitors. Apparently, we failed to understand that some areas were not open to the public yet. At least that's what the security people told us as they escorted us back to the main building.  I'll go back to see the rest, the next time I happen to be in that area.


The Trinity Site was so interesting, we spent far more time and a lot of energy trying to see it all, than originally planned.  There were so many posted historical photos with accompanying paragraphs of explanation, that I just took photos of them to read later. There is almost no shade or places to sit and rest, except in a porta-potty.


After a late lunch in Carrizozo, Donna headed to Roswell etc., while Joyce and I drove South to Alamogordo and White Sands Nat'l Park.  Again, hindsight ruled that the overnight should have been in Alamogordo, not Los Cruces, to allow for extra time to visit some of the other places we bypassed in favor of needed rest.


The trip home was uneventful and accomplished in less time than planned, despite some rain. Once we saw the sign at Duncan, we knew we were on the right path.  :hide:

VLA Trinity 003.JPG

VLA Trinity 021.JPG

VLA Trinity 022.JPG

VLA Trinity 111.JPG

VLA Trinity 123.JPG

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This trip was a lot of fun.  Pie Town is a must, and the VLA was interesting, especially the part where we aggravated the powers-that-be by wandering into forbidden territory (which did allow for some good pictures).  The Trinity Site was fascinating and we spent much longer there than I expected.  I would go back, because I know there is some stuff I missed. 


After our paths separated (HOXXOH going on to White Sands), I went to Roswell and spent a cold, rainy day checking out all the Alien stuff, including the UFO museum, which was quite interesting.  Spent a day at Carlsbad Caverns, again cold and rainy which meant the bats stayed inside where it was warmer, which gives me an excuse to return another time to see the them fly.  I used the natural entrance to the cavern - meaning my legs are STILL sore (and it's been four days already). :lol  Gotta get into better shape for the next visit.  The following day I visited White Sands National Park, and on to the White Sands Missile Range.  The Missile Museum was closed (re-opens in December), but the Missile Park was open.  I spent 2+ hours just wandering around looking at those displays.  All kinds of missiles, rocket launchers, a Huey, an F4 Phantom, etc., etc.    My favorite was the "Hound Dog" which (according to the sign) was SAC's first air-launched missile.  The fuel tanks of the missiles were integrated to the fuel system of the B52.  They would use the missile engines to help the B52 get airborne, then shut them off and refill the missile tanks from the B52 supply so they were full for launch.  Very cool!  :thumbs


Some pics. . . 










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