Spring Break with the Carlson Family
Part II

Did you know that a tarantula sheds it's exoskeleton?  This one at "The Living Desert" in Carlsbad, New Mexico is only an outer shell.  The tarantula is actually in another corner of the glass cage. 
This raven would take a little stone and put it on the edge of his cage and then bite your finger if you picked up the stone.  Mat will never forget this guy.
One of the local residents of "The Living Desert" was this rattlesnake. 
We are in Roswell New Mexico at the UFO Museum.  The company that made a movie a few years ago about the UFO crash in the 1940's gave the museum the "alien autopsy" props for their display. 
Here's Mat and Max standing by one of the many petroglyphs at "Three Rivers Petroglyph National Recreation Site" near Tulorosa New Mexico.  Unlike a pictograph (which is a rock painting), a petroglyph is carved into the rock.
We went to White Sands National Monument.  Here the ranger tells us about the dunes. The gypsum layers in the mountains desolves and washes into the basin where it turns to crystal, crumbles into gypsum sand and blows into dunes. 
The boys had a great time jumping off over the edge of the dunes. Click here for an action video.  (This 1.8mb MPG file may take 10 mintes to download on a modem.  Also, if you stop then restart the video, the video window won't go away after it reaches the end.  Thus you can replay the video without downloading the file again)

The dunes move about ten feet a year.  The sand on the back side of a dune blows up to the top and over the front side.  We learned that the dunes actually move like a wave in the ocean. 

Here's our friends, Connie and Bruce Carlson, (they're in the rear).  It was great having old friends join us for a week.  I hope that they won't have too hard of a time going back to work when they get home.
What a magnificent sunset!  Here is an interdune area, a low spot between each dune.  The water is two feet below this level and provides moisture for plants to grow.  The dune behind the plants is moving forward.  The darker area in front of the plants is where the dune we are standing on has blow away but the plants have not grown very large yet.

The kids spent two hours studying the geology, plants and animals of this area to earn their White Sands National Monument Junior Ranger certificates and patches.
On our final evening with the Carlsons we "killed" our companion of two months, a huge Buzz Lightyear pinata.  We had purchased "Buzz" in El Paso two months earlier with the intention of sending him to Seattle for our nephew, Cooper's, birthday.  We found out that Buzz is way over the maximum size for mailing, so we kept him for the Carlson's visit.  He has been riding in our living room recliner for so long and taking up so much space that Cheryl is finally getting to take her fustration out on him.
Here the boys are posing with Buzz Lightyear.  Then its time to go for the candy.

We had a great week with the Carlsons and look forward to camping with them again.

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