Truth or Consequences?

I’ll take both…

Starting point for a drive to the Very Large Array or White Sands National Park, this little town in Sierra County, New Mexico, boasts not only the strangest possible name, but also a large number of geothermal hot springs and luxury spas for the weary city people. In fact, the town was called ”Hot Springs” before changing its name to the catchier ”Truth or Consequences”, all because of a radio game!?!

Here is the hard-to-believe-but-true story: ”The city changed its name to “Truth or Consequences” as the result of a radio show contest. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the popular NBC Radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs officially changed its name on March 31, 1950, and the program was broadcast from there the following evening. Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next 50 years.”

It could have also changed its name to ”Turner Town” judging by the extensive presence of Turner Enterprises, with the Ladder Ranch and Sierra Grande Retreat (where we stayed) dominating the area.

Having had no prior knowledge of the media mogul’s work on the protection and conservation of ecosystems, it was interesting to learn that:

”With approximately two million acres of personal and ranch land, Ted Turner is the second largest individual landholder in North America. Turner lands are innovatively managed to unite economic viability with ecological sustainability. Turner ranches operate as working businesses, relying on bison, hunting and fishing, and ecotourism as principal enterprises. In addition, Turner ranches support many progressive environmental projects including water resource and timber management, and the reintroduction of native species to the land.

Turner Enterprises also manages over 51,000 bison across the various Turner ranches.”*

*The ranges span two million acres in nine states and in Argentina.

**No photos from ToC, except these two from the Reserve because, the Truth is we never really walked this town as a Consequence of being awestruck by the VLA and White Sands.

A quick stop for coffee in the last village before reaching the Very Large Array, was as surprising as the rest of the trip: Atelier Studio 605 ES•PRESS•O, is an art and printmaking space in disguise with etching presses, a studio for printmaking classes and workshops, and some fine antique presses still in use.

P.S.: The coffee is fresh from the press, and great too!

Truth or Consequences to Magdalena, NM

October 10th, 2018

We Stand in Awe

In White Sands.

Like a mirage, dazzling white sand dunes shimmer in the tucked-way Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico. They shift and settle over the Chihuahuan Desert, covering 275 square miles—the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. White Sands National Monument preserves more than half of this oasis, its shallow water supply, and the plants and animals living here.

The sand feels like satin and is surprisingly cool to the touch, even on a hot summer day. Gypsum does not absorb heat.

When it rains, it dissolves in water and flows down on the basin floor where it stays until it dries up and becomes sand forming the dunes that surround us, in a perpetual cycle.

We simply stand in awe as this divine natural beauty unfolds before our eyes.

(In stark contrast to the destructive powers prevalent in the adjacent military site; the White Sands Missile Range.)

Good to know: apart from unexpected closures due to weather conditions, the park may also be inaccessible due to missile testing! Because of the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, the road is occasionally closed for safety and closures can last up to three hours. U.S. Highway 70 between Alamogordo and Las Cruces is also closed during times of missile testing.

Please always consult the park closure web page  before visiting, to confirm access.

White Sands National Park, NM
(formely a “National Monument”, it transitioned to a “National Park” in 2019)

October 11th, 2018