Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Family Time

Once again son-in-law Marc’s company has undergone a merger and with that comes another change—this one is very exciting!  Kim, Aaron, Adam and Evan, along with Marc, will be moving from the Raleigh/Cary area of North Carolina back to Kansas! 

We have known this for a while, but until they are here on Kansas soil could I really believe it was all going to happen.  They have a house but will be unable to move in until the first of the year.  They have secured a rental that will accommodate all of them and their two dogs  until then.  But, their moving company won’t be able to pack their NC home for another week.  And, school starts before then.

So, we are excited to have house guests for a while.   Kim is staying here with Adam and Evan while Marc and Aaron flew home to close things up there.  She is keeping busy with school preparations and the unbelievable amount of changes that have to be made when moving.    We are trying to do some fun things here before the kids have to go back to classes. 

We’ve gone on several pontoon rides.  Pontoon?  I better go back and tell about our little purchase in Nashville Tennessee on the way home from Aaron’s graduation. 


We wanted a pontoon for a long time.  After a lot of research, we decided on a Bass Buddy 16 foot fishing pontoon. We wanted something that would be easy to take in and out of the water and transport.   Then it is up to Craig’s List.  Wouldn’t you know, one showed up that we could look at on our way to Aaron’s graduation.  We made a deal and home it came on our way back. 

So, back to the kids.  I hope they have enjoyed being out on the water as much as we have since they arrived.  We prefer evenings in order to catch the sunset.  Lots of fun to have young people and laughter out there too.

Aaron had a friend so there is one extra in this picture.



We still haven’t been able to figure out the perfect combination to catch fish in the middle of the summer, but we are working on it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Crushing Realization

I am not sure why I have a fascination with the steel recycle place aka the crusher.  Maybe it’s because there are so many things to contemplate.  Unbelievable variety of cast off, mostly metal objects.

Here’s the routine.  We drive up to the scale and go in this old, tumble down mobile home.  The really nice young lady tells me to go ahead and drive up on the scale and she will flash the light when she has the weight.  We pull forward with the last of my old mail cars—a 1987 Oldsmobile that would probably still run only it has a fuel pump problem.  That car got me out of more snow and ice situations with its front wheel drive and studded snow tires. 

Anyway, after weighing we drive around back and roll off the Rickster (bought it from Rick).  Here is the sad part.  The guy with the big front lift, just sticks a huge rod right through the two front windows and moves it over in line for the crusher.  I couldn’t watch. 

Here is what I did look at though.


My Dad used to say that old age is an equalization.  Extremely successful businessmen (Cadillac limo)  and a hard working blue collar worker (work van) all end up playing cards at the same table in the old folks home (Dad’s words).  I’ll just guess that the Cadillac is on top of the work van only because the van got there first.

Then there is this


Never too old to quit advertising. 

There are so many other things going on in these pictures besides the cars.  It would be interesting to write down all the objects just thrown together.  Maybe they would make a good jigsaw puzzle, especially the top picture.

We drive back across the scale.  Full disclosure and in case anyone has an old car sitting around, we received $170.00 for the poor Rickster.  Certainly worth the effort.  Price is up on scrap metal.  I might get to go back!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Summer Morning When All Flowers are Equal

I walked out in the garden around 7:30 this morning to check for ripe tomatoes.  There were a few.  What really caught my eye, though, were the flowers.  Obnoxious and invasive flowers but this morning, they were beautiful.  So pretty, I had to get my camera and capture them and the activity there were creating.

First, just as I walked out the door, there was that nettle that I want to pull but never have my gloves with me when I think of it.  Still, so pretty in the morning.


Next, out in the garden, there was the bindweed we’ve been fighting all summer.  Still, there is a honey bee enjoying it’s nectar. 



And, there around the tomatoes and grapes is that darn Morning Glory vine that will take over the plants if we don’t get on it.  But, there is a bee clear in that little flower.  And, isn’t that a beautiful shade of blue?



Finally, coming back into the house, I see a legitimate flower on my poor bug riddled Hosta by the back door.  This beautiful morning though, all the flowers were lovely.  I walked away from them—I’ll deal with the vines tomorrow.


Friday, July 06, 2018

The Saga of Water Line Leaks

We feel fortunate for our well maintained waterline.   Wells are not an option where we live, so an extension of a fairly new rural water district system to the edge of our place was the reason we purchased this land 40 years ago.  So, of course, 40 years is the age of the pipes that bring the water to our house from the meter—about a third of a mile.  We’ve had no problem with those pipes for all of these years.  Until now.

Our water usage has gradually increased since the first of this year.  We turned off our hydrant down by the garden when not in use.  When that didn’t help, we purchased two new low water usage toilets.  That didn’t really show any improvement.  Then we planted a garden and did a little watering  and thought that was why our bill was bigger than we thought it should be.

Finally, in April of this year, we got serious about trying to find what was going on.  Using a post hole digger, we dug three holes where it looked like there was some evidence of extra water by how the grass looked which was about 50 yards away from the house, up toward the meter.  Sure enough, one of the holes was nearly full of water after about eight hours.  After $385.00 in time and backhoe use by a company that specializes in fixing water lines, the small leak was found and fixed.

Then, with traveling and thinking we had the problem fixed, we didn’t check our water bills  which are auto paid each month—until July 1st.  That bill was $215.00 and showed that we were using 120 gallons every hour. 

That got our attention and when we checked, our meter was whirling.

Again, out came the post hole digger.  We dug a hole every place there was extra green grass.  One hole, directly out from the hydrant in front of our house was full of water the next morning. 

We decided, two people in their 70s could still dig a hole.  The whole backhoe situation would play havoc with our front yard. 

First, Dan used the tractor to scrape off the turf.


Then, we dug straight down.    As when we dig anywhere around where our house sits, we had to spend time extracting a big granite rock on the way down.


It turns out, we were almost perfect in our estimate of where the leak was located.  About four feet down there was the water pipe and it was definitely leaking.  There was also something right on top of it as well—a tree root.  And, we soon discovered there was a granite rock directly under the water line.    This isn’t a good picture, because you can’t see the rock and we have already cut part of the root.


We enlarged the hole, turned the water off at the meter and went to work to successfully fix the line.

Here is the most interesting thing about this whole situation.


This picture shows how the leak developed.  The water line was laid right on top of the rock 40 years ago.  In fact, the granite rock actually had a little grove where the pipe laid on it all those years.  Then, the tree root came along and grew right along the pipe.  As the leak developed, the root got bigger and pushed the line down harder against the rock.  And, that’s how our water bill continued to gradually get larger. 

We will definitely be tracking our our usage because, you know how these things occur in threes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Neighborhood Excitement

Friday of last week, Dan was sitting at the kitchen table and out of the blue said, “The Goodyear Blimp is over east of us.”

Of course, I didn’t believe him, but after checking the binoculars, sure enough!


This picture was taken as it passed over the north part of our hay field here at home.    The wind was giving it fits and neighbor Brenna thought it was going down in their field.  It could be it was trying to change course a little because it ended up landing at Forbes Field and probably needed to move north.  It would have been awesome to see it land!

As it turns out, the blimp is really a dirigible because there is no internal flame.  It runs on three engines--two on the sides and one on the back—that use outside air to propel it..   It is a semi rigid airship and is never deflated.  The outside structure lasts 15 to 18 years.  The square visible on the side in my picture is actually a digital sign.  You can read the article in Topeka CJ Online about its visit here.

So, I thought I would check social media to see if there were any pictures.  It was funny how, as it crossed over the area, posts showed up with pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

No exciting news like it had to land in our area because of the weather.  It actually was visiting Topeka (first time in 16 years) primarily I am sure to support the Goodyear plant.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

North Carolina Swim Meet

The main event for everyone making the journey to North Carolina was Aaron’s graduation.  It was a fun day with good food and conversation.  I think Aaron is experiencing joy and elation at his graduation from high school but also somewhat apprehensive of the future.    I would like to tell him there is no hurry, that he should enjoy his youth and freedom.   I feel confident he will do that and work out his life’s goals in good time.

Kim wanted to do a little shopping in the afternoon.  Bedding is a hard one to figure out.  There just isn’t a way to “try it on” to see if it works.  Or is there…


In addition to graduation day, we also attended Adam and Evan’s swim meet at the pool in their living area, just a couple blocks from their home.  Swim meets are exciting for a few seconds and then wait.  So we had time to visit with Marc’s parents and enjoy pizza provided by Kim and Marc.

This all took place on June 12th, Dan and my anniversary.  So, that is the reason you will see our mug shot in the pictures.  Here is the link or click on the picture below.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Aaron’s High School Graduation 2018

Green Hope High School graduation ceremony began at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, June 13 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  There were over 750 graduates in attendance.  The speakers were members of the Class of ‘18.  This graduating class has to be one of the most diverse group of young people in the US.  The lady who read the names did an outstanding job.

At this point, using my little laptop, I have not been able to organize the pictures.  Also, the pictures taken with a cell phone seem to be small.  However, here they are.  We had a lot of fun helping Aaron celebrate his big day. Click here or on the picture for more!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

New River State Park Rail Trail

Southern Virginia New River Rail to Trail State Park is considered one of the Nation’s Premier Rail Trails and has been designated an official National Recreation Trail by the Department of the Interior. In 1986 the Norfork Southern donated its abandoned track for the purpose of this bike trail.  The New River itself is historical in that it is the oldest river in the United States. For all of these reasons, plus the fact that this rail trail is not too far out of the way from Kim and Marc’s, we decided to ride at least part of the 57 mile trail. 

Our plan was for me to start at Galax and Dan would drive up the trail and we would ride toward each other. 

The Galax to Fries Junction section that I started out on is actually not along the New, but along a tributary Chestnut Creek.  Comments on the trail web site led me to believe this was a nice part of the trail to ride.  And it turned out to be exactly that.

First, the trail is flat and well maintained.  Most of the trail is open to horseback riders but there was little evidence of their use.  At first, I rode right along with nice views of the gentle creek.   Soon as more little drainages added to the size of the creek I was excited to find rapids forming and even several waterfalls.  I was along side the creek most of the time, although enjoyed Virginia ranching landscape too. There was a cute little store but I had to pass as I didn’t bring any money.  

I always enjoy the tresles of which there were many.  My favorite, though, are the tunnels.  The one I encountered looked onomous because it was completely dark at the entrance—spooky because I was by myself.  I considered waiting until another trail rider came along, but thought that would be unadventurous on my part so I tentatively started in.  No sooner had I got about twenty steps in than the tunnel curved enough I could see the end.  Still, there is nothing like seeing light at a distance and it being completely dark in front of where I am riding.  It is disorintating and makes me feel like I losing my balance.

Chestnut Creek entered the New River and at that point, there was a beautiful long tresle over the big New River.  So exciting but still no Dan .  I thought I would meet him at the tunnel when we parted.

Turns out the place we made out to meet had a very long a curvy road which did not lend itself to speedy travel.  He mostly missed out on a great ride.


Click here or on the picture for a few pictures and a little movie

Monday, June 11, 2018

Boondockers Welcome

This is not a sign travelers often see.  In fact, staying off the grid is considered by some RVers as kind of cheating.  Then a clever computer person, seeing a need, created the web site Boondockers Welcome.

Basically, it is a site where people sign up to host other RVers at their home or on their land. Self contained travelers then go online and ask to spend a night or two.  The host has to approve the request.   Of course, there are profiles etc.
So, that is how we found one of the most beautiful and serene places to camp near the New River Rail to Trail.  It wouldn’t be fair to the hosts to tell the exact location but I will say it is close to Galax Virginia and right next to a beautiful tributary of the New River.

Our hosts were friendly and gracious.  They opened their front porch to conversation and we left feeling like we were friends.  We learned local history and about the surrounding lands.  And, what is it about that southern accent that seems so friendly and laid back?

We will definitely be using this web site again. And thank you to Jim and Andrea for a memorable stay at their lovely summer home.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

North Carolina Graduation

It’s hard to believe our little Aaron is now grown up and graduating from high school.  The family is gathering for this celebration on Wednesday of next week.   There will be more on that later.

We are roadtripping of course.  We drove ten hours on Thursday arriving in Nashville nearly at dark.  This was a short layover so Walmart it is. 

This was taken on our way to park for the night.  Really,  where else but Nashville TN…. 


From Nashville, we made our way to Virginia and the New River Rail to Trail.  I’m still gathering pictures so more on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Harvest ahead

Dan has worked hard on the trees and brush on the 80.  This will be the last fire before harvest.  The wheat in the background is starting to turn and will soon be too dry to chance a spark.  This picture was taken Sunday evening.  He had gathered a big pile of brush and noticed there was one small smoky log.  He thought nothing of it and came on home to get a match and see if I wanted to watch the pile burn.  This picture was taken right after we returned.  A lesson on how easily a fire can rekindle.


The electric fence has done its job!  There are zero bean plants nipped by deer.  Also, the beans are benefitting from the composted dirt and are loaded with blooms.  Only problem with the dirt is it brought in a healthy dose of bindweed.  We have been fighting it mightily but finally gave up on a half row of beans.  Right now  all is looking good, but that pesky stuff will be back.  This fall we might have to address the problem with something stronger than a hoe & rototiller. 


Finally, I am sharing a picture of one of many Hummingbirds that cheer our lives.  They are  social little things.  If the feeder is empty, they actually will let us know in a flying around the window sort of way.  Sometimes I think they sit on this little perch and look in at us. 


Sunday, June 03, 2018

Colorado in May

Doug called a couple weeks ago wondering if we might want come out to Colorado for the annual nursery experience. That and maybe Dan could help a bit finishing up the bathroom project.  Memorial weekend worked so we headed to Colorado in the Colorado—pickup truck.

First, we stopped by the cemeteries.  There was enough rain that the grass was green and they were trimmed up nicely.  There were no military flags in our two rural cemeteries but the war medallions were in place.

The pickup is a nice roadtrip machine.  The PW wins the contest though because we have our own bathroom.  But, for a quick eight hour trip, we were fine with the pots available.

Dan was busy with helping Doug, so the girls decided to find a geocache near the Monument Library.  (Carly is volunteering with the library this summer).  All in all, we visited the location of the Geocache three times and never did find the “clever place” it was hidden—that is according to one of the commenters that found it only a week before we were there.  At one point, a lady came by with her daughter and volunteered to help us look—still nothing. 

The dogs loved the water but look out when they get out.


Wait, where’s the wiener?


Dutch Heritage Gardens is located near Larkspur, Monument and Castle Rock.  (I encourage visiting the link to get a feel of the size). Once a year they open their wholesale greenhouses to the public.   It was so overwhelming that I nearly didn’t buy anything.  Dan found a tray of orange Celosia.  I bought two pots of Bee Balm and a gift for our neighbor who watches over our place when we leave.  When I got home with the Bee Balm, I had a feeling I had pulled up a plant that I thought was a weed with the same leaf.  Typical.

More pictures of the weekend too numerous to put on individually.  Notice Trent’s garden.

Click here or on the picture


Saturday, May 19, 2018

It’s all good here

What a a better way to end a busy week than to have our oldest grandson, Aaron, home from North Carolina.

He is here to spend a couple days with friends who are graduating from Shawnee Heights.  We are traveling to North Carolina in June to celebrate his graduation from Green Hope High School in Cary. 


IMG_0411Two recent pictures of Aaron.  We had to get the cup out like we always do when the grandkids come home.  We got this cup when he was a toddler.

Love this prom picture.

This is a bumper year for Carpenter bees.  Carpenter bees might be mistaken for bumble bees only because they are about the same size.  Thankfully, they are not aggressive.  The males don’t have a stinger and the females will only sting if harassed according to internet information.  We’ve harassed them plenty and still never been stung.

We started an all out assault on them about a week ago.  Our main weapon is a fly swatter or a bigger tennis sized paddle.  They have a tendency to hover if you watch them long enough.  We estimate we have killed around 80 to 100 bees this week.  The reason they love us so much is probably because they love redwood, like our redwood decks.  They like to drill holes in the wood to lay their eggs.  The sound of the bees and the drilling drives us both nuts.  Just when we think we have made a dent in the population, there seems to be more.  Dan came up with a effective means to get them by loading small shotgun shells with cuscus (little tiny pasta).  It worked great for the higher reaches in the barn—he is deadly.

I know they are pollinators.  And, that’s good.  But, I wonder if they could do actual harm to a deck or building if left to continually drill holes. 

We are helping take care of our neighbor’s chickens while they are on vacation.  The chicken coop is humming with Carpenter Bees and there is an aggressive attack rooster to boot.  Despite all of that, those pretty hens lay a dozen eggs a day. 

All in all, it’s been a great week.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Good Morning

Just sunning in the front porch. I might not want to sit in this chair for a few hours

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Camp Chippewa

This past weekend we traveled south to Camp Chippewa, a UMC sponsored facility located near Ottawa Kansas,   to help prepare the buildings and grounds for the coming camp season.  We met two other friends from other parts of the state, all of us with RVs.  There were others who stayed in the dorms.  We worked hard but found time to catch up with new and old friends.  We parked our RVs in  temporary sites because the dedicated RV sites the camp provides were filled with UMC Nomads there to put new siding on one of the cottages.  (The Nomads are an interesting concept and one that I could be enthused about)

Camp Chippewa has an interesting history.

In 1837 the Chippewa Tribe along with the Munsee and Sax and Fox tribes from Wisconsin were given an 8280 acre strip of land where the camp is located.  Members of the tribes were given 40 acres of land and after becoming citizens of the United States in 1900, were able to sell the land.  In 1958, 219 acres were given to the United Methodist Conference to be used for camping ministries by Rev and Mrs Charles Funk in memory of their granddaughter who died at the age of 14.  Through careful planning the camp is now 640 acres.

All of this land and the use of its facilities is pretty much run by three hard working, dedicated people.   During the summer there are additional paid employees, but it is with volunteer help that many projects are accomplished within the camps budget.

It was a beautiful weekend and there were people everywhere.  We took our Ranger ATV so it was immediately put to use in a ambitious fencing project.  A  farmer from the Parsons area brought in a semi loaded with large equipment including a posthole digger and brush cutter to clear for the fence.  Dan worked two days on this project, including cutting hedge fence posts for supports.  He took me to see the finished project which this picture is only a short part.  It was exhausting work but he enjoyed his fencing companions.


The fencing is to accommodate and rotate the 40 plus horses into different pastures.  The reason for so many horses is for the popular horse camps each summer where each young person is assigned a horse to take care of and ride for the week.  There are also other animals to teach responsibility of care.


I was on flower and landscape detail most of the weekend.  We cleaned flower beds, replanted annuals, and pruned overgrown plants.  There was an old farmstead on part of the land so we dug up a bunch of Iris and transplanted them around the campus. 


Here is a picture of our transplant detail.  The kids are a part of a UMC youth group.  They were a lot of fun and willing to work.


This is one of the gathering places where we put our transplanted Iris and Day Lilies.   This is a beautiful location as it looks out over a valley.

Somehow I didn’t get in on the best job of the weekend.  That was to catch fish in one pond and transfer them to another.  I know the two ladies in the canoe had worked hard on other projects but the day was perfect,  the fish were biting and they were having fun by this time in the evening.  This is actually what summer camp is about and all of us were encouraged to enjoy the experience of Chippewa while helping out. 


The volunteer weekends are twice a year, before and after scheduled summer camp.  The weekend is filled with eating wonderful food,  working and sweating and Christian fellowship.  We will be back—next time I’m looking into that fishing detail, though.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Don’t Knock It Till You Try It

Asparagus and morels cooked together in butter. Tried it by chance last year. Still delicious with first pickings of both

Monday, April 23, 2018

Who said I40 is Boring?

By the time we get to the I40 stretch in Texas, even I am getting anxious to enter Kansas and on home.

But, then there is Groom Texas.

The town of Groom is out in the middle of Texas nowhere 42 miles east of Amarillo.   Until I40 was built, it sat along side Route 66.  Heading east, the first sight that made me scramble for my camera was this gigantic cross.  This isn’t the first cross we’ve seen, but certainly it is the first sitting out on flat Texas landscape.


It turns out Groom Texas has the seventh largest free standing cross in the world at 190 feet!  To the right of the picture is a grain elevator which puts the structure in perspective although the cross is closer. 

But, wait, there is more!


Back when Route 44 was still a busy road west, Ralph Britton built a truck stop.  He also purchased this water tower from the town of Lefors Texas, 34 miles away.  He managed to drag it here,  wrote his name on it, then bulldozed  it until two of its four legs were off the ground.  According to the web site, his family said this worked in his favor in that people driving by on Route 66 would veer off the road to let Mr Britten know his water tower was tipping over.  He would then invite them to sit down and enjoy a drink or meal.  Unfortunately, his truck stop burned down but the water tower remains for people like me to scramble for a camera to capture something we think has just happened.

As I said in the beginning, we were “headed to the barn” and there was very little stopping.  So, these pictures are not only taken on the run but with a cell phone.  Another time I might have to give Groom Texas a little love.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lunch Date

Dan and I had a lunch date today with six friends.  It was cheery, full of conversation and good food.  I should mention  all of us in the lunch group are older than 72 with two in their 80s and Calvin is in his 90s. 

Our friend Irma from Clinton set it up.  We only drove because it was our turn.  Irma, Dan and I often hit some of the local four star eateries:  Poor Farm at Clinton, Conrads at Overbrook, Berryton UMC meal night and of course our Stull UMC meal night. 

This time we picked up our friends and traveled to Pioneer Ridge Retirement Center in Lawrence where Judy resides.  Before we settled in the restaurant, we took a little tour of the facility.  There is a huge meeting room available for residents for no charge, there is a workout center where the machines are electronically matched to each residents arm band, and there is a room with big screen TV, pool table, fireplace  and a nicely stocked bar.  I think owners of these facilities are seeing us baby boomers coming!

Dan and I had the mushroom cheese hamburger sandwich, some of the others had mac and cheese and chicken salad sandwich. The portions were for people who are sedentary, but it was all very good.   They have waitresses and a chef.

Irma, retired BSN,  made an interesting observation.  She said a retirement center like Pioneer Ridge is a community within a community.  Most residents know and watch after each other.   They eat and socialize together, but have their little apartment when they want solitude.   By combining resources, they bring in lecturers, show movies every day and takes trips in their bus. 

One of the residents out and about we instantly recognized.  Judy introduced us to a published author. So, you have people who are well known by their accomplishments, others who are well known because they are good listeners and others who just make people laugh.  Just as it is as we live in our wider communities.

The transition from home to a retirement facility comes more easily for some than others.  It seems to me that the most happy residents today were with a group of friends.  In the end, as we grow old, it might be our friends, not our doctor, who are able to make us feel the best.

Monday, April 09, 2018

White Sands National Monument

First, here is a Smug Mug link to more pictures.

White Sands National Monument is tucked down in southern New Mexico, really not on the direct way to a location we have visited in the past. 

White Sands map 

Maybe that’s why we have not stopped by on our other trips to Phoenix.  Since we were headed south to the Tucson area from Mesa, Kay and Lynn encouraged us to route our return trip by this remarkable site. 

Our government does an outstanding job producing the videos available in every national park/monument that has a visitor’s center.  The White Sands presentation was stunning, especially the drone footage.  The movie is where we learned that the “sand” is really not sand at all, but gypsum particles.  The nearby mountains have large deposits of gypsum that over time have blown off and deposited on the area. 

From the visitor’s center, we entered the monument on a well traveled road between dunes. 

Due to the nature of the shifting sand, visitors are encouraged to stay on the road at all times.  However, there are plenty of opportunities to pull over and hike out over the dunes.  I overheard a young mother ask the park ranger if her daughters could get lost among the dunes and he told her to accompany them but to also orient to high poles located in the area.  That is how much the dunes and valleys are alike, yet shifting. 



This sand is extremely bright and white.  I found it hard to get a good picture.  Thankfully, the few high clouds gave the sand some contrast. 

We spent around three hours here including the visitor’s center.  We could have taken a self guided trail with the flora labeled but opted not to do that.  There were sleds for rent and the kids and adults with them were having a lot of fun sliding and making “snow” angels.

White Sands Missile Range is the next-door neighbor to the Monument.  We went by the impressive Holloman Air Force Base with plenty of signs letting us know we were within the missile range.  The White Sands Missile Range was a key part of the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb.  The WSMR Museum and Missile Park is open for visitors.  Unfortunately, I did not do my homework and was not aware of the museum that we probably went right by.  Once a year there is a public visit to the Trinity (atom bomb) site as well.  I also learned there are still safety closures of the Hwy 70 and White Sands National Monument due to current rocket launches.