February 8, 2016
White Sands Missile Range Museum
Security is high!
Talk about adventure. Today was an adventure in and of itself just getting into the White Sands Missile Range Museum. Needed for entry were picture ID's, vehicle registration, and proof of vehicle insurance. We knew that! What we didn't know is that signs were nearly non-existent once we entered the missile range—therefore, we were unsure if we were traveling in a prohibited area or if we were on the right road. The registration center was somewhat hidden by tree growth. Luckily, we hobbled into the correct parking lot. What met us upon opening the doors made us smile. Remember that this is a military base! A man wearing a t-shirt and ball cap sporting Christian slogans with a gold cross around his neck welcomed us as he put down the Bible he was reading. It was a breath of fresh air to hear him talk freely and leisurely about his faith. Then, it was down to business! Registration! The second thing we didn't know is that a background check on both of us had to be run. Just like a visit to the BMV, our pictures were taken and appeared on a one-day pass print-out for us to sign. Lastly, what we didn't know is that once we got our visitor pass print-out, we had to stop at the gate, present the guard with all of the above documentation, pop the hood of truck, open the tailgate, open the glove compartment, and get out of the truck while the guard did a vehicle inspection. We passed the test and gained entry but were told only to take pictures of the missile park so that our images faced the Organ Mts. and not the missile range itself and also not to take pictures of the entry/exit booth. We never saw anything like that egress with its zig-zag barriers around which we had to maneuver to exit. Talk about local color! By the way, the museum and missile field were very, very interesting. However, what we will remember most is our very courteous but militarized entry and exit to a museum!
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.