24 Hours East, in the Dunes with Shai Hulud

Almost a year ago to the day, I set off on a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania, trying to get my fill of the road. It was one of those existential, “try to find myself again” trips, which as at the time was very necessary. What I was looking for, I was not quite sure, but I had grown tired of the collective bullshit that is inescapable living in Los Angeles, and of an industry that has its head so far up its ass that they all proudly wear the smell as a cologne. The trip itself ended up being fruitful for a lot of reasons. I met some amazing new people and created lifelong friends, as well as catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in years. Did I ultimately find what I was looking for? I can’t quite answer that, but for me, being on the road somehow has a way of rejuvenating my soul. I can never fully describe it, only smile in full content as I follow the hum of the pavement.

So a year later, I set off on another road trip, albeit under much different circumstances. I’m in a much better place mentally and financially. And this time I have a traveling companion (not 9 years old or the child of my first marriage). But the sprit of needing to get out and get back to what I love doing is still very much alive. I’m excited for this trip because I’m hitting some of my favorite spots, as well as some new ones that I’ve been dying to get to.

We took off Sunday night with plans to drive straight to New Mexico. Our first destination was White Sands National Monument. It’s a place I had no idea existed until about two months ago, but once I heard about it we had to make a stop. White Sands is located about 45 minutes northeast of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It’s the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. Basically, millions of years ago this area was a shallow salt-water basin. After the waters receded and evaporated, these gypsum pillars were left standing. Over the years the gypsum broke down, and created these wave-like dunes of sand that have engulfed 275 square miles of desert. It’s absolutely incredible to see, and no picture could ever do it justice. In the middle of this barren desert, all you can see for miles is beautiful white sand dunes. The sand is warm and soft for the most part, nicer than almost any beach I’ve been to. Standing on a dune, you almost feel as if you’re the only person on earth. It’s almost uncomfortable how quiet it is, with only the wind to keep your ears company. It truly serves as a reminder of just how random and beautiful this earth is. If you are anywhere near southern New Mexico, the park is a must see.

After leaving White Sands National Monument we made our way south to Marfa, TX, which is where we currently reside. I feel like this town needs a separate post in its own to explore everything that the town is and isn’t. But the first 24 hours were as good as anyone could ask for and I’m sure there’s only more to come. For now, I’m going to sit on a porch outside, drink a Lone Star, and enjoy the west Texas evening.