I got to Elephant Butte state Park about lunchtime this morning and that included a 20 minute stop at a police blockade on Highway 70 just outside of Alamogordo.
Since Highway 70 goes right through the White Sands missile range whenever a missile is going to be tested the police are notified and they stop all traffic on Highway 70 going to and from Alamogordo and this is done so often that the road department built a large pull off area about 1/4 of a mile past the White Sands National Monument entrance to hold some of the vehicles so they didn't back up too far down the highway.
I was told that the longest this shut down of Highway 70 normally last is about an hour but since I didn't arrive right after it happened I didn't have to wait very long. Just as you're leaving Alamogordo there's a big yellow sign that explains this could happen to you down the road and has flashing yellow lights to warn you while it's going on so you can go back into town and get breakfast instead of sitting beside the road for an hour.
Since I wasn't in a hurry to get anyplace this delay didn't affect me in the least, I looked at it as a chance to get out, walk around and stretch a little. And anyway, sitting beside the road for little while is a whole lot better than having a misguided missile come down on top of your car in some desolate area of Highway 70. Although that would've made a great topic for my blog if by some miracle I survived.
Despite all that I arrived at Elephant Butte state Park safe and sound and I'm now boondocked on top of a ridge overlooking the reservoir.
I've always like staying at Elephant Butte, Walmarts only a few miles away, there's propane for sale nearby, it seems to be a little cooler near the water, and Verizon is full bars. I've got a dumpster for my trash, a water faucet 20 feet away, a picnic table in the shade, and with my State Park sticker on the windshield...It's all free.