The journey south is not resulting in warmer temperatures. Prior to this trip we had the belief that states at the top of the map were cold and states at the bottom of the map were warm. We have learned that elevation is a HUGE factor in temperature. So we find ourselves in Los Alamos, New Mexico with predicted snow storms.
Los Alamos is home to the Federal nuclear research facility, Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). It was initially developed s the home of the Manhattan project where scientists came together with the goal of developing a nuclear weapon during WWII. We could not pass up the opportunity for the kids to do some learning. We visited the Bradbury Science Museum *free* and in the words of SNL’s party boy, Stefan, “This place has everything!” — physics, nuclear research, history, supercomputers, nano-technology.
They had an experiential lab with essentially a bunch of brain teasers – Scarlet excelled but Arden felt pretty good when she figured out a problem and had to tell Scarlet (and mom) the solution. The puzzles were a bit beyond Brody but he has something special going on that we are not sure how to define. There was an exhibit on electric conductivity. By placing your hand on metal plates you could measurable see how electricity was conducted through your body. When I did it the measure needle barely made it to 20 microamperes. When Brody put his hands on – the needle flew up to 60, even Brent couldn’t get it that high. Maybe he ate magnets as a toddler or something.
Out afternoon visit was to Bandelier National Monument. We followed the “Bandelier” signs and found ourselves at an inspection entry near the actual LANL campus. I’m not sure where we went wrong but we ended up with a driver escort off the property. The RV and tow car (and us) fell into some highly suspicious category. Brent was a poor sport and would not let me take pictures of the event.
We did make it to Bandelier, my thoughts were initially, “not another Pueblo ruin”. But Bandelier has some unique aspects that were unexpected. First they built large multi-room structures and second they built individual homes into the cliffs which resembled Swiss cheese.
You could tell young children that giant mice lived in the canyons and I’m sure they would believe you. Finally Brody earned another Junior Ranger badge – a patch. Our Christmas project will be figuring out how to get all the patches on the new Junior Ranger vest.