Our next destination is the eerie beauty of the “White Sands” limestone desert. Armed with a charged iPod, a glove compartment full of snacks and plenty of lifted spirits, we tackle the 300 miles to New Mexico – and find it hard to believe our eyes. The glittering, blindingly white gypsum sand forms wave-like dunes; its brightness pierces the darkest shades. Thrilled, we scale the majestic dunes, traverse bizarre valleys and enjoy a restorative break in the shade of towering white mountains. Here, the desert seems suffused by a quiet haze, somehow.