Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 15

by Kathy 1. July 2009 05:25

<< Day 14: White Sands National Monument | Day 16: Roswell to Carlsbad >>

Alamagordo to Roswell


Happy Father’s Day to Ben! Yesterday was the actual date for Father’s Day, but we are celebrating it today because we wanted Genevieve to have a special birthday without sharing the festivities.

So today was Ben’s day, where we honored him for being such a wonderful father and husband, for being so gentle yet strong, for having such a playful spirit, for keeping us laughing, for being secure in who he is without having the need to prove it to others, for having complete integrity and being honest to the core, for possessing an abundance of patience (I think that he got much of my share when our souls were divided), for bringing calmness and lightness into our lives, for accepting people for who they are without judgment, and for being such a solid and secure presence in our lives.

Genevieve and Sebastian spent some time this morning piling the merry-go-round with rocks.

They thought that the rocks would go flying off once the merry-go-round started spinning. The rocks were too heavy, however, and even with my assistance in pushing the merry-go-round faster and faster, the rocks stayed put. So Genevieve and Sebastian ended up brushing all of the rocks back into the dirt.

I was spinning the merry-go-round at one point, and Sebastian was sitting in the middle. He suddenly leapt to the side, ducked under a metal bar, launched himself off of the merry-go-round, slipped, and landed splat, face down. I gave a small shriek. Sebastian immediately popped up off of the ground and said, “Mom, I’m okay--I’ve done this before.” I thought, “Yes, but I didn’t see it before!” I walked away thinking that there are some things that I would just rather not see. As a parent, there is a delicate balance that must occur in setting limits for reasonable safety, and allowing children to have freedom to explore, discover and try new things.

The small city of Alamogordo proved to be a pleasant surprise. We would have missed it if the White Sands National Monument had allowed overnight camping. The city was very family friendly, with wonderful parks and playgrounds, as well as some things that we didn’t get a chance to experience—the Space Museum (which has a piece of the moon), the zoo, and the toy train depot.

This morning we were heading to Roswell, New Mexico, which is famous for its “UFO incident”. In 1947, a ranch foreman named Mac Brazil found some crash remains that many people believe were a flying saucer and alien life forms. The Army insisted that the remains were just a weather balloon from a top-secret project, spawning rumors and accusations of a military cover-up. Over the years, various books, stories and movies have kept the speculation and debate alive regarding whether an alien spacecraft really crashed here. Roswell had not been on the original itinerary for this trip. However, as a die-hard “X-Files” fan, I just couldn’t be two hours away from Roswell and not visit. So off we went!

Given the thin red wiggly line on the map, I expected a two-lane road. Instead, the road was four lanes with wide sweeping curves. It had periodic signs informing us that we were traveling on a “Scenic Byway”. Here are some “scenes” as we crossed the Sacramento Mountains and the Lincoln National Forest.

The mountains were dotted with green bushes.

We passed many mobile home communities.

Other houses looked like their residents had packed their suitcases long ago:

As we wound our way east, the hills became drier.  Tall green trees grew along a small river.

The desert land eventually flattened out, and we left the hills behind us.

Roswell was much bigger than Ben and I expected. The main attraction is the “UFO Museum and Research Center” on Main Street.

(Doesn’t Ben look like he is wearing a UFO “sombrero” above?)

I had read reviews about how “cheesy” this museum is, and how “disappointed” some visitors have been—so I had realistic expectations. I was there for the experience. Yes, the museum was a bit hokey, but I still enjoyed it.

Here are Genevieve and Sebastian in front of the museum, with a sculpture of Mac Brazil finding the alien crash:

This friendly alien greeted us inside the museum:

The museum contained interesting tidbits of “fact”, along with alien memorabilia.

I learned that the phrase “flying saucer” came in 1947 from a man named Kenneth Arnold.  Mr. Arnold was a part-time air rescue pilot, and he had seen nine brilliant objects racing across the sky while he was on a mission. He clocked the objects as flying 1350 miles per hour. Mr. Arnold said that the objects had “wings”; however, he also said, “They flew like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water.” Reporters latched onto the term “flying saucers”, and that name subsequently would become synonymous with UFOs.

The museum contained an array of artwork depicting aliens. Here is Ben with some paintings:

Here I am with a horse figure covered with a collage of newspaper articles about the alien crash at Roswell.

This alien was used as a prop in the 1994 Showtime movie “Roswell.”

After the museum, we walked a few blocks down the main street. The street lamps in this section of town had alien eyeballs:

I had read that a really fun place to visit was the “Area 51 Alien Zone.” We found it, although we almost missed it because the door signs were a bit confusing (due to remodeling), and we initially thought that the place had closed.

The Alien Zone had hand-built, 3-D alien scenes. For a mere $2 (kids are free), you can walk through and take as many photos as you want, posing in whichever scenes appeal to you. We posed in almost all of them.

Two humans walk into a bar . . . .

Who turned on the anti-gravity machine?

Hand me the halogen light bulb.

Waiting for the principal at Roswell Elementary.

Secret alien autopsies--all guts and no glory.

The real reason why an alien spaceship crashed in Roswell—children at the wheel.

Can I have the sports section when you’re done?

What do you mean, I’m going to be the meat?

Afterward, Ben said that the Alien Zone was “really schlocky”, “American kitsch at its worst”, and “really bad but also really funny.” I think that to have a good time there, you have to enter with a lighthearted attitude, and keep your expectations really low. We did, and had a fun time. Also, it helped that Genevieve and Sebastian looked at the scenes and just accepted them for what they were, without judging them as “corny” or “old and tired.”

Another alien we met on the street:

Genevieve and Sebastian had never seen so much alien memorabilia before, and they thought the visit to Roswell was another fun and original experience.

The clouds in the sky were striking:

We passed this church on the way to the RV park:

While Ben was barbecuing chicken at the campground, he took these great photos of the sky.


The clouds rolled in, and soon the lightning and thunder were performing a theatrical extravaganza. The rain poured.

After dinner, Ben played “Go Fish” with the kids.

Genevieve was very happy to have a new snuggle friend, Twinkle the hippo.

She normally snuggles at night with her friend Mr. Bear, but she had accidentally left him at home. She found that she wasn’t sleeping as well without something warm and cuddly, so today she bought Twinkle with money that she has earned on this trip. Sweet dreams, tonight!

<< Day 14: White Sands National Monument | Day 16: Roswell to Carlsbad >>

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Comments (2) -

7/2/2009 9:52:50 PM #


I never knew rel aliens were sans genitalia - thanks for the proof!
Love the clouds!

Tedd United States | Reply

7/3/2009 4:49:43 AM #


Someone definitely needs to give that little alien his/her privacy!

Driving through the West, with vast stretches of open unpopulated desert, has really given me a greater appreciation for the seemingly "small" things in life that I might have previously overlooked--the size of bushes and plants, details in buildings or structures, and the incredible shapes and colors of clouds (which have been amazing).  I'm glad that you enjoyed the cloud photos!  

kathy United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin