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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!
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