ROLLING THROUGH ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO

While driving through New Mexico a few years back, we just HAD to stop in Roswell, New Mexico for a laugh or two and certainly a few great photo ops. Roswell is the fifth largest city in New Mexico, and the city really got on the map in the 1940s when a military balloon crashed in a nearby area. Residents were convinced that this was a UFO, but the military maintained that it was a weather balloon. Conspiracy theories were created and gained interest, especially in the 1970s, when some conspiracy theorists suggested that an alien was onboard the alleged UFO.

I’m not sure of the validity of any of these claims, but it sure seemed like a fun place to visit. I would suggest only driving through the place, as the alien/UFO area is pretty seedy at the present time. However, many things on this stretch of road, route 285 or Main Street, leading through the city have alien-themed photo ops. Even the McDonalds is saucer-shaped.

Even the lamp posts on the streets had alien-themed lights. This is the ultimate kitschy place and a hoot to roll through.

One place that was an interesting, albeit short, stop was the International UFO Museum and Research Center, where there were many displays about the history of the alien hype.

Display at the International UFO Museum and Research Center

By far my favorite place in Roswell is the Alien Zone shop, however. For just a few dollars, you can go into this seedy (and frankly dirty) little place where you can take funny pictures with “aliens.” This place is priceless in my opinion for kitschy photo ops. Granted I wanted to go back to the hotel to take a shower after posing with some of these old props that could have used a good cleaning, it was worth the laughter thereafter.

There are several “scenes” where you can walk into and take pictures. Some of the scenes are better than others but definitely worth a few dollars (if you have some hand sanitizer).

Traveling through New Mexico, you just have to roll through Roswell for a few laughs if nothing else. It is out of this world.

Life is good; find somewhere kitschy to take photos and laugh thereafter, LONG after.

Carpe diem, friends…………………….

WHITE SANDS NATIONAL PARK IN NEW MEXICO

A few years back I remembered reading about a place where one can actually go “sledding” down a hill of white sand. Longing to teach my Florida child, “Teen Traveler” a bit about another kind of sledding, I couldn’t wait to go there. We planned a trip to New Mexico to see this incredible place of large dunes. I learned this white sand isn’t really sand at all but really is gypsum, a mineral that covers about two hundred and seventy-five square miles of desert in New Mexico. Gypsum is used for many things, I learned. It can be used as plaster in surgical casts, as an additive in many foods (ice cream and tofu among others), for brewing beer and mead, for creating drywall, wallboard, plasterboard, for binding tennis court clay, as molds for dental impression plasters, as a hardening agent in Portland cement, in chalk, in hair products and even in some toothpastes.

White Sands National Park, known as the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, is located approximately fifteen miles southwest of Alamagordo. Some time during World War II, the military started using this place for scientific research and missile testing in the area. Missile tests are still conducted near here from time to time. The dunes are sixty feet high in some spots and are breathtaking to see. The bright blue sky against the whitish dunes is remarkable, almost other worldly.

There are picnic areas and limited back country camping allowed in some spots here. At the visitor center, you can purchase a round saucer-type plastic sled along with some wax to coat the bottom of the sled to make it easier to slide down the dunes. You may also bring your own plastic sled from home, as this is allowed. Round saucer-type sleds seem to work best, though. Sledding is lots of fun here, and so is climbing back up to the top of the dunes afterwards. Although currently closed because of the covid pandemic, normally the visitor center is open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas). The visitor contains a gift shop with snacks and drinks, too, along with rest rooms. There is no water available on the dune fields, so plan ahead. It can get very hot out there.

Life is good. Go out and have some fun all over again. Sledding for both children and adults is a blast.

Carpe diem, friends………………

KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS IN NEW MEXICO

I am well on my way to finishing one of my “bucket list” items, to visit all fifty states during my lifetime. To date, I have visited thirty-eight states so far. That means only TWELVE states remaining to visit.

Not too long ago, we visited New Mexico because we had never been there. I was especially interested in visiting Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument because I love geologic formations. Located about forty miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico, in north central New Mexico, these breathtaking rock formations were formed by volcanic activity six to seven million years ago. The landscape here is breathtaking with its pointed cones, or hoodoos, of pumice, ash and tuff.

Stunning pinkish and gray stripes on the hoodoos are the result of layers of volcanic material that were deposited there.

If you are ambitious, you can hike three hundred feet to get to the top of the mesa for a spectacular view (of COURSE we did it).

Hours of operation are between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with the last entry at 4:00 PM. Entrance fees are $5.00 for groups of up to eight people. While there are restrooms on site, it is important to bring your own canteen or water bottle, as there is no drinking water available there.

The hoodoos of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico were worth the trip in my opinion. These pointed hoodoos were like nothing I’ve ever seen before and took my breath away.

Life is good. Try to find something that takes your breath away today and make a plan for the time when you can travel again. Armchair travel to places I’ve been or to places I want to go keeps me sane while living life through a lens and self-isolating during this pandemic.

Carpe diem, friends…………………