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…………………….

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…………………

COPING WITH CORONA….SCAVENGER HUNT AND BLACK SAND

Wanderlust? Stuck inside? Same here. I turn to memories of travels in times past to keep myself sane.

While visiting French Polynesia, I flew to Tahiti for a day, longing to find a beach with black sand. I flew into Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti, armed with a little bit of the French language under my belt and a lot of adventure in my soul.


Even the plane to Tahiti is colorful

As soon as I got off the plane, I knew I needed to rent a car to go on my scavenger hunt (if only in my mind) to find a black sand beach. I stopped at one car company and was aghast at the rate they would charge me for less than a full day rental. The attendant was surprised that I could speak French, as I am sure he wanted to take advantage of this five foot American woman traveling alone, so I said thanks and moved on to the next car rental agency. At the next car rental agency, it was the same story with a slightly better rate, so again I moved on. They say “three is a charm” so I settled on a car rental from the third agency, whose rate was still high but a bit more realistic. The rate for less than twenty-four hours was equivalent to what we might pay for a three day rate here in the States.

A business in Tahiti

With a rudimentary map I picked up at a tourist kiosk at the airport, which listed only the highlights of the island, I set off for my adventure. I decided to pull over at a local business (Intersport) to seek clarification of the map. I walked into the shop and was greeted with a smile by a kind man. In French, I told him I was looking to find a beach with black sand, as I wanted to take some home to my daughter, and showed him my crude map of the island. Again, he laughed and gave me instructions (in French) to the black sand beach. As best as I remember, his instructions were something like go to the third red light, take a left, then take a right, etc….I thanked him and then set off on my adventure. I was delighted that one can travel half way around the world to still find a kindred spirit and kindness. The man laughed with me, not at me, and called me a “Cowboy”. Evidently he understood the wanderlust deep in this American soul. The language may be different than that which we are accustomed, but there is so much similarity between people from all parts of the world. Kindness, humor, gratitude, confusion, amusement, and respect are all part of the universal language we share with people all over the world.

It had been a while, several decades maybe, since I drove a “stick shift”, or car with a manual transmission. The road was very steep in some parts, but I was committed to finding that black sand. I was also VERY committed to finding an adventure.

Black sand beach in the north of Tahiti

I had been to a black sand beach in Hawaii before, but it had been many years. There is something other-wordly about seeing black sand radiating beneath my feet. I knew from my college days of Geology 101 that Tahiti was formed by two volcanoes, so the black sand is actually pieces volcanic rock. Continuous weathering of the rock replenishes the sand through the years as well.


Basalt volcanic rocks

After getting my sand in my little bottle I purchased at some little gift shop along the way, there was a smile in my soul when I finished my scavenger hunt and was ready to enjoy all else the island offered.

I stopped in the Marché de Pape’ete (Pape’ete Market) which is famous for its sights, sounds, and smells of authentic Polynesian life.

Marché de Pape’ete in the capital
Fish for sale at the market
Sign at the Tahiti Market that reads, ” Before Dying I Would Like….”

I encountered a blackboard at the market with a sort of “bucket list” written by visitors, which made my heart smile. Others everywhere had “bucket lists” and were checking off items one by one I’m sure.

One visitor wanted to travel the world. Another wanted to live in Tahiti with a spouse. Another wanted to find his love. Another wanted to return to Polynesia. Yet another wanted to build a big house for her children. I didn’t write on the board; I kept my “bucket list” in my soul.

After my journey, I was able to get back to the resort to relax a bit to sit in a comfortable egg chair with a good book in my hand and the scent of frangipani wafting through the air.


A Tahitian sunset



“I’ve seen a black sand beach
stranger than any foreign world
where King Poseidon draped in seaweed
once walked upon the Earth–”

-“Black Sand Beach” by Bret Norwood

Life is good. See the sights. Smell the scents. Taste the flavors. Carpe diem friends………….

“I’ve seen a black sand beach
stranger than any foreign world
where King Poseidon draped in seaweed
once walked upon the Earth–”

-“Black Sand Beach” by Bret Norwood

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 9…….A GOOD DAY FOR A DAYDREAM

Venice, Italy

Closets could be cleaned. Chicken could be cooked. Soup could be simmered. There are myriads of things to do when self-isolating. Today, I prefer the good ol’ fashioned daydream…….

Day dream : noun – a pleasant visionary usually wishful creation of the imagination (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Day dream: noun – a series of pleasant thoughts that distract one’s attention from the present (Google)

Day dream: – noun – pleasant thoughts that make you forget about the present (Oxford Dictionary)

Day dream: – noun – series of pleasant thoughts about something you would prefer to be doing or something you would like to achieve in the future…………… (Cambridge.org)

Venice, Italy

Today, I’m thinking of all the places I would love to travel to in my lifetime…..Egypt, China (The Great Wall for certain), The Ice Hotel in Quebec, Antarctia, Venice (AGAIN!)………the list goes on and on in my mind while I accomplish the mundane tasks of cooking and freezing food in case we have a “shelter in place” in the near future here in Florida. The art of the armchair travel keeps me sane while the travel restrictions are in place for the time being.

Venice, Italy

“What a day for a daydream
What a day for a daydreamin’ boy……..

And even if time ain’t really on my side
It’s one of those days for taking a walk outside
I’m blowing the day to take a walk in the sun
And fall on my face in somebody’s new mowed lawn

I’ve been havin’ a sweet dream
I’ve been dreamin’ since I woke up today
It’s starring me in my sweet dream….”

-“Daydream” by Lovin’ Spoonfuls

Venice, Italy

Life Is Good. Live while you are living. Go outside; get some fresh air…..OR…. maybe it’s time for a daydream today instead. Time to think about all the wonderful things you want to do when the virus clears the air. Keep dreaming. Keep sane.

Carpe Diem, friends….