Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 39 - Roswell NM

Today we slept in a bit and I made pancakes for breakfast.  After gathering up the dirty laundry and starting dinner in the crock pot we decided to head for Roswell to do a little exploring.  Leaving the campground, we chose to drive on the top of the escarpment rather than the base.  Good choice.  The view was stunning.  This panorama shows a bit of the escarpment on the left.  This was at one time the bank of the Pecos River.  Our campground is just to the right of the "cliff" and the sinkhole (or cenote) we are camping near is in the middle.  There are nine of these lakes which are fed by underground water percolating through the rocks and into the lakes.  Because the evaporation rate is so high in this desert climate the water is brackish.  This lake is Lea Lake.  It is 90 feet deep and the only one where swimming is allowed.  Notice how far you can see out to the horizon.  In Maine we just aren't accustomed this this sort of vista.  If I could do a 360 degree panorama you would see the same long view in all directions.

This is horse country.  On the way into town we passed Hunter Creek Farms which is a mare care facility.  They have no stallions there and concentrate solely on the mares and babies.  The mares are moved to an inside stall several days before foaling and then the mare and baby are moved to stalls with outside runs and finally paddocks.  We saw a large group of mares out in one of the paddocks as we drove by.  We also passed the Double Eagle Ranch which is a race horse training center.  Their biggest claim to fame is that it is the home of Mine That Bird who won the Kentucky Derby.
We heard bird calls last night and thought they might have been geese (although it didn't sound quite like geese).  Today we learned that these are lesser sandhill cranes.  The birds have begun their winter migration and huge flocks of them are starting to show up in New Mexico now.  We didn't see one up close as in the photo I borrowed from Wikipedia but did see and hear several large flocks in formation flying overhead.
Speaking of things flying overhead.  In July 1947 there were reports that an extra-terrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants crashed near Roswell, NM.  This incident has been the subject of intense controversy and several conspiracy theories as to the true nature of the object that crashed.  There is a dandy little UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell that presents a glut of information about this event.  The people who created the museum have done a wonderful job collecting and presenting the various documents.  I would say that completely justifies the $5 admission.  Please notice how we were able to park our truck right in front of the museum entrance!

There are exhibits that show replicas of the extra-terrestrial beings that were described by witnesses to the events.

And quite a few items that show somebody's sense of humor.

Downtown Roswell is another sad, dying Southwestern town.  They do take advantage of their unique reputation though.  The street lights are done up like alien heads and there are quite of number of little green men popping up on signs and in windows.
Most of the shopping action is on either end of the Main Street where there are large malls and all the chain stores and restaurants you might care to frequent.

My art in the wild for today was found inside the museum.  Like the Yellowstone buffalo and Beaufort mermaid and Portland lighthouse, Roswell has painted ponies.  This one was decorated with green sparkles and all the newspaper reports from the Roswell incident. 

Before today we had never eaten at Sonic Burger.  Now we have.  You drive your vehicle up next to a menu board and order from there.  Then somebody brings your food out to you and you eat it in your car.  The truck almost didn't fit into the space and we are quite a bit taller than the surrounding cars.

I will say that they made a very good milk shake!

Since we needed to do our laundry, we needed to find a laundromat.  I found an address on the Internet and we set off to find the spot.  First whoops - I sent us to North Main St when it should have been South Main St.  But we did come across a car wash and Brett was finally able to give the truck a good scrub.  While there, a man came over to talk and told him that he was from Bangor. 

Second whoops - We go 2 miles back in the other direction and find that the laundromat is closed.  Seems a sure fire sign of trouble when you can't find a place to wash your clothes!  We kept looking and finally located a nice, clean friendly spot.  Here we met this nice couple and their 5 month old daughter.  The young man spoke told us that he works on oil rigs and only got 2 days on the job this week.  He was wondering if there might be more jobs in Maine.  We told him that the economy wasn't much better there but that we had seen that there was a boom in oil jobs in Montana and Wyoming.  I hope that things work out for them.
Notice the little green men up on the signs.  Notice all the Spanish words on the signs.

We found diesel for 3.99 a gallon today.  Odd that it seemed such a bargain.  In 1972 when I got my first car (a Volkswagen Beetle) gas was .30 a gallon and it cost 3.00 to fill the tank!  I can't decide if that makes me feel nostalgic or old.

I do know that the day left me feeling curious about the Roswell incident.  I think that I will do some more research.  It is a lovely evening here - cool and quiet.  Who knows what might be seen in the night sky?

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