Day 74 - Unidentified Crawling Object

Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End Nov 08, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Thursday, July 31, 2008

As we were early to bed because of the UFO's (of the insect variety) and we hadn't slept well the previous night from being in a Wal-Mart car park, we slept really well last night and were awake early. Neil had washed Chip before 8 am and we were both out walking just after 8.00 on the trail from the campground that takes you through 1000 year old lava flow. The lava came not from a volcano, but from lava vents. All kinds of wildlife lives out there, particularly rattlesnakes, scorpions and tarantulas! We didn't see any scorpions but we heard a rattlesnake and saw some tarantula burrows.

We left the site around 9.30 and had only driven a couple of miles out of the entrance when Neil suddenly exclaimed "Oh no", slowed down, pulled over and then turned back and went back the other way. Mel thought he had left something in the showers, but when he pulled over again and jumped out, it soon became clear what the fuss was about. A tortoise, crossing the road and which had been superbly positioned for getting splattered by the next vehicle to come along behind us. UCO identified! So Neil picked him up and brought him across the road in the direction he was travelling and put him safely behind the fence a little way from the road. He probably turned right around and went back across after we drove off!

The next couple of hours took us firstly through the very green and picturesque Capitan Mountains dotted with small villages along the way, and then into more wide open expanses of scrub land as we approached Roswell, "host" to the alleged alien visitation of 1947.

In the centre of Roswell, some of the businesses have got into the alien / UFO thing but not as many as we thought . The local authorities were doing their bit though, having alien eyes painted on the globes of their street lamps. $5 each got us admission into the "UFO Museum" where we spent an hour scrutinising all of their exhibits, mainly documentation from various sources, giving their accounts and opinions on the events of 4th July 1947. We'd never known the exact date of the "incident" before and once we realised that it was Independence Day, Neil came up with a theory of his own - they were all hammered on moonshine after their 4th July celebrations! After reading one account we would think "Yep, definitely had to be aliens" and then after the next, "Nope, definitely something to do with the military". All in all, we went in thinking that aliens probably had crash-landed and left feeling a little more inclined to believe that they hadn't. Another fact that we never knew before was that there was an air force base in the area at the time, the one in fact where the 509th who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were based, and a lot of the sketches and photographs of what people had seen, remarkably resembled the B2 "stealth" bomber. Maybe it was the very early days of development of these aircraft. Maybe the "green men" were just military personnel involved in the Trinity nuclear explosion two years earlier who were still glowing in the dark! Who knows? But one thing is for sure, the truth is out there!

We headed out of Roswell with a couple of extra passengers on board. A bendy alien for the dashboard and an inflatable one for the monkeys! The prize for the party in Roswell that has most got into the alien thing has to go to Wal-Mart. Not only do they have a flying saucer and an alien next to their main sign, they also have loads of them painted on their windows, reading, waving, pushing trolleys and carrying groceries! How mad! Our kind of store!

From Roswell it was just a short drive to our campground at Bottomless Lakes State Park and on the way through the park we saw our first roadrunner. We got ourselves a nice pitch right by the lake and settled in with a few cold drinks. Alcohol is prohibited within the campground for some bizarre reason so we had to settle for "iced tea"! It's been a real scorcher today, no way we couldn't have a cold drink. (P.S. think about the colour of iced tea!)

Sadly the proper flies are a real nuisance at this site and after an hour or so of being plagued by them, Mel declared herself beaten and barricaded herself in Chip. Neil braved them a while longer only to get eaten by mosquitoes as he took photographs of the sunset.

Miles travelled: 119

Total miles travelled: 6577

Days on road: 54

States visited: 11

National Parks visited: 10
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