May 30, 2017
After having been in the Las Cruces area in southwest New Mexico for the 4-day Memorial Day holiday I now shifted my attention to the southeast portion of the state, specifically Roswell and Carlsbad, two of the towns my visit to which were abandoned during my tornadic visit to the state in 2014.
(Photo credit: wiki-travel.com)
From Las Cruces I traveled northeast past Alamogordo and Cloudcroft to the Ruidoso area (far left on the map above) and drove a scenic loop up there in the mountains. From there I proceeded east to Roswell.
Those of you who know me are probably not surprised to hear that I was somewhat of a UFO geek in high school (late 60’s, early 70’s). For UFO enthusiasts Mecca is Roswell, New Mexico. In 1947 the US government allegedly recovered a flying saucer which had crashed near Roswell, along with the bodies of the crew.
When I discussed a possible visit to Roswell with a friend who lives in New Mexico back in 2014 he said “don’t bother going there – it’s just a tourist trap”. I told him “Mark, I can’t go to southeast New Mexico and not have aluminum foil on my head”. I didn’t plan to be there all day but I at least needed to make an appearance.
Well, I finally made it to Roswell:
I spent about two hours going through a UFO museum downtown and walking up and down the main street observing how the local merchants were using the notoriety. Can’t say I blame them. I did have a great lunch at a nice little restaurant and after having complimented the kitchen staff before I left was given an additional salad to take home for dinner (the owner literally tracked me down on the street as I was walking back to my car, talking to fellow travelers who had eaten at the table next to me).
Despite not having very high expectations I must say I came away VERY disappointed. Something I learned, which perhaps I already knew deep in my mind, was that the UFO didn’t actually crash in Roswell but about 75 miles northwest, closer to Corona (where, ironically, my friend Mark lives with his wife).
I had spent a night in their home back in 2014 (when he convinced me to go north to Santa Fe and Taos rather than south to Roswell and Carlsbad) and he never mentioned this fact. The reason Roswell gets the notoriety is that the “remains” of the craft and crew were supposedly taken to the closest military base at the time, the Roswell Army Air Field.