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Day 5, Wednesday May 24, 2017:
Las Vegas, New Mexico -> Vaughn, Roswell, New Mexico

We left Las Vegas on the Santa Fe Trail through the hogback ridges, crossing Route 66 while heading south. It wasn't long before the terrain opened up, trees diminished and the sky got big. Driving on the flat lands on the 4 lane widely divided highway 285 we spotted 2 silhouettes on the horizon as the road sloped upward. Facing each other from across the wide roadway were 2 cowboys in poses indicative of a heated argument. The painted cutouts seemed to be 20 feet or taller. They are the work of artist John Purcell and titled, "Cowboy Ruckus" With one cowboy angrily pointing to the other who is laid back mocking the claim, they made for an interesting photo stop on a long lonely roadway. Other than that the drive was long and peaceful and the ground became flatter and flatter.

Finally there on the horizon was the Welcome to Roswell sign, complete with flying saucer. Pretty much everywhere you look signs and buildings are festooned with little green aliens, flying saucers or something related to the Roswell Incident. It was lunch time and we settled in on Big D's Downtown Dive. It was eclectic, simple and good.

I hadn't looked into Roswell prior to coming and was surprised to find a significant downtown, not a big city but nice place. It's New Mexico's 5th largest city with a population of over 48,000. Roswell is also home to the nation's and perhaps the world's largest mozzarella cheese factory, supplying many of the big pizza chains. Why this is here in the middle of nowhere in desert like conditions is a mystery to me. I always thought places like that would be in the big dairy states like Wisconsin.

We poked around for a while checking out the UFO street art like murals, statues and window displays before getting down to business. We visited the UFO Museum & International Research Center. The greeter was a little silver dummy named Ralph (Roswell Alien Life Form). The museum had a very detailed timeline walkthrough with many clippings, quotes and pictures. It centered around what is called the Roswell Incident and the few that had contact and some pieces of debris thought to be from the spaceship. Some key images appeared repeatedly. We watched the movie that ran telling the story. The place was the size of a small department store and included some other related displays to fill the place out. In the end whatever happened seemed a mystery under cloud of secrecy, hoax or reality.

While we were there we went to the Research Center to see if they had record of the Great Orange Peel UFO caper of 1976. They didn't so perhaps I will send them copies of the newspaper stories.

After that we thoroughly walked the downtown checking out the UFO stuff in search of the perfect tee shirt. I found one that was close but by the time I decided it needed to be that one I had seen so many I didn't know where to find it! We also found two UFO funhouses that were walk though black light experiences for a couple bucks each. We saw aliens as bikers, bride & groom, Mexicans, card players, campers, inmates and in all walks of life. The black light displays really lit up the camera.

We spent most of the afternoon walking the place including some back streets to get a feel for the town. This is another city that has a utility alley running alongside the main street. On the main street there are no poles or wires, the narrow street behind each side of the street has all of the poles, wires and transformers. It's a neat way to keep the street looking nice without going underground.

We checked into the hotel late in the day. The lobby included alien themed décor. We noticed that the town had a Golden Coral restaurant, we had enjoyed those back on our honeymoon. I think their offerings and our eating styles have gone in different directions over 30 years.

The aliens are usually little diminutive figures. I was thinking that we hadn't seen any humanoid scale green people to pose with. 5 seconds later there he (or she?) stood in a hotel parking lot. We pulled in and shot some selfies of Lorna and I. It's time to get a selfie stick.


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Created June 8, 2017