A Trip at Last—Even in a Lingering Pandemic

A GETAWAYfinally! Albeit a brief one.

The 40th anniversary trip couldn’t happen in 2020. Nor a rescheduled one  in 2021. Those were across the pond. This week we settled for three days and some long drives within New Mexico. It’s a big state, geographically—fifth largest in the US. We got our COVID boosters a few weeks ago—so why not a getaway!

Five hours to Roswell—yes, the purported site of that crash landing in 1947. It’s a town of 40,000 or so. We checked in Sunday afternoon. Touring began Monday. We encountered the first of the pandemic’s many collateral effects at the motel—the ice machines were out of order. A picnic cooler of ice at the front desk took their place. Yes, gas prices were up a bit, but we drive a hybrid.

Roswell has much more to offer than UFOs. We stopped first at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. Sculpture in all sorts of media and from desk top to room size. Mixed media framed wall art. Dramatic renderings of people, places and events—real or imagined, in brilliant hues. FREE admission but donations are accepted.

Next stop: the International UFO Museum! [Note: the admission is slightly higher than stated on the website] Lots to see, hear and read—news clippings, recordings and more from the 1940s and 50s. Plus, info from other times and places. Like the Mayans and more recently, the UK. You’ll find the standard statues of aliens, mockups of the saucer, and mannequins performing an autopsy (nothing disturbing). Plus, all the souvenirs you could imagine in the gift shop. She believes; I’m more agnostic. But we both love sci-fi movies and TV shows—like the CW version of Roswell, already renewed for a third season.

You really can tell where you are by the streetlights in the downtown area—and all the shops with alien-themed items. Clothing, jewelry, mugs, towels, etc. Oh, and the McDonalds with half a dozen silver hued alien figures displayed outside. May be more inside; we didn’t eat there.

We might have had lunch at a well-regarded restaurant, but it was closed. One of the few in Roswell that were. We ate at one of our favorite fast-food chains. The one in Silver City still hasn’t reopened several months after a kitchen fire. Those new drink machines weren’t working in Roswell’s spot. But the food was fine and they had all the items on the menu. They gave us the sodas from behind the counter.

After lunch, we headed to the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Another fine and very large place. Historical artifacts from the Southwest—like guns, swords, armor, equipment, Native American headdresses and much more. Again, like most museums, lots to read and absorb. So much so that you could spend many hours perusing it if you were so inclined. The OTHER side has art—lots of it. That takes less time—unless you are a real connoisseur or an artist yourself studying technique, etc. This one does have modest fees, with the usual discounts for seniors, students, etc.

Dinner that night offered more supply chain issues. An odd one—no mashed potatoes? Local chains have had shortages of chicken, salmon or other items temporarily. (Maybe you have found items unavailable at the grocery store). Tuesday morning, we headed to Truth or Consequences, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Roswell. Only the last 40 miles were on an interstate. The previous 120 were on two-lane roads, lightly traveled for the most part. Scenic some of the time and when not, at least not busy—only one or two vehicles passed us or were passed by us until I-25.

We missed the hot springs in T or C—that’s what New Mexicans call it. Our last soak was in 2019. Formerly named Hot Spring, it became Truth or Consequences by winning a contest in 1950. Ralph Edwards promised to host his tenth anniversary game show in any place that named itself after the radio program. That happened April 1, 1950.

There are LOTS of geothermal springs in T or C—and other New Mexico locations. A few motels/lodges offer individual tubs in private rooms. Others have multiple communal pools. Most of the latter require swimwear. If you prefer au naturel, there are some for you as well. We don’t, so we got one with a private tub in the room.

Happy Thanksgiving

 

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