Monday, February 29, 2016

Scuba Divers and Shiny Models in Eastern New Mexico

The weather is so pretty on Friday that we spend most of it just hanging out at the campground. Enjoying the wide open space, the total quiet, reading a good book - perfect.

Big yard all to ourselves
A dog outstanding in her field
In the afternoon we take off in search of Rattlesnake Canyon. We follow the directions to another two-track but after only a short distance are stopped by a locked gate. Going around the other way we find another one. Oh well, back to town.

No Rattlesnake Canyon for us
I'm fascinated by the perfectly flat horizon
One of the must-sees in Santa Rosa, NM, is the Blue Hole. Another sink hole, it is one of seven small lakes connected underground. With an important place in the history of native tribes and pioneers, in the 1970's it became a recreation area, and more recently home to the Blue Hole Dive and Conference Center. It is very small, very blue, and very spectacular. When we arrive we find rescue diver training in progress.

A natural wonder
Training for underwater rescue
Amazing color
Bubbles rise from divers deep below
Saturday the anticipated wind arrives so taking in the Route 66 Museum sounds like a great idea. Developed and maintained by Bozo and Anna Cordova, the little museum houses 30 vintage vehicles and a collection of signs, toys and other artifacts of the famous Mother Road - Route 66. We found it worth the $5/person fee to enjoy the fun collection.

1955 Edsel FEMA Specialty Vehicle
So shiny!
A favorite - 1956 Bel Air

I love the original interiors
This 1931 Auburn is the most unique 
Bill's favorite, 1963 Corvette
1973 Chevy Nova - lots of red
Original exterior 1955 Ford Woody Wagon
With a not-so-original engine under the hood
Vintage Cadillac - we don't see tail lights like these anymore
After the museum we drive around the small downtown with lovely old buildings that now mostly stand vacant. The historic court house is the exception.

On the corner of Old Route 66 and 3rd Street
Guadalupe County Courthouse since 1905
Modern art on the grounds of the courthouse
I love the detail of the panels
With wind in the forecast for most of our few remaining days we decide that moving on early sounds like the better option. We love having this flexibility, to change our plans when the urge strikes. There's one other reason we want to get to Santa Fe......and we're pretty excited.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blue Water, Blue Skies - Red Water, Red Rocks

We wrapped things up with Mom in Roswell and headed north on Wednesday.

Before we leave we get one more lunch at Peppers with our gal Courtney. Funny how sometimes you just connect instantly with a complete stranger :-)

With Courtney at Peppers Grill and Bar
After several visits we realize what their shirts say. c-Alien-te'   Ha!  Only in Roswell.

Our last night Aunt Nancy has us all over for pizza and salad and homemade carrot cake. It's a wonderful evening of family stories and lots of laughs.

Already missing these lovely ladies
It is wonderful to get back on the road, heading somewhere we've never been. A steady climb to 6000 ft with head winds makes a short 150 mile drive seem longer, but we arrive at Santa Rosa Lake State Park before 1 PM. There are eight w/e sites, but we have reserved A12, a nice pull through with electric only.

View from our site - A12
With the exception of the camp host we are the only ones here. Heavenly after being tucked tightly in town for a couple weeks. Before the sun goes down another small trailer arrives. And parks right across from us :-(  Seriously? Ours is the only site with a reserved sticker, so they came in and paid at the entrance.  Their loud talking early in the morning wakes us up, so we're pleased that they pack up and move on.

Thursday is cold, but the sun is bright and the skies blue, so after breakfast we head out to see the area.

Many of the access roads are closed, but we find one open just below the dam. The water is calm and clean, but there is no sign of fish or bird.

Overlook at Santa Rosa Lake
Lots of beautiful rock surround this end of the lake
While the boat ramp is open, Juniper Park Day Use is not. We drive up to the vista point to get the full view.

Pretty blue Santa Rosa Lake with Juniper Park in front
Bill finds a box canyon on the map - let's go find it! 13 miles on a good dirt road takes us to the turn. Sort of. It's more a "track" that hasn't been used in a long time. Brush is tall, no tire marks. Cool.

We're nowhere near a mountain of any size so not surprising the canyon is in the river. The track ends before the directions, but we stop where it does and walk down to the nearly dry riverbed. 

The water is the same red as the dirt.
Not what he was looking for, but we enjoy the uniqueness of the place. The complete silence, the rugged vegetation, the soft cow path along the low canyon walls. 

Years of water flow and erosion carve an interesting canyon through the otherwise flat terrain
At 40 degrees, when the breeze comes up we head back for the Jeep. Tessa has managed to avoid stepping on the large burrs, but her fur catches several of them so I get those all out before we continue.

Not fluffy-dog friendly
All the low-growing grasses curl like ribbon
A variety of mesas in the distance
After lunch we head south for Puerto de Luna, one of the first settlements in New Mexico. The drive takes us through beautiful red rock canyons along the Pecos River.

There is nothing commercial in the little village - just houses, including centuries-old adobes, and a large catholic church.

A bit of infamous history

One of several old adobes
with hand cut stone work over 200 years old
1921 Catholic church
Bill finds a "back way" for our return. Tighter canyons, more wonderful red rock. In some areas, the rock has been blasted for the little road, and the huge boulders are.......well, huge!

We pass the local day care before leaving the canyon
On our way back to the park we see this classic at the gas station, inspiring us to plan a trip to the local car museum for the weekend.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

In Search of Knowledge

Seeking life will not find you knowledge.

Sounds deep I know. And turns out is true when it comes to trees. I had read about a sculpture in Roswell that I very much wanted to visit. I Googled, and Search-ed, and asked.....but could not find any reference to the Tree of Life.

Because it's called the Tree of Knowledge! Oops....

Fortunately I remember it might be at the library and that finally leads me to the piece - on the corner of Pennsylvania and 3rd Street.

17 feet tall with metal branches and leaves of words
Over 2800 tiles made by Roswell citizens
Some quotes cover several tiles, while others are a single word
We spent 20 minutes looking for favorites
The artist, Sue Wink, has created many other community art pieces that I'll now be looking for in our travels.

Keeping with the "learning about stuff" theme for our Saturday, we next visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

As expected, the initial focus is on the 1947 crash site discovery just outside the city of Roswell. But there is a lot of other well-presented information on extra-terrestrial sightings, crop circles, proved hoaxes, and ancient cultures. 

We both find it hard to believe we could possibly be the only life in this huge universe, so we entered with minds wide open. Tessa is neutral on the subject.

The amount of written documentation, witness statements, sworn affidavits and testimony from both military personnel and local citizens is staggering. It is much easier to believe that a spacecraft crashed with alien life forms aboard, than it is to believe it was a weather balloon. 

The original press release given to Lt Haut as the official story said the crash site was a flying saucer
The next day the story was changed to the crash of a weather balloon 
Witness statements
including numerous military documents
It's doubtful we will ever know the truth of what was discovered, or why it was so important to hide it all away, although attempts to unearth new information continue.

2002 excavation of the original site produced no additional evidence
Alternate explanations for the wreckage that Mack Brazel found are offered here as well, avoiding a "hard sale" that an alien ship was the only possibility.

Maybe a ship, but one of ours
Maybe a cover-up, but for a logical reason
I find the information on crop circles particularly interesting - differences in wheat at the molecular level seem pretty compelling to me.

I hope someone is still working on these
Before the final exhibits on the entertainment world's take-over of the topic, there is a small section on the ancient cultures whose artifacts reference "sky people" and our relationship with them. A good reminder that Roswell was not likely the "first contact".

Hand carved story panel
depicting a ship with oxygen, braking and navigation systems in relationship to travel through planets and stars.
In addition to all the documents and photographs, there are movie props and other photo-op aliens throughout the museum. There is definitely a strong belief among us on just what they look like!

Autopsy table from the tv-movie "Roswell"
Just floatin' in the back corner
Yep, we all look alike

Working security at the store across the street (the street lights are still my favorite)
Although it's not something we need to do again, I'm really glad we took the time and the $10 to see the museum. If you're in Roswell, you really have to see it :-)