Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gringos in Roswell

Just north of Alamo-gordo , New Mexico, is the little town of Tularosa with a history of Spanish influence back to the 17th century. On the side of the road was a stand selling ristras (strings of dried chili peppers) and advertising roasted chilies for sale. After negotiating narrow tree-lined back streets, we found a place to park the motorhome and ended up purchasing a small ristra and a bag of roasted chilies. La senora assured us they were “medium.” The bag of chilies probably weighs at least 5 pounds, and we happily paid $7. More about the chilies later.

The ristra has found a display place just beside the motorhome’s entry door.

Highway 70 turns eastward from Tularosa and climbs over 7,519-foot Apache Pass while traversing the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. This was new country for us, and it was a treat to see pine trees covering the mountains as we drove. The highway skirts Ruidoso Village and passes Ruidoso Downs. Just beyond Ruidoso Downs there is a new RV Park we had been told was very special. We weren’t ready to stop, and it’s just as well. The park was small, close to the highway, and quite plain.

Along the highway we stopped for a potty break. Next to the road was another New Mexico Historical sign announcing the John H. Tunstall murder site. New Mexicans seem to like to commemorate old murders, if you’ll recall the sign we saw two postings ago. This new one was tied to Billy the Kid, and we learned that we were indeed traveling the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway.

We are now spending four nights at Roswell, New Mexico, home of UFO sightings and cover-ups. We had heard and read so much about the crazy goings-on surrounding extraterrestrials that we were disappointed at the scarcity of hoopla in town.

Our home for the time, the Red Barn RV Park, has a few examples of UFO mania.

We did a quick tour of Main Street, then visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Even the downtown street lamps began to take on an alien appearance!

Everyone has heard of The Roswell Incident, but a tour of this museum and research center is an eye-opener. Going through the exhibits, we followed The Roswell Incident Timeline, chronicling the day-to-day accounting of the events that became The Roswell Incident. Witness testimonies, photographs, maps, copies of newspapers and a mockup of a Roswell radio station in 1947 gave a complete accounting of what happened in 1947. We heard and read both sides of the story, the witness reports, the alleged government cover-ups (some of them as fanciful as the reports themselves), and we still don’t know what happened. Come here yourself, tour the museum, and make up your own mind.

This horse's "hide" is plastered with newspaper articles from 1947, telling the story of sightings and the "official" statements.

This artist's conception of the alleged crash on July 7, 1947, is said to be the most photographed exhibit in the entire museum.

Roswell’s other attractions include Roswell Pioneer Plaza with its central statue of early-day cattle baron John Chisholm and a 1920”s Conoco gas station retained for its architecture but converted for other uses.

The gas station is declared to be “one of the few remaining architecturally intact gasoline stations from this early period of New Mexico’s transportation history.”

Further north sits the New Mexico Military Institute, in place since 1891, now with an enrollment of some 1,000 students in grades 9-12, plus college freshmen and sophomores. Today it remains the only state supported college preparatory school in New Mexico.

South of town is the LePrino Food plant, allegedly one of the world’s largest mozzarella cheese factories. We went on a wild goose chase, only to learn that there are no tours and no retail sales facility, even though we were able to park in a visitors' parking area!

Back to the chilies. Tuesday morning, Suzy cleaned up and bagged the chilies for freezing. She ended up with six partially-filled quart freezer bags, which we figure will last us quite a while. It fell to me to make my famous Chili Relleno Omelet for breakfast. HOOBOY! “Medium” chilies can pack a wallop on our gringo taste buds!

If you'd like to try some chilies, flag us down somewhere along ... Our Life on Wheels.

1 comment:

  1. We've always wanted to visit Roswell and now, thanks to your blog and great photos we have vicariously been there. I don't see any other comments on this installment. Can't help but wonder whether or not some outside influence is at work here. Rod Serling . . . are you there?

    Dick & Jeri


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