Thursday March 14th, 2019 – We woke up to clear sunny skies and headed north to Roswell. Its about an hour and half drive with a lot of cattle yards and pecan groves along the way.
We got to our unique destination – The International UFO Museum And Research Center downtown in Roswell. It’s a very busy place! We spent a couple of hours there reading testimonials and looking at photos displays.
It’s really interesting that reputable town folk, military personnel, law enforcement and others who made statements and had notarized documented accounts about the events of the 1947 UFO Crash and it’s Alien occupants, were somehow mistaken. In truth, according to the government it was actually only a weather balloon. I guess the X Files slogan “The truth is out there” still applies.
The museum had a kitschy but well decorated, well stocked and very busy gift shop. Roswell has made good on its UFO business.
The town is full of Alien gift shops, Aliens as advertisements and some funny slogans on workers tees. Peppers Restaurant servers wore shirts with Ca-alien-te (caliente = hot) which is perfect for Alien Mexican Food I’m thinkin’!
After grabbing a good lunch at Peppers our next stop was The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. Its not a huge museum but had some great pieces. The museum is privately owned by artist Donald B. Anderson whose work is in the museum as well as the work of artists that he has brought on board. We only had an hour to browse but it was a good choice for the second part of our day. You can see more at https://rair.org/about-amoca
It was nice getting out and about after the awful weather. Roswell was a clean, pretty town and had a character all its own. Tomorrow we head west in search of better weather!
Monday March 11th – Wednesday March 13th
It was 3 hours of wide-open space from El Paso TX to Carlsbad NM. The Carlsbad RV Park is just outside of town and had everything we needed except good Wi-Fi. We settled in late Monday afternoon, then took a drive through town just to get a lay of the land. The forecast was for stormy weather and it rolled in Tuesday AM with a vengeance. Once the storm settled, we headed into town for breakfast. Carlsbad was covered by low, dark skies so we hunkered down in Lucky and worked on cancelling some of our reservations and revamping our schedule. We were headed north from Carlsbad to stay at a couple of lakes so JP could fish. It’s way too cold for that to be fun (or fruitful) so we’re aiming for warmer weather back in Arizona. It was a mighty storm all night long with crazy wind and rain.
By late afternoon Tuesday the next storm hit hard. The weather service warned of 70 mph gusts, 1.5 inch hail, rain and the sirens sounded out the possibility of a tornado. It was really dramatic! Lucky rocked with the wind, the rain pelted down and the lightening rolled around us. By the time it quieted down Lucky was sitting in his own little lake. There’s more storm on the way. I guess we’re hostage to the weather but at least we weren’t in a tent like some of the campers here!
The storm is actually called a Bomb Cyclone and this is how it went according to a local news broadcast for Eddy County where we were:
“New Mexico experienced what’s called a ‘Bomb Cyclone’ packing wind gusts of more than 100 mph and dumping a foot of snow. No part of the state was spared, but some areas are being hit harder than others.
It is finally calming down across much of the state after almost two full days of very active and severe storms. New Mexico has seen almost every kind of weather this week, but Wednesday the big danger was gusting winds.
Winds strong enough to send a whole cargo train barreling off a bridge near Logan, rip off a school’s roof in Roswell, and knock over at least a dozen cars around Wagon Mound; are also creating whiteout conditions in the northern mountains, shutting down highways, knocking out power, and sending trees into the roads and onto homes”.
Sunday March 10th, 2019- Our plans for Sunday went askew when we realized it that Sunday meant a lot of things were closed. Apparently, we can’t go forever without doing laundry so we caught up at the KOA where we’re staying.
We went into the little town of Anthony and had an authentic Mexican meal at the Twins Mexican Restaurant. It wasn’t fancy but really very good. We spent the evening catching up loose ends and getting ready to launch in the morning.
Saturday March 9th, 2019 – We drove into El Paso to find the Surreal Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden. We met the artist Ho Baron at his home and he was kind enough to give us a tour. Ho was generous with his time and explained how his pieces came to be. The sculptures were definitely surreal. He has smaller works that are made with dolls that are certainly unusual! We spent at least an hour visiting with Ho, who has 2 Masters degrees and has traveled to 40 countries as well as being in the Peace Corp.
He published a book of his work (which we happily purchased) and signed it for us. If you want to see more about him and his unusual art you can go to hobaron.com and learn all about him.
It was a great stop for a unique opportunity. I don’t think in our travels we’ve seen anything quite like his work. It was an experience to remember.
Our next stop was Historic Downtown El Paso. There’s a lovely old theater there. The Plaza Theater was presenting Evita and it was nice to see the crowd all dressed up for the theater presentation.
Since it was an Art Day we walked to the El Paso Museum of Art and took in centuries old paintings, contemporary artists and youth art. It wasn’t a huge museum but it certainly filled the bill. If you look closely at the black and white mural you can get a sense of its size – that’s me at the foot of it.
We took a quick trip through El Centro at the edge of downtown. The buildings were colorful and the stores fronts full of all kinds of stuff from over the border. Lucky’s limited storage keeps shopping to a minimum for us so we just took a look and called it a day.
Side Note: 81% of El Paso’s population is Hispanic or Latino. El Paso has an estimated population of 679,000. That’s a population density of 2,500 people per square mile! Just across the Border is Juárez, Mexico which is #20 on the top 50 Highest Murder Rates in a non-warring country. Yet El Paso, a stones throw away has a murder rate of 2.9 per 100,000. St Lois Missouri in comparison was 64.9 per 100,000. Since 1997 El Paso has been ranked one of the top 3 safest cities.
The photo above is a view of El Paso from the Scenic Drive Overlook.
Friday March 8th, 2019 – Yep, I had a Birthday so the day was mine. I know, I know, how totally unlike me to want a couple of cocktails, some time at the casino and a fun dinner out! I’ve hit another life goal and have Medicare on board. We kicked off my 65th with drive to the Sunland Casino and Race Track. We didn’t do the horses but we did sit in the Race Track bar for a drink. We stayed and played (they have 700 slot machines) for hours. The casino was kind enough to give us 30.00 each in free play for signing up for their Players Card, sweet! We had a blast but alas no big win for me. Luckily we are a team and JP won back what I lost. So, no harm-no fowl for our gambling day. Every time I used my Players Card the machine wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Afterwords we had dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. It was our first visit so they gave us a sampler of sides to go with out hot buns and sweet butter. The food was great and was plenty for dinner a second night. The service was hopping and the crew took a break to do a little line dancing between the tables. Add a giant margarita with a Patron Shot for a mere 2.00 and we were totally fans!
We made a stop at Cabella’s so JP could pick up a bass rod and reel he’s been hankering for. I guess that cancels out his win balancing my casino loss but he was happy, so what the hay!
Thursday March 7th, 2019 – Today was a drive day and we were out in time to only have a little of the big wind that was in the forecast for mid-day today. The roads are under construction so it took a bit to get to Anthony through the detours. We found the El Paso West, Journey KOA behind our arch-nemesis Camping World. The KOA is clean and out of the way but it is desert mountain landscape so its mostly a flat treeless lot (otherwise described as a “desert-paradise).” The KOA is at the base of Franklin Mountains State Park so that does make a nice backdrop.
Wednesday March 6th, 2019
We drove about an hour to White Sands National Monument. It’s pretty amazing to see miles of white sand in every direction. The sand made a glare like snow on a sunny day. There were hiking trails, dunes to slide down in saucers, and cool looking picnic areas. It’s 275 miles of gypsum sand – the largest gypsum dune on earth. It’s so big astronauts can spot it from space!
After we drove the White Sands Loop we headed toward Alamogordo to see the New Mexico Museum of Space History.
HAM, the first chimpanzee to travel into space is buried on the grounds.
There were interactive displays, simulators, missiles, and rockets.
It wasn’t huge but it was interesting.
There was an Induction Gallery honoring Gene Roddenberry as the newest inductee into the International Space Hall of Fame. The exhibit had all kinds of Star Trek memorabilia, photos and info. Who doesn’t want to say “Beam me up Scotty”? Now you see us – then you don’t!
Our last stop was at Hi D’ Ho Drive in for dinner. It’s ranked #1 of 53 places to eat in Alamogordo. It’s a local fav and you could tell – the drive-in spaces were all full. Imagine a BLT plus a burger served on grilled Texas toast, hot and yummy fries with a fresh squeezed lime-aid. No wonder it’s #1!
We headed back to Las Cruces at sunset fat n’ happy!
Tuesday March 5th, 2019
Las Cruces has been a good place for us to take care of business. We decided to do our 90,000 mile service on the truck, tied up loose ends for my Medicare. Nothing exciting to report but it’s a relief to have our to do list almost complete, the truck good to tow and our taxes mailed off.
Sunday March 3rd, 2019 – Today we went to the Old Town of Mesilla. Its was small but had lots of character. It dates back to the 1800’S and by the 1870’s was in its prime.
The town still has a historic feel with its bricked streets and adobe style buildings. According the Visitors Guide, many of the residents are direct descendants of its earlier settlers. There were some cool store fronts, a myriad of shops with a Mexico flavor and some upper end boutiques. One of the stores had amazing hand stitched boots (the price is on the picture to the right).
We were there just as the Basilica of San Albino service was just letting out. Its a lovely church built in 1855 and rebuilt in 1906.
One of the towns claims to fame is that Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced here.
We stopped into an Art Gallery and met the lovely Kay Susin who was kind enough to have her photo taken with her work. The photo between us is called “Whispers of Spring” and was the 2018 first place selection at the Sun Bowl Art Exhibit at the International Museum of Art in El Paso.
Our last stop was to Andeles for a good (and HOT!) Mexican meal. I probably didn’t need TripAdvisor to tell us this is THE place to eat in town. We could probably have guessed by the crowd! We certainly aren’t in Oregon anymore – I had the green sauce (mild they said) and my mouth was still on fire!
Saturday Feb 2, 2019 – Today we headed into Las Cruces for the Farmers Market . It felt SO good to be outside with no jacket and the sun overhead! There were lots of people, some unique hand crafted items, local produce, honey and baked goods. The picture on the right is of a booth that sold toys – being created on the spot with a 3D printer – that was a new one for us!
There were some interesting historic buildings and the movie theater was cool and showing matinees for the kids.
Later we scored a great meal at Rudy’s BBQ. I’m so glad we have the internet to scope out great eats while were traveling. This place was super casual with folding chairs and picnic tables but it had a great vibe and REALLY good BBQ!
Side Note: Its a little weird to see the stop lights horizontal rather than vertical. We’re guessing its due to the wind here.