On the Road to Roswell – January 24, 2007
We camped last night in the Lake Lyman State Park in eastern Arizona. The thermometer outside read zero degrees Fahrenheit at 5 AM. We’re up at about 6,000 feet in the desert on a huge uplifted plateau area that covers much of Arizona and New Mexico.
There are no TV signals here so we can’t watch the Australian Open. We play scrabble and Mrs. Phred wins 338-202. Yesterday we saw the old Wigwam Motel on a short segment of Route 66 in Holbrook, Arizona.
The hill in just front of us in the State Park has a number of ancient Indian petroglyphs carved into the rocks. The lake is covered with a sheet of ice.
The air is very clear. The combination of altitude, dry air, low temperature, no moon and lack of air and light pollution bring out the stars as they must have appeared 100 years ago. The nearest small community, Edgar, is 20 miles distant. I saw a couple of shooting stars this morning.
We head for Roswell, New Mexico, 350 miles distant, the site of the famous flying saucer crash in the 1940s. The alien crew member’s bodies are stored at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The crash was “covered up” as being merely a wayward weather balloon. I learned this fact by talking to other old Air Force air crew who all knew someone who knew someone who had actually seen the bodies.
We pass the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in New Mexico. These are the largest array of radio telescopes in the world. We have been to Arecibo in Puerto Rico, but that is just a huge single radio telescope, rather than an very large array.
We pass the Stallion Gate leading to the Trinity test site where the first A-bomb was exploded in 1945. I slam on the brakes and walk 300 yards back to the historical marker. Trinity is only open to the public two days each year. The bomb turned the desert sand to melted green glass called tritinite. The Atomic Energy Commission scooped it all up after the war. We see a novelty shop offering tritinite a few miles later. Probably they are just selling old recycled and polished coca-cola bottle glass.
Later we enter the “Valley of Fires” black lava field. it covers thousands of acres. Cactus grow in the cracks and fissures. I remember camping here with my 13 year old son, who is now much older and now has five children of his own.
Next we pass though Lincoln, New Mexico. That’s where Billy the Kid was held in jail and made his escape by stealing a gun and killing one of his jailers on a trip to the outhouse. I want to see the museum again and spend longer reading Billy’s letters to the territorial Governor. Asteroid Lil lives there. I’d stop and say hello and visit the museum again, but we have no cellular broadband signals so there is no way to contact her today and we want to get to Roswell and watch tennis. We fail to spot her wayward buffalo on the way through..
Here are some pictures of the drive to Roswell.
We find an RV park in Roswell about 16:30 with cable and watch Gonzalez beat Nadal like a gong….like a red-headed step-child...he was beaten comprehensively and in detail...perhaps Gonzalez has a slim chance against Federer if he walks over Haas like he trounced Nadal.