Saturday, March 19, 2011

Airplanes, Indians, & Aliens

We’ve never spent much time in Roswell, NM, so on this trip we spent a couple of days exploring the area.  We found a pleasant city, with an upscale shopping area, lots of good restaurants, and some interesting sights.  When thinking of Roswell, most people think of the alleged alien spacecraft crash of 1947, an event that faded away quickly until around 1970, when the local Air Force base closed and the town lost fully one-half of it’s population.  Local businessmen brainstormed for ways to help keep the town alive, and so the great alien spaceship crash was resurrected.  Now each year, there’s an annual celebration, the Roswell UFO Festival, complete with alien parade, guest UFO lecturers, and fittingly, an Elvis impersonator.     Who wouldn’t want to attend and see the “Alien Idol Karaoke Contest”, the “Miss UFO Festival”, and learn about the “News that the government won’t tell you about!”.  Thirsting for more information, we headed for the center of it all, the International UFO Museum and Research Center, conveniently located in the heart of downtown.  After paying our $3 admission fee (I think we were UFO Museum Interiorovercharged), we entered a world of faded newspaper clippings, bad artwork, and hokey displays.  My favorite was the “authentic” recreation of the alien autopsy,  where the alien looked like a preschooler’s silly putty creation that hadn’t been dusted in decades.  What a hoot!  Alien AutopsyAnd don’t be fooled, the museum doesn’t limit itself to the Roswell “crash” – there’s exhibits on alien abductions, crop circles, and of course, Area 51.  But maybe the best part is the gift shop, where you can buy gifts that combine the best of New Mexico and aliens from outer space, like the red chili-alien Christmas Ornament – a must have!  I’m sorry if this offends the true believers of the Roswell story, but for me, it’s just that – a story.
On a much more serious exploration, we journeyed to Fort Sumner to visit the Bosque Redondo Memorial, which commemorates the site of a million-acre Indian reservation.  Bosque Redondo CenterTo get here, over 8000 Navajos were marched as far as 450 miles during a harsh winter in 1863, and kept here until 1868.  The memorial, a beautiful building built to resemble an Indian Teepee, has a nice visitor center and interpretive trails that wander through the cottonwood trees.  The story here is another example of how poorly native Americans were treated and the memorial is worth the trip to see.Bosque Redono Interior
As we were driving into town, we noticed the tails of large aircraft at what was once Walker Air Force Base, which closed in the late 60s.  Taking a trip for a closer look, we were amazed at the number of wide-bodied airliners parked on the ramps.  B-747s, DC-10s, L1011s, even a few A-300s were there, many of which had their engines removed and some which were obviously being cannibalized for their parts.  Driving through the old base, it was Old Walker AFB NMOld Walker AFB NM2interesting to see how some of the identifiable base buildings had been turned into a college campus, a medical clinic, and business offices.  It’s always sad to see what was once a vibrant facility become a semi-deserted place like this, but at least it’s serving the community and the old base housing provides a home for low-income families.
We’re in cowboy country, so stop back and read about our travels on the Billy the Kid Trail!


  1. Not very interested in the Alien part of Roswell since I have been abducted myself at least a dozen times but the Bosque Redondo Memorial looks like it would be a very interesting stop.

  2. We took in the sights and sounds of Roswell...I loved it. Maybe that's cause I like all things ooky, spooky, old, odd, and weird....gee that kinda describes me too! LOL!

  3. We have never been to Roswell but would love to do so. I loved your pictures! $3.00 hey not to bad lol... However my husband is currently into ghost (town and all). We are new to hitchitch and glad we came across your blog. Our just got entered today - yippee. We are new fans of yours and look forward to futute post and pictures...

  4. I'd pay $3 to see a mock up of the alien autopsy. You gotta give the town credit for playing the cards they were dealt! Interesting post - so much history, some good, some bad, some comical.