Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Road Trip, Part 1

Well, I didn't post a single time last week, because Dad, Connor and I were off enjoying the great American Southwest. Rather than put up dozens of photos and try to recount the whole trip all at once, my blog entries this week will all be about the vacation, day-by-day.

This was surprising even to me when I realized it, but I haven't been on an official "going out of town" type of vacation for my entire adult life, so I was really looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint.

First up, let's look at Day One of our journey.

This is a rest stop in Texas. It is essentially a glorified toilet, proving that indeed, Texans do everything bigger. We got turned around in Amarillo, Tex. in the middle of the night, but finally made our way back south toward Roswell, New Mexico. In Clovis N.M. we got lost, and ended up on a very creepy back-country road that I didn't think to take a picture of. The sign said it led to Roswell so we trusted the sign...but it was a dark, long road with only one other set of headlights in about an hour. Connor fell asleep, and my dad and I kept an eye on the car clock, looking for lost time like Fox Mulder (it seemed as likely a place as any to be abducted by aliens).

Here is Martin's Capitol Cafe in Roswell. We got there at 5:55 a.m. and had to sleep in the parking lot of a military academy, and killed time here until the UFO Museum opened. Let me tell you in all seriousness: this place has the best bacon I have ever eaten in my life. Period. I don't know if that's a New Mexico thing, a Roswell thing, or a Martin's thing. But it was damn good. I was almost full after eating three slices of bacon, so that should tell you something.

Here are some photos from the International U.F.O. Museum & Research Center:

Connor in front of a really cool plaque showing an Aztec or Mayan, I forget which, in a spaceship. Supposedly this proves the existence of ancient astronauts. That would be awesome. I want to believe. Exhibits like this one showcase the serious side of UFO research. This one, on the other hand... me sadly viewing an alien autopsy. This is the dummy they used in the Roswell TV Movie (not the TV series, apparently). This photo shows the other, fun and cheesy side of the UFO Museum.

After that, time was ticking, and we needed to get on the road if we were to hit Tucson before dark. New Mexico was a long drive, but we passed through some beautiful Apache country. I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the drive, because it was finally daylight and I was seeing terrain that I don't get to see back home. Dad napped in the back seat and Connor and I enjoyed vistas like this one...but the picture doesn't do it justice.

Of course, these hills were nothing like the mountains we would later see when we hit Arizona, but it was very picturesque and it seemed like a really beautiful place to live.

Late that afternoon, we hit the White Sands testing range. This picture was a fluke - it didn't really look like this from our angle, most of the time. But it proves that there is, indeed, white sand on site.

Finally, we hit Arizona - or what looked like it; I missed the actual border - and started seeing weird rock formations on the side of the road, like this one.

Again, the pictures don't really do it justice. I can't remember what this stretch was called. Apparently there was a huge volcano or something in ancient times that spat all this stuff up and it just landed this way and stayed there. In some places, it looked like the rocks were going to tumble off onto the road!

Before too late, we reached Tucson and my dad's resort-style mobile home community, which you aren't supposed to call a trailer park. It IS a trailer park, but it's for well-off 55+ folks and felt like a resort of some kind (I spent a lot of time up at the pool). We had some tasty burgers that my dad's girlfriend Beverly cooked for us. Then, since we were all very tired, we all went to see Cowboys & Aliens at the mall in Tucson. That was extra special because we'd been driving through the very same landscape all day that we saw in the movie, which made it "real."

So that was Friday night and Saturday - stay tuned for the Sunday morning entry, in which I almost pass out from "dry heat" on an Indian reservation, and then almost pass out again from a traditional Italian lunch.

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