Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DAY 90- Three Months, Roswell, & Amarillo by Nightfall...

It was day 90 and it’s kind of hard to realize that 3 months has passed.  The time has just flown by.  I’ve done a lot in those three months; visited 11 national parks/monuments, went horseback riding for the first time, gone on a scenic motorcycle ride and boat ride, almost worked my way through 6 states, been on parts of Route 66, tasted a bit of wine, did a bit of gambling, tasted some wonderful food, visited a presidential library where I walked on an old Air Force One, biked some interesting spots, driven through some wonderfully scenic areas, did some hikes, attended a wedding, gotten stung by a bee, and several other things.  The list could go on for a while.  All these things I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t taken that first step and said to myself,” No excuses; I’m doing this!” 

I’m really glad I did that and sometimes I admit I get a little bit uneasy because I’m SO out of the box that I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to fit into a box again.  Where does this all end?  I’m very unsure and I never really thought about an “exit strategy”.  I just jumped in with both feet and never thought too much further.  I’m just going and living in the moment day by day.  I meet new people almost every day and have some of the most interesting conversations. 

But I know that this will need to come to an end.  The money will run dry and I know that over time I just can’t physically continue this pace of going and going and going.  Sometimes, you just need to stop and pause; give yourself sometime to evaluate where you have been and where you need to be.  I’ve got this going on in the back of my mind; mainly in the evening times before I fall asleep.  I ask myself—what do I really want to do when I grow up.  It’s silly but in essence this is a HUGE growing period for me and I’m not sure where I’ll be when I come out on the other side.

Okay, so with all that being said let me get going on what my day 90 was like…

I woke up to rain in Roswell, NM.  Ugh!  I managed to keep a bowl of cereal down this morning; that was a plus.  I’m wondering if it was something I had for breakfast or dinner the prior night that had caused yesterday’s sour stomach.  I had just gotten done with the shower when my hotel room door was opened by a maintenance staff.  Another two minutes later and he might have caught me without my towel.  He might have gotten a REAL eyeful!  LOL!  I think he was more embarrassed than I was; he quickly apologized and said that the front desk said I had checked out.  He left quickly closing the door behind him.  I had gone down stairs earlier to return a movie I had borrowed from the hotel and put an extra bag in my car but I wasn’t checked out yet; someone had jumped to conclusions.
Photo- The International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Later, I dropped off the keys at the front desk and said that the maintenance guy could now get in my room to fix whatever needed to be fixed.  They were all sorry for what had happened but I kind of found it a bit amusing.  I asked one of the gals for directions to the International UFO Museum and Research Center.  Then, I was in my car driving along the rainy Main Street area of Roswell.

I will tell you that most of the businesses rather play up the space alien stuff here in Roswell.  You’ll be driving along and a fast food sign will have a space alien holding the enter sign or there will be green statues standing on each side of the door.  Green aliens with HUGE black eyes are a common sight in Roswell.  I drove along to the old part of Main Street to the old theater that is now the place where the International UFO Museum and Research Center resides.  It’s rather hard to miss this place; and there are another couple of places nearby that stand out too.  I narrowed it down to just visiting this one place from doing a bit of web surfing the night before I found this place seemed a bit more authentic and interesting than the other tourist traps along the main drag.
Photo- It's set up to let you decide what to believe.

I paid the $6 entrance fee and started off in the Museum area.  There was a timeline of newspaper articles and pictures of UFO experiences in other parts of the world starting with the 1940’s.   Then, on July 4th, 1947 the Roswell experience happened.  There was a timeline of the next days, then weeks, then months afterwards.  Some of it was newspaper articles, some of it contained copies of signed affidavits from those that saw what happened.  It was all laid out in a fashion to let you decide what happened in Roswell.  To tell you the truth, it made me wonder about all of the possibilities and I’m undecided.

There was space alien art done in one corner and then the museum worked its way through the subjects of what a UFO is.  Then it showed photos of what people thought were UFOs; some of the photos had been examined and disproved for one reason or another, but others, well, they just don’t know.  Then, the museum covered the subject of space aliens being in art of ancient cultures and showed some examples.  Next, were the crop circles and the theories and possibilities.  It was all very interesting and rather entertaining.  They had a space ship with aliens out in a large open area that would periodically start making noises, lights would flash, and fog would come out.  But is there other life out there?  I think it’s egotistical of us to think we are the only ones but have they already tried to contact us.  I don’t know.
Photo- A fun little alien invasion within the
International UFO Museum and Research Center.

I went back through Roswell to head north; the goal was to be in Amarillo before night.  Hey, isn’t there a song about that?  I stopped before I left rainy Roswell at a place called the Rib Crib; a BBQ place that I would hope to have some of that famous Texas BBQ.  Though, I have to admit that I’m a HUGE fan of Kansas City BBQ so it’ll take a bit to dissuade me from that.  Well, it turned out that this was a BBQ chain and quite a few of their restaurants were in Kansas.  They even had one in my home state of Iowa; Mason City.  Well, I wouldn’t therefore classify this as Texas BBQ.  Oh, well but then again what did I expect… I was still in New Mexico.  Hello!??

The drive from Roswell to Amarillo was rainy and very, very flat.  I thought that Nebraska was flat but in comparison Nebraska is interesting because they have ponds and trees that they plant almost everywhere there along the highways.  This was barren and flat.  There were abandoned houses along the way, and a lot of people living in trailer homes out in the middle of nowhere; literally.  The rained started to clear up more as I got closer to Amarillo.  Just after the town of Hereford, there was a HUGE cattle holding pen area along the railroad.  It was a pretty smelly stretch for about 1 mile there.
Photo- A section of flat Texas.

The landscape did have a few hills getting up to the plateau that Amarillo is on.  I got to my hotel in Amarillo and got out of my car and there was that mild smell of cattle that permeated the air.  As some people would say, that’s the smell of money.  It’s not a new smell to me; growing up in Iowa which is second to Texas for beef producing I’ve gotten my fair share of smelling that, especially attending an agricultural college in Iowa.  But I have been living in a city in Utah for almost 23 years and have forgotten what that smell is like.

I ended up asking the hotel clerk about a good BBQ place and he was directing me to Famous Dave’s which is a BBQ chain that is all over the west.  I was looking for more local.  He told me of another place but it was closed on Sundays.  Then, I said that maybe I should just try an Italian place to which he gave me a suggestion of another chain restaurant.  Please don’t tell me this indicative of the people in the south that they love chain restaurants because then I can skip half of Texas in one fell swoop. 
Photo- The sunset from my hotel room window.
I made it to Amarillo before nightfall.

I opted to go to a place down the road called Salt Grass Steak House.  I’m sure it was another chain restaurant but I will admit that I had never heard or been to one of these before.  It wasn’t too bad.  The steak was good, cooked to order and I had sweet potato fries alongside the steak but they put maple syrup on the sweet potato fries which I thought was a bit too much sweet.  I ordered ranch dressing for the fries and the server looked at me funny.  I was half tempted to explain I was a Yankee to see if that might explain my strange behavior.  I have the feeling that I’ll be falling back on that excuse as I go along.

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