Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 3: June 16 – Aliens and Christmas in June

With time changes working in our favor, getting up early and moving along was easy. By early lunch time after scoring more Swainson’sHawks and a Black-headed Grosbeak, we approached the town of Roswell, New Mexico.

Not much more than a fuel stop, we at least wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We expected to see aliens in advertising everywhere. Very little, quite frankly.  No signs outside of town telling you what was ahead.  Sure, once you were in town, there was the alien thing here and there (including most of the street lights), but in my experience, the witch-thing in Salem, Massachusetts was much more prevalent  and marketed as a sense of the town’s identity.

The question is what really happened in Roswell?  Some will tell you it was an alien spacecraft that crashed.  The United States Government, on the other hand, says it was just a weather balloon that tanked.  Okay.  Realistically, the weather balloon story makes no sense. Why shut down access to a chunk of land where nothing happened?  A balloon crash?  That's the big deal? What are they hiding? I know.

It WAS the aliens……and they came for the beer.

We’ve seen this sort of story before.  After all, the Mayflower was NOT supposed to land in Massachusetts. They only landed there because they ran out of booze. True story! Look it up!

I believe, in 1947,  the Aliens came to Roswell for beer. They took it all. I know this because the town didn’t have any!  Not a brewery, beer pub or beer bar anywhere.  Anywhere!

Navigating with the “Find Beer” application on my iPhone (an app the aliens should have had), we found ourselves at The Wellhead in Artesia, New Mexico. That’s just up the street about an hour.  The Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat, Roughneck Red, and the Say I Do Pecan Brown (#1,258 – 1,261) were on tap. All fine beers.  It was also here that we reaffirmed the idea that “mild” salsa in the Southwest United States in not mild by Detroit standards. 

After a trip to the hospital to treat our sixth degree burns, we shot off to White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo.  Not too far from the Trinity Site, this is quite an amazing place!  It is not really sand. It is gypsum and happens to be a dune field that exceeds 275 square miles.  Gypsum does not heat up like sand so you can walk on it without getting hot feet, yet it looks white as snow.  You can even rent sleds for a trip down the dunes like you might do on a snowy hillside. Put a Christmas Tree out there and it was December.   The dune ecology. The plants.  Awesome.

The best bird of the Monument was the Black-throatedSparrow. This open desert bird is quite striking.  We didn’t see it well, but so what.  It was the first of many to come. White-winged Doves, too.

We intended to camp somewhere along the Arizona/New Mexico border.  With thunderstorms in the region, lodging was secured in Lordsburg, New Mexico.

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