Friday, March 4, 2022

New Mexico day 7: Roswell, Smokey, and Route 66

Woke up after a GREAT night's sleep, grabbed a very nice hot breakfast in the lobby,  and headed out in the morning to explore. 

First stop, the very cute Roswell McDonald's -- there's a lot of cute UFO artwork inside, plus a massive mural in the parking lot. Well done, McD's.

Then we meandered along a "river trail" (no water) and through some neighborhoods just to get some steps in. A short but nice trail, and I always like to see a town invest in parks and recreation. 

Bright and early at 9am we arrived at the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Look, there's part of me that thinks it's highly likely that there's intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. But this "museum and research center" isn't proof of that. Still, for just $5, it's an amusing place to wander around. And I don't think it's going to convince anyone of anything -- whether you go in as a believer or a non-believer, you'll come out the same way. 

Though, with exhibits like these...

"We've crashed and are sad!"

"We've landed in the desert! Sometimes our ship emits fog!"

Clearly an accurate depiction -- right down to the ALIEN METAL bits on a tray!

There was a man chatting on his phone to a friend saying, "No, they're got EVIDENCE here -- I mean, it's all REAL!"

This was possibly my favorite display -- pictures of "merchandise with alien themes... part of a gradual program of global indoctrination". Or just toys. 

Then we went to a very different place -- the Roswell UFO Spacewalk. It's small art installation that was exponentially more fun than the "museum". Who doesn't love black light art?

We also poked around a few shops, but we had other adventures and surprises ahead. What surprises? 

I hadn't told Wil in advance, but hid his Smokey shirt in my luggage and he changed into it when we arrived. I love Smokey Bear, but Wil really does, so he was dorky happy. 

There's a small museum that's stuffed to the gills with Smokey history and merchandise. 

And in the neighboring garden, native plants and Smokey's grave site. 

And this, the sweetest-faced Smokey statue I have ever seen in my life. 

This face!

We continued our trip, heading through Carrizozo to see Intersection Point Zero, and imagined moving to such a place... tiny town, peppered with artist studios and galleries and not much else. 

Back on the road we turned northeast and headed toward Tucumcari, our stop for the night. We drove through lots of semi-deserted towns, wondering what the lives are like of the people who remain. And eventually, we arrived. 

The Blue Swallow is one of the loveliest restored motels along Route 66. On earlier trips we'd seen pictures and wanted, one day, to stay there. We reserved one of the cute little rooms, specifically unit 2. 

The room had a phone -- a rotary phone -- and I was amused to pick it up and hear a dial tone. The room also came with a garage -- after all, this was a motel. Our garage had an adorable Cars mural. 

We hustled up the road to have a quick drink in a classic lounge:

What drink, you ask? Why, the Blue Swallow Margarita, of course!

The lounge was pretty empty -- it was only about 5pm on a Friday, after all -- but that meant we could admire the murals. 

I especially loved these paintings in the booths!

But our real reason to visit Tucumcari was to see the neon at night. So we sat on our cute vintage chairs and just enjoyed the evening. 

Tee Pee Curios, right across the street

The owners, Robert and Dawn Federico, are ADORABLE. We loved how excited Robert was talking about the motel to people checking in, ourselves included. Such a great spot!

**A quick note about this post -- I'm catching up with my New Mexico memories and backdating posts to each day.

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