Trek Diary: Day Fifteen (11th July)
Although i miss Trek more than anything in the world, i do not miss waking up in a tent in the middle of desert country. I did enjoy the early morning starts but it was very unpleasant waking up covered in sweat, before you had even unzipped your tent. By the time the sun had risen it had already reached an uncomfortable temperature.
I was pretty excited about this day as we were to visit Roswell on our way to Santa Fe. Roswell had been on the preliminary USA road trip itinery that me and my Ex had created when we were still together. It was also promptly taken off the route once he realised what the place actually was. HA! Totally made it though! I have always been interested in the weird and unusual, so going to Roswell was secretly a bit of a pilgrimage for me. I have so far seen 3 unexplainable “lights” in the sky, two of which were also witnessed by other people. I’m not saying they were actual space craft piloted by green men…but they were very unusual. It could well be that they are a natural phenomena that we haven’t been able to explain yet. What people don’t realise is that they are seen on a daily basis and by people of sound mind. They are also spotted across the world and seem to have similar appearances and behaviours. However, 99% of the time the “ufos” do end up being a satellite or a Chinese lantern. Although the group were pretty much family by this point, i did hold back on the UFO talk more than usual. They already knew i was a paranormal investigator…i didn’t want them to think i had completely lost it!
We were occupied on the way to Roswell by the craft materials that Natalie had got from Walmart. Green paper plates, marker pens and tinfoil make for good alien masks. The main street in Roswell is devoted to extra-terrestrials and you cant pass one shop without spotting some sort of alien paraphanalia. The walls of buildings were painted with images of little green men and flying saucers and even the local bakery had blow up aliens in the window, complete with chef hats. I didnt actually buy anything despite my love for this sort of thing. Ingrid on the other hand, bought a blow up alien which we later named Elvis Travis (E.T) He became our van mascot and is in the majority of our trip photos. He even hiked down into the Grand Canyon with us.
After browsing through X-files collectibles and many questionable research books, we visited the UFO Museum and Research Centre. Roswell was made famous from a flying saucer that supposedly crashed landed nearby, during the summer of 1947. It is said that the aliens on board were captured by the military who then issued a major cover up of the event. The incident is still largely debated and after visiting the museum, i am still on the fence about it all. They had official documents, newspaper cuttings and affidavits from witnesses and some things just do not add up. I guess we will probably never know what really happened. There was also a cheesy UFO smoke and light show that went off every 10 minutes or so. Not exactly the best method to get people to take you seriously.
With the temperature exceeding 40c, i tried to stay hydrated as best as i could. I deeply regretted this act when we drove about 90miles through open desert. As i look at googlemaps, i realise that that was a long time to hold in a wee. We arrived in the town of Vaughn at around 3pm and stopped at a Penny’s diner for a milkshake. Wikipedia tells me that Vaughn has a population of about 539 (as of 2005) and has a total area of 5.6 square miles which appeared to be mostly abandoned buildings. The milkshakes took forever to make but they were definitely worth the wait! I also got to see my first cowboy (outside of the cowboy dance hall that is) who was sat at the bar. I was told that as we entered the diner, he glanced at us and then the girl next to him proceeded to slap him round the face, i presume they were dating. I really wish i had witnessed this!
We arrived in Santa Fe in the late afternoon and were met by a change in weather – cold and wet. This would have been a nice thing if it wasnt for our desert attire. We looked pretty ridiculous as we walked around, shivering in shorts and t-shirts. Santa Fe is a stunning city, full of art galleries and shops selling beautiful jewellery and crafts. I wish i had had more money with me, i would have bought so much! As we explored the little shopping mall, we passed a shop of Beanie Babies and made friends with the shop owner. If you don’t know what these are, then you were obviously on another planet during the 90s. They are collectible stuffed animals that were a major craze during my primary school years. My family were obsessed and we now have over 300 stored away in the attic. I even paid £75 for a rare one once with the money from my tenth birthday. Mental. He didn’t get a sale from me though, i don’t think i need anymore of the bloody things. After getting drenched in the rain, we found a cafe and had pastries and a white chocolate mocha to warm us up.
Tonights campsite was a bit of a drive out of Santa Fe near the town of “Las Vegas” (not the gambling one!) Again, we were placed at the back of the campsite and this time with a group of Norweigan girls. The extra 15 or so females made shower time very frustrating. It was a battle to even reach the sinks, past the mass of hair straighteners and glittery iPhones left to charge. The area was sandy, full of cacti and other spikey bushes and had very suspicious looking holes in the ground. The ones nearest our tent, i blocked up with various items to try and prevent anything getting out. There was also a bit of a race to find the best spot; as far away to these holes and web filled bushes as possible. As night fell, it got pretty cold and i was so glad i had packed extra layers! The girls had an early night and we fell asleep to the sound of wolves howling in the distance. It was very surreal.