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Traveling through New Mexico

Roswell

Traveling through New Mexico, our route and an overnight stop put us squarely in Roswell. It was midafternoon by the time we were set up in our RV site and Cal didn’t want to bother with aliens. I thought it might be interesting to at least pay the International UFO Museum and Research Center a visit, so off I went.

In the summer of 1947 a rancher found some debris and reported it to a local sheriff, who contacted Air Force intelligence. The debris was determined to be the remains of a weather balloon sent up from a local air force base. Reports spread, however, that what really crashed was a flying saucer with 3 aliens inside and that the whole thing was a massive coverup by the military. The museum was full of “eyewitness” accounts from people who said they’d been sworn to secrecy at the time of the incident and, now that they were elderly/sick/pick another reason, wanted the truth to come out. And there were accounts of other alien sightings to round out the room. It was a lot of reading. By the time I was done, I, too, was sure there had been little green men in Roswell. At least, pictures of them were all over the museum, as well as in the shops and signs around town.

Even our RV park for the night got in on the fun, with an official alien burial site. And we were parked right next to it. I slept well, even knowing that, and no aliens disturbed my sleep.

Albuquerque – Sandia Peak Tramway

We stopped for just a weekend in Albuquerque. My nephew Mike and his wife Emily live there, so on our first evening in town we met them at the Sandia Peak Tramway for a ride up the mountain plus dinner at the top. Emily’s Mom and brother were also in town and were with us for the trip. It’s billed as North America’s longest tram ride, at 15 minutes, and took us 2.7 miles to an elevation of 10,378 feet. It was a great ride with a good view of Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains. I had been up here once before, years ago, around the holidays and remember snow blowing around the tram car in the dark as we went back down. This time, the weather was quite different.

Once up at the top, we had to wait on a table in the restaurant, so we took a little hike. There were several trails to choose from. On the hike, there were times where we were right on the edge of the mountain – a dizzying feeling!

The restaurant at the top is called Ten 3. Our table was ready by the time we were finished hiking, and dinner was delicious. Mike and Emily are at the left in this picture. By the time we were back outside, the sunset was casting a soft glow over the mountain and the city. After riding the tram all the way down, we were treated to a view of Albuquerque by night.

Albuquerque – Petroglyph National Monument

We had only a short weekend in Albuquerque, and much of it was taken up with errands and chores. We did find ourselves with a bit of time on Saturday afternoon, but it was pretty hot. The native petroglyphs can be seen in three different trails on a 17 mile long escarpment. We chose the shortest and the closest to the visitor center, the Boca Negra Canyon trail.

The escarpment was formed when lava flowed from a large crack in the Earth’s crust, flowing over the existing landforms. The end result was basalt boulders that broke away from the lava caprock. Natives discovered that chipping away at the rocks revealed a lighter gray beneath. Most of the images were made 400 to 700 years ago, but some may be much older.

Boca Negra Trail at Petroglyph showing the basalt rocks
The largest petroglyph here shows the yucca pod, important for many uses for natives.
There are petroglyphs on this boulder, but its smooth curve served as a grinding surface for tools, corn and seeds, and pigments.

I’m almost sure I saw this petroglyph in the Roswell UFO museum. They would have you believe that natives were seeing aliens long ago, by looking at some of their petroglyphs. Well, there are logical explanations for everything. I was impressed at how many were to be seen in just this little area, and I’d love to come back some time to check out the other trails.

Velarde

,We had an overnight stay here and that is a story for another time. The little town is off the beaten path on a state route north of Albuquerque. There is nothing much in the town itself, and on the surface it looks pretty run down, but quite possibly there is something I missed. I needed an evening walk and had seen a rushing river so I set out to find it.

I’m guessing the state route once included this bridge, but nature is totally reclaiming it.

An orchard, with a vineyard behind it

Here’s another view of the vineyard. I was astonished to find the area was flooded. From Austin west, lakes had been well below their normal levels and the land had been dry. The hills here certainly did not seem like they’d seen an overabundance of rain!

No bike riding today; it’s a little wet
On the back wall of an abandoned pottery store
Mickey Mouse cactus

Not too bad, as far as evening walks go. It goes to show you can find pictures anywhere, although I never did find that rushing river!

Next time – Moving on in to Colorado

One thought on “Traveling through New Mexico

  1. An interesting post! The tramway sound a bit scary, but the view and the restaurant sound great. Glad the aliens did not wake you up. I am looking forward to your next post. Enjoy your Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

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