Monday, March 28, 2005

05-22 Roswell to Carlsbad New Mexico

Traveling costs
Roswell, NM
Carlsbad, NM

Week 22 of 52
Aug 29- Sept 3

Costs… My sister, Dorothy, asked me about whether I was staying within my budget and figured some of you would be interested in what it costs to travel as I’ve been doing. So here are some of my costs over the summer:

Gas lodging

April $462 $445
May $597 $503
June $566 $559
July $437 $455
Aug $627 $460 (with two days of heavy travel @ $3.00 a gallon)

My overall expenses have gone from a start of $1,500 a month to $2192 per month. From looking at the expenses, my “extras” have brought the monthly cost up due to things like new tires, truck insurance, Hitch repair, expenses like National Park pass, $50, along with the basics, food, entertainment, eating out, etc.

Now onto my travels. I’m in Carlsbad NM. I’ll be traveling in two day increments for a while as I’m not going to be doing that much touring as traveling across country heading back to Fla. And getting the new awnings installed.


But, I have to do some touring even in two day stays. Like, going to Roswell NM. Now I know some of you would never come here, but I just had to come and see the “aliens” myself. Actually, there is a great museum, The International UFO Museum & Research Center. I remember seeing the movie, Roswell, with one of my favorite country singers Dwight Yoakum in it. The museum has a very detailed history of the Roswell Incident. It includes a detailed time line of events with many signed affidavits from the participants. Here’s just a sampling of some of the items:

July 4 1947, Mac Barzel, rancher, two Nuns at St Mary’s Hospital heard a loud noise or crash and the tower at the base tracked and reported a “descending flash”.

July 5, Brazel and a neighbor’s son Dee, discovered the debris field over 3 football fields long. Brazel picked up a sackful of the “stuff”.

July 6th, Brazel takes the sackful of stuff to Sheriff Wilcox, who calls Intelligence Officer Jesse Marcel at the base. Marcel and Brazel go back to the ranch.

July 7th, Brazel and Marcel investigate and show samples to Marcel’s son, Jesse and to Col Blanchard.

Glenn Dennis gets a call from RAAF regarding how many child size caskets he has in stock.

Glenn Dennis brings an injured motorcyclist to the base hospital and sees some strange stuff in the back of some ambulances.

Glenn then goes to see a nurse friend who tells him to get out of there immediately…. He is escorted out of there by the military with threats to his life.

July 8th, Col. Blanchard, head of RAAF, told his PR officer, Lt Walter Haut to issue the press release about the UFO recovery.

Marcel takes some of the debris to Ft. Worth to Gen. Ramey. Marcel leaves the room and returns to find it replaced with a weather balloon debris. The disclaimer photo is taken… and a second press release goes out that it was a weather balloon… hmmmm

The story is quite intriguing and to think that it could have all disappeared over the years without some investigation by a couple of writers. The story had basically been buried for over 30 years when in 1978 Stanton Friedman started an investigation into the Roswell Incident.

Two books that may be of interest are; the first book written about the incident by Charles Berlitz and William Moore titled “Roswell, in 1980, and a key reference book detailing the Roswell Witness Accounts published by Donald Schmitt and Kevin Randle in 1991.

The Museum was established in Sept 1991. By 2001 the museum has had over 1,000,000 people go through.

Whew, now that’s an out of this world experience….

Not only that, I stayed at a state park called The Bottomless Lakes, just outside of Roswell. I could see the horizon line of Roswell, flickering city lights against a black sky off in the distance from my campsite over the mysterious lakes. The black sky, lighting up with heat lighting.


Now my Doctor back in Orlando kept telling me that I had to come see Carlsbad Caverns. So here I am. I don’t think he’s traveled that much, but figured it must have something to it. Well, he was right. The town of Carlsbad isn’t as big as Roswell, but is still a fair sized town, surrounded by farms producing everything from pecans, apples, cantaloupe, corn, herds of cattle all fed by the Pecos River and it’s tributaries.

I’m now in one of the 5 great deserts in the west. I love seeing the prickly pear cactus, soap tree yuccas and torrey yuccas. Traveling south of town leaving the fertile landscape, I travel through flat desert landscape. About 18 miles south of town, the landscape becomes hilly as I enter the Carlsbad National Park. Climbing up the side of the canyon to the top of the mountain containing the Caverns, I’m able see the desert for what seems like hundreds of miles.

I could hike back down the mountain to enter the caverns via a natural opening, or take the elevator. You got it, I took the elevator. Down 750 ft. That’s 75 stories deep! One can take a number of tours in the cavern, I opted for The Big Room. A tour that takes over an hour and half and covers over a mile of terrain inside the huge cave. Cool, at 56 degrees, I took an extra heavy shirt and light jacket and was very comfortable throughout the tour.

It’s very quiet down here. Dark, with dim lights highlighting only the most important features of the cavern, enhancing the feeling that your truly in an underworld experience and not a lighted “show”. I’m carrying a speaker wand ($3) that I punch in the number corresponding to the area I’m in and I have my own private tour guide. The rest of the time, I have to myself. Viewing the scenery at my own pace. The height of the ceiling and the depth of the cave, I believe the main cave is over 5 football fields in length and is nothing but overwhelming. I’ve been in a number of caverns over the years, and at times, felt like a mushroom when I used to work, but this experience is like being in another world, not just a another cave. I can see why they made it a world heritage site.

After a couple hours underground, I took advantage of a geology lecture by one of the Park Rangers. Very good even though I was starting to get a bit exhausted by then. Yawning like I was back in a boring code 3 meeting at work…. Just kidding,,,, really….


The price of gas has gone up 20-40 cents a day as I begin my travel in earnest to get back to Fla. It’s about $3.00 a gallon today, Wed. They say it could be $4.00 shortly. As it continues to go up all over the country.

I’m planning on traveling at least 300 miles each day from now on, until I enter Fla. I began my travel through Texas today and have made it about a 1/3 of the way through the state. The roads are relatively straight as an arrow. Going from west Texas, which is all oil fields and desert, to the Abilene area which has vast farm lands along hwy 20, which I’m going to travel most of the way.

I’m not sure where I’ll drop into Fla, as I want to avoid the hurricane damage as much as possible and any price gouging going on.

I’ve stopped in east Texas for a couple of days. The hurricane damage is overwhelming and as I travel east, I’m getting closer to it every day. Although I’ll be north of it by about 150-200 miles, I’m concerned about the gas situation and just don’t want to get in the way of rescue crews. I’m hoping to go through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in record time. The decision as to which direction to travel is quite overwhelming. I should have taken the advice from my friend, Christine Linn from Santa Fe, and stayed out west for a couple more weeks. But, alas, I’m on the road and will continue forward, if very cautiously.

My new awnings await me as well as friends in Florida I haven’t seen all summer.

My apologies for this being so long, but I needed to write down my thoughts as I travel rather quickly across the country towards Fla. I’m leaving the small campground I’m in right now. It is a sad little tree covered campground, with many folks living full time in older trailers and campers. It’s next to hwy 20 and the noise at night is a bit overwhelming. The swimming pool looks lovely, but they have it closed due to too high chlorine counts. So rather than just sit here, watching the devastating scenes on TV, I will get back out on the road tomorrow morning, bright and early. Saturday.

A little calico cat came and sat on the picnic table bench with me the other night. Actually was laying down and stretching out and fell off the bench. Plop! A moment of humor to a sad week. He jumped back up and laid down again, but with one paw holding on.

Final note: Traveling across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, I’ve seen many caravans of workers, electric trucks, military vehicles and others heading towards the devastated areas. A number of trees are down along hwy 20, enough to tell you the damage went hundreds of miles inland. A hwy leading to New Orleans from Shreveport was closed to traffic. Gas was available the entire way ranging in price from $2.49 to $2.99, only getting above $3.00 in Georgia. I only waited inline at one place for about 20 minutes with a limit of 20 gallons.

I feel so fortunate to be living in my camper. Knowing I can move my home away from any hurricanes, fires and other dangers. And to know I won’t have to go through the huge efforts required to recover from such disasters.

Take care and be safe.

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