Roswell! Roswell!! Roswell!!!
If an alien came down from Mars and saw us all taking selfies and the like, I think it’d up and leave. It’d think we were all mad. ~ Joe Cole
Roswell! Roswell!! Roswell!!! I can’t remember what TV or movie this is from, maybe an episode of the X Files. And it really fits my whole impression of Roswell and also why I have always wanted to go there. I was an avid reader as a kid, and I always dug Saturday movies on cable. Given my age I’m the perfect person to become fascinated by the whole UFO phenomenon.
The UFO craze hit heavily in the US during the 1950’s after a number of incidents in the late 1940’s that captured America’s collective imagination. There was a report of saucers in the Northwest by Kenneth Arnold, the Battle of Los Angeles, and of course the infamous crash at Roswell reported in the newspapers by the United States Air Force as, “RAAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region,” and hit a fever pitch with UFOs being spotted over Washington DC and the Whitehouse on successive weekends in 1952. Now I wasn’t born yet but it was these events and a slew of alien invasion Scifi flicks in the 50’s that created a cultural interest in UFO’s.
So as a kid as I watched monster movies and alien movies, I had a growing awareness, add in my interest in science fiction, reading about alien worlds and space travel and I was ripe for what happened in the 1980’s. In the 80’s we got a whole new slew of really great alien focused Scifi, and then in 1980, Charles Berlitz’s book, The Roswell Incident came out and re-ignited interest in the alien visitation, Budd Hopkins’ book Missing Time, building off of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story brought alien abduction ideas into the culture. All of this of course caught my imagination and I’ve been fascinated ever since.
So of course in America, the holy grail of UFO culture is a visit to Roswell, New Mexico. The problem with a Roswell visit is that Roswell is really out there. It’s in the middle of New Mexico a couple hours south of Highway 40. But given the pandemic, traveling internationally is not really on the menu right now, so I’ve decided to do a road trip. I’ll drive through Vegas and out to Roswell and spend a couple of days there while also visiting Carlsbad Caverns. Looping back through Petrified National Forest National Park, Vegas again. Appropriately a ride up through the Extraterrestrial Highway and past Area 51. Landing at a pretty famous ghost town, Bodie and finally back home.
This will very much be a road trip in the traditional Americana type of road trip. I’m staying, for the most part at smaller hotel/motels, and definitely planning on hitting as many roadside attractions as I have time to hit. A lot of photography, a little writing and reading and a complete absence of work. So a week of doing nothing but things I love, photography, traveling, listening to music, nothing serious and hopefully just having fun. Roswell is a giant, kitschy tourist trap and I plan on digging every minute of it.
How does this fit in with the Ministry of Happiness, work/life balance and all of the things we normally discuss? Really simply, doing the things you enjoy, having fun, exploring your interests, well this is the life, in your work/life balance and you should go at it at least as hard as you go at the work side of that equation. And when you do, these will be the especially happy days you’ll have my friends. ~ Rev Kane