…And it was everything I dreamed it would be.
I feel like Roswell is my spirit town, like I was born to live there. Like I am the town and the town is me: weird enough to deter basic folk, but just redneck enough to deter hipsters; oddly fascinating but nothing special, with a healthy dose of conspiracy theorism and distrust of the government for that extra added quirkiness.
Every now and then, Caleb and I like to punish ourselves by taking small children on road trips. We got into town around 4:30 p.m. after a relatively easy 7 hour drive through the freaking middle of BFE Nowhere. (Note: if you wanna know what a cross between Afghanistan and the surface of Mars would look like sprinkled with a few wind-blown ghost towns, hit up west Texas/eastern New Mexico.)
It was dinner time, and Caleb was hankering for some classic New Mexican food; unfortunately, Roswell had no known establishment that served such cuisine, so we settled on Pepper’s Grill and Bar for cheeseburgers and tacos. I made a poor life choice and ordered the hot green chile sauce, despite a verbal warning from our friendly waitress. I continued my downward spiral by powering through my meal with no water–I was not going to hear “I told you so” from Caleb or Mia, even though my ears were popping and my brain was melting, and my skin was cold and pale and clammy and I was discreetly wiping away buckets of sweat when no one was looking. Let the record show that I held it together (outwardly), even though hours into the dark of night I could literally feel my cast-iron stomach lining peeling clean off. I prayed for sweet mercy; I soldiered on til morning, quietly and alone, to die another day.
After a miserable night’s sleep that had everything to do with keeping an infant in a hotel room, we moseyed down to the Spring River Zoo and Park, and I took no pictures because when you’ve seen one black bear, you’ve seen em all. But it was completely free, Merrick got to feed the goats, and Arbor could run around like a maniac, so win-win all the way around.
Then we cheesy-touristed Roswell’s main drag. Everything in this s town is alien-themed.
EVERYTHING. Even the McDonald’s is shaped like a UFO.
We hit up the UFO museum (Good news: Arbor’s no longer having nightmares about Bigfoot!) and all shops selling cheap crap relating to UFOs. We bought and shared an alien cookie from a Mexican bakery, which was just about the highlight of Arbor’s year.
Then we stepped into this delightful store:
Because surely it would suit all our fossil needs plus maybe we would see Jesus carved out of a geode or something 12% as amazing. My son loves rocks and began an eight hour conversation about pyrite and cobalt with the man behind the counter.
Upon finally leaving the store, we were swept up into a major dust storm, and naturally, decided that making an additional stop at a nearby state park of questionable enjoyment potential was the preferable way to spend the rest of our afternoon.
Enter Bottomless Lakes State Park, a place that looks like a nuclear wasteland on a pretty day. On a dust storm day, it looks like the freaking Dead Marshes and I half expected Gollum to slink out from under a rock. Bottomless Lakes State Park is a wetlands area in the middle of the desert and it is where dreams go to die. It’s a cool destination straight out of an Evanescence video, specifically designed for the depressed adventurer. Upon further exploration I found it to be oddly beautiful but not so beautiful I wanted to visit it again ever. I’m picky about my bogs and cenotes.
The next day we made the short(ish) drive down to Carlsbad Caverns. I need not go into detail except to say it was incredible and awe-inspiring and my entire family went ballistic over the size of the caves and if you ever find yourself with the time to check it out, I command you to do just that. Bats. Caves. Cacti. Rocks. Best. Day. Ever.
Full disclosure: we are a family easily entertained. We are also a large family so inexpensive and educational is how we rock a Spring Break. We love hiking, too, so I was excited to figure out that we were staying close to the Guadalupe Mountains of northwest Texas. Day 3 brought us one of the most beautiful and challenging hikes we’ve ever been on as a family. Devil’s Hall trail was described in the brochures as “moderate”, and it very well may have been moderate to the average bear, but this girl had the world’s most giant three-year-old on her back plus a bag full of baby supplies and bottled waters hanging off my front side. Half of the 4+ mile trail was rock climbing and boulder hopping. I couldn’t feel my legs on the trek back to the car.
But it was so wonderful and so worth it.
…and then we went back to hotel to scarf every edible thing in sight.
The next day we went home, but not without a quick leg-stretching visit to Lubbock’s American Windmill Museum.