JJMRT Day 6: Feet Worth

We awoke on our last day to an alien-inspired Roswell morning. After partaking in another “free” hotel breakfast (they all say free, but really you pay for it in your room costs, don’t you?), we packed up and checked out.

I’d looked up a lot of things to do in Roswell and was dismayed to find that a lot of the unusual things – which, in Roswell, means alien-themed things – had closed over the past few years. Cafes and restaurants had closed shop and, if the words of random forum users online were anything to go by, Roswell’s alien reputation had diminished greatly.

Luckily there was still much to be seen. We drove downtown and went into the National UFO Museum, which proved to be pretty extensive. In a way it was set up in a similar manner to Albuquerque’s Nuclear Science Museum. First, it would tell you the background of the Roswell Incident of 1947, then it talked about the cover-up, the legacy and so on, before finally broadening the scope and telling about aliens and sightings in general.

Since both Josh and I are suckers for aliens, this was an awesome museum. They did a good job covering the entire incident and had plenty of clippings that backed up some of their otherwise unbelievable stories. The part they could have elaborated more upon, the discovery of the four alien bodies some 30 miles from the crash site, inspired a story idea in me. Maybe I’ll write it soon.

The crash started out inconspicuously enough, with a farmer finding a strange crashed thing on his land, but then the government got involved and shut everyone up in various manners – ranging from wiring a message to a radio employee telling her that it was the FBI and she should stop talking about it or lose her job to various clumsy cover-up stories issued by the government years after the crash. First, they said it was a weather balloon, then it was a special aircraft with test dummies inside. Perhaps I’m overestimating the American public of 1947, but my guess would be that most people can tell a test dummy made of rubber and plastic from a genuinely otherworldly corpse.

After the museum hit us with all kinds of THEY’RE HERE theories (crop circle science, Area 51 speculation, etc.), there was an extensive gift shop. A few doors down on Main Street from the museum was another gift shop, called Alien Zone. It had a ton of shirts and other pretty hokey alien things, including a cafe area in the back that had aliens posed for pictures. Of course we took some pictures.

Two more rather redundant alien gift shops and a mediocre music store later, we were on the prowl for lunch. We ate at a Schlotzsky’s and marveled at how the 109 degree prediction for the weather might actually be accurate, then we took off.

The drive from Roswell to Plano is around 8 hours long, according to the rather liberal GPS system we had to go by, and after the horrors of our last 8 hour day of driving (see day 2), we had planned ahead some. We’d found virtually every city along the way, which unfortunately was a huge list of dying or dead cities with only a few notable ones.

As it turns out, Josh didn’t need to stop very often, with our only big stop being for dinner at a place in Abilene. The trip allowed us to mark a few more states off of our license plate game, but in the end we didn’t quite find a license plate from each state. We saw 41 of the 50 states, and one Ontario plate. The states we didn’t see were Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, North Carolina, Alabama, and New Hampshire. Miraculously we saw three Maine plates today.

On the drive through West Texas, we saw a lot of probably haunted dilapidated houses and a ton of wind turbines. The turbines we saw in Kansas had been impressive at the time, but as we drove through Sweetwater, TX, the Kansas farm was quickly put to shame. It’s no surprise since that area of Texas had more wind turbines than anywhere in the world, but it was still amazing to see them stretch as far as the eye could see, sitting atop ridges and on both sides of the highway.

There were also quite a few dust devils, which of course led to me looking up, via phone, and reading aloud to Josh the formations and reasons for dust devils. It turns out today’s light wind and cloudless warm weather was the perfect situation for them to form. We finally drove through one, which was really strange. It was crossing the highway and we zipped right through the middle, its winds significantly jutting the car as we went through.

I finished the book I was reading, which was quite good, and then we talked about aliens a lot. Naturally then I was on the phone again (as our 3G coverage had finally returned with Fort Worth in the near distance) and I read off the incidents of the Hill Abduction, which is actually quite terrifying. Then I read about the O’Hare Airport UFO Sighting in 2006 and all kinds of other extraterrestrial madness.

Once we were zooming through the highway madness surrounding Fort Worth, our GPS girl Heather made another hilarious blunder. It’s funny when she can’t pronounce Spanish names (Santa Fe became Santa Ef-fay for some reason), and also pretty great when she doesn’t get our human abbreviations (D/FW Airport was so literal that she pronounced it “D slash F-W Airport”), but the best was when she tried to tell us to get on to the highway heading to Ft. Worth. Instead of Fort Worth, she told us to go to Feet Worth. An honest mistake for a robot.

And that was it. The previously seen and much-feared Highway Madness never had much of a chance to settle in, even though we left Roswell at about 1:30 PM and arrived in Plano around 10:40 PM. Before long we were pulling to a stop in front of the Plano house and the drive – and the trip – was over.

We managed to hit cool things in every town we were in, had successfully stuck to our itinerary and hotel plans, and had completed our six day tour of five states and seven cities. All in all, Josh drove 2131 miles all on his own (since his car is manual and I don’t know manual and he didn’t mind doing it all himself), and though our speed was typically around 80 mph, we never got a ticket or was pulled over.

A successful trip, and I’d have to say that if I had to move to one of the cities we visited, Denver would be the winner. Santa Fe was the most surprising, both due to the fact that every resident seems to be an artist of some variety and because it was actually at a higher elevation than even Denver.

Thus ends Josh and Jon’s Magnificent Road Trip. Thanks for reading. In the future there will be other blog entries about other things, hopefully just as fascinating as this last week of travel has been.


~ by Jonathan Forisha on June 26, 2011.

One Response to “JJMRT Day 6: Feet Worth”

  1. Loved reading it, Jon! It was an especially interesting take on Oklahoma. BTW, those “fried pies” are the most delicious things you could ever put in your mouth. I’m sorry you didn’t see any aliens or ghosts, but maybe it’ll happen someday. Keep looking. And traveling. And writing.

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