If you were a conspiracy theorist, you might think some clever marketer working for the tourism bureau in Roswell, New Mexico, cooked up the whole Area 51 incident in order to compel space nuts to visit an otherwise mundane town in the middle of the nowhere.
Nah … that’s crazy.
It much easier to swallow the theory that bug-eyed green aliens crash landed at a ranch near Roswell in 1947 and the whole incident was covered up by the U.S. military.
The UFO story certainly makes for interesting sight-seeing in Roswell, a town my Beloved and I visited earlier this year on our way through “nowhere.” It’s Travel Tuesday here on Minnesota Transplant, so let’s relive our reverie.We stayed two nights at the Town and Country RV & Mobile Home Park, and it was a perfectly respectable, uneventful visit. For a science fiction fan who likes her Star Trek with a side of X-Files, it was a little disappointing to see only stars in the wide open sky.
But not unexpected.The highlight of our visit, of course, was the International UFO Museum & Research Center, which is replete newspaper articles, photographs and tchotchkes of the close encounter kind. If you want to believe the story that aliens landed once landed there and the government covered it up, you’ll find plenty of evidence. If you want to believe it was just a weather balloon that inspired the crazies, you’ll find plenty of evidence of that, too.
You can even join the research center (I did) though I can’t find any evidence of that on the internet right now. Must be a cover-up of some sort (I’ve heard the system is rigged, so you never know).
Next door to the museum is an awesome little gift shop filled with photo opportunities around every corner (do flying saucers have corners?).Alien Zone Area 51 is worth the price of admission (which as I recall was $3 a person, but don’t trust me — who knows what kind of alien lobotomy might have been performed on me while I slept). Enjoy a beer with an alien bartender, or perform an alien autopsy (I just realized autopsy is a seven-letter word; look out Scrabble fiends!). Just so we’re clear here, the beer bottles were empty and the scalpels had no blades.
We were having so much fun, we could hardly tear ourselves away. Even with supernatural rocket fuel. We found a couple of T-shirts we couldn’t leave town without (and believe me, there are as many T-shirt shops as there are ufologists on Main Street). Roswell is also known for a specific green chile sometimes called Hatch chiles. We picked up an ocean of canned Hatch chiles at the local grocery story and made some kick-butt posole soup, which isn’t the worst sort of souvenir.