Cousins and Aliens

From Holloman Air Force Base, I continued north on US-70, skirting the edge of the Sacramento Mountains to where it merges with the Sierra Blanco Mountain Range, to a town called Ruidoso, NM.  I had planned to travel straight to Carlsbad to see my cousins, Scott and Julie, and the town’s famous caverns, but it turned out that they were spending time up in Ruidoso, so I happily added the mountain town to my itinerary.

The scenery along US-70 from Tularosa to Ruidoso was gorgeous and ran right through the Mescalero Reservation.

I met up with Scott and Julie at K-Bob’s Steakhouse, where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and catching up on each other’s lives.  As we tried to nail down the last time we saw each other, we realized that it was back in 2003 when I was on another road trip (pre-biker days, so in a car); it had been 19 years!  As we wound down our lunch visit, Scott looked over my road atlas with me to help plot out my route to follow-on destinations.  He and Julie graciously offered for me to stay with their kids, Linda and Gavin, at their house in Carlsbad.  I hadn’t seen my first cousins, once removed (what a weird way to describe a familial relationship) in almost 20 years either, so I was thrilled to get the chance to see them again and actually spend a little time getting to know them better. 

Catching up with cousins Scott and Julie in Ruidoso, NM. It was so great to reminisce about times spent together in Texas and Louisiana in the “good ole days!” 😊

I figured that since I was so close, I should route through Roswell, NM to see what all the alien hype was about.  There were alien references and images sprinkled throughout the town (including the infamous spaceship shaped McDonalds), but the town was much more subdued than I expected.  As someone at the Alien Museum pointed out, the town comes alive with all types of alien events during the summertime UFO festival, but most of the time, it’s just a regular town.

The International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, NM tells the story of the 1947 unidentified flying object and alien incident that occurred there, as well as other unexplained phenomena related to UFO research. The recent uptick in Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAP (the new Government name for UFOs) has spurred much interest and seems to have resulted in a defense-intelligence report on UFOs that is expected to be made public in the near future. Who doesn’t love a good mystery?!
In addition to numerous movie props, the museum houses exhibits related to alien abductions, crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle, and ancient cultures with references to encounters with alien life.

From Roswell, I took US-285 south and rolled up to the house in Carlsbad just in time for supper.  The last time I had seen Linda and Gavin, they were just kids, so I knew they wouldn’t really remember me.  Undeterred, they got me settled in and we got re-acquainted over a delicious dinner prepared by Linda.  My time with these cousins reminded me, yet again, how great it is to have the time and resources to travel and re-connect with family in friends.  Now I just have to convince them to come to North Carolina for a little lake vacation soon!

As I road-tripped in 2003 (in a car), I stopped for a night with my cousin Scott and his family. I took this pic as I was leaving the next morning. Look how little Linda and Gavin were! Oh, how time flies!!
All grown up and awesome human beings! I really enjoyed my time getting to know Linda and Gavin better after all these years.

With family reunions complete, it was time to explore the caverns for which Carlsbad is famous…

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