ROSWELL:…did they or didn’t they??

One of the places we wanted to see on this trip was Roswell, New Mexico. Everyone knows what happened there in 1947 and we wanted to see for ourselves what it was all about.

The claim to fame for Roswell was the spaceship crash in a farmers field in 1947, least that’s  what the farmer said it was, but that’s not what the U.S. Gov’t said it was. The farmer claims the spaceship crashed, the Gov’t claims it was a weather balloon, and hence a whole industry based on these two claims was born. Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico.

Arbys welcomes aliens...

Arbys welcomes aliens…

Its so cool to see many of the local business supporting Roswell claim to fame. Tho Arbys has a large welcome sign, McDonalds took it a step further.

McDonlads landed in Roswell

McDonlads landed in Roswell

Not to be outdone by McDonalds, the local bake shop showed they were apart of the story with this display.

fresh baked good from...

fresh baked good from…

The other downtown merchants were also into the act with displays and stories of their own. Sure, many were tourists traps but this is a really fun town to visit if your ever in the area, or if its on your bucket list

the best rock band from...

the best rock band from…

roswellandroadsigns 038A trip to Roswell would not be complete without a visit to the Museum. There you will be able to read all about what REALLY happened that night in 1947.

this way to the museum

this way to the museum

The museum is full of written coverage of the night and the days that followed. There are a few artifacts and even the odd Alien thrown in.

trapped in a space capsule...

trapped in a space capsule…

did they REALLY look like that??

did they REALLY look like that??

scale model of the spaceship crash

scale model of the spaceship crash

Roswell was a fun town to visit. The people were very friendly but we did have an encounter of the third kind that made us wonder. We went into Buffalo Wild Wings. Its a franchise bar and grill and we had been into one of their places in Arizona. Buffalo Wild Wings had recently opened in Roswell and we thought we would go in for an appy and a beer. Our waitress came to our table and as usual, asked us for I.D. We happily handed over our licence and she look at it with a blank look. We told her we were Canadians and from British Columbia, Vancouver to be exact. We explained Vancouver British Columbia was on the west coast, just above Washington State. We gave her all this information because of the blank look on her face. She informed us she would have to check with her manager. No problem, whatever it take. She came back and said “the manager said we can’t serve you”. Waaaa…???? We asked to see the manager. Its not like we’re under age trying to get a beer. The manager comes over and says our I.D. was suspicious and since they had been open only for a few weeks, the police were watching them to make sure they aren’t serving under age customers. We assured him we were legal age and after some discussion he relented. We got our beer but maybe, just maybe, he thought after all these years WE were the Aliens, but then again, he would have been right.
roswellandroadsigns 024One last thing about Roswell. As you may have guessed, I love wall murals and whenever I see one I can’t help but take a picture. Behind the McDonalds that is a space ship, this is what you’ll find…roswellandroadsigns 003roswellandroadsigns 004roswellandroadsigns 007

Third leg of Route 66…Tucumcari, New Mexico

Tucumcari, New Mexico was the final leg of my Route 66 adventure and by far the most interesting. Its rather evident when U.S. I-40 opened, for some places it signal the end of an era and even the end of the town.

Tucumcari was a stop over town, situated between Amarillo Texas and Albuquerque. Filled with hundreds of motel rooms and several motels. When I-40 opened it bypassed the town and all bvut a few of those motels closed up. We used Tucumcari as a stop over on our way to Texas. What is so cool about this town is there are many of those motels still standing. I venture to guess it was too expensive to tear them down, and then, if you did, where would you put the material.We stayed at the Cactus R.V. Park. This was a no frills, park your motor home, plug in some power and there ya go type of park. We stayed one nite and the price was right, $18.00. although some might argue that was too much.

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What was bonus tho with this park was once a thriving motel and all the buildings are still standing and appear as it did in its heyday.  I was hoping their sign would light up at night, but no such luck. Like so many of the signs that line this section of Route 66, its rather vintage.

The R.V. park extends to the back of the property and I thought it rather interesting how they created a pass thru for vehicles to get there.tucumcariroute66 012tucumcariroute66 016A section of the motel removed in order to make a pass thru for others to get to the back of the property.

A walk up the street revealed several vacant motels but also a few that are very much alive and open for businesses. What I loved about this part was the classic architecture of the motels , the old neon signs and the many wall murals.

One such classic motel is the Safari Motel. Originally built in 1959 by a builder from Chicago using an architectural style know as “Doo Wop ” or “Googie”tucumcariroute66 033  Originally built as a Best Western, where the camel on top of the sign is today was a Best Western crown. The camel was added in 1962. The Motel Safari was one of the most modern and popular motels of the period.tucumcariroute66 030tucumcariroute66 040In 2008 the Motel Safari began renovations to provide 21st century upgrades while maintaining its historical appearance (from the historical sign posted by the motel)

I noted there was a closed off area which looked like to me a patio or smoking area for motel guests. Venturing into this area revealed the following:tucumcariroute66 036tucumcariroute66 034tucumcariroute66 035tucumcariroute66 039Continuing up the street one notices all the vintage signs and more motels. Its a shame what happened here. So many classics just sitting empty, rotting away. However, there are a few that have survived, for whatever reason, and make this town a place you want to visit.tucumcariroute66 046tucumcariroute66 048 tucumcariroute66 056 tucumcariroute66 055 tucumcariroute66 065 tucumcariroute66 057 tucumcariroute66 067 tucumcariroute66 069 
So, I got my kicks on Route 66. One more item crossed off the bucket list, one more memory.

Get your kicks on Route 66…Flagstaff, Williams Arizona; Tucumcari New Mexico

I remember the song “Get your kicks on Route 66 ” and watching the T.V. series Route 66 starring a Chev Corvette, Martin Milner and George Maharis. I remember thinking, how cool to be cruising down a highway, open top; I would love to do something like that.

Well, I got to do Route 66, not once, twice, but three times. There remains bits and pieces of Route 66, the road having been replace by Route I-40. Not only did I actually drive on Route 66 but I also has the chance to stroll down the road.

On our way to the Grand Canyon we stayed in Williams, Arizona. Williams is a part of Route 66 and not far from there is Flagstaff, another part of Route 66. Two birds with one stone, we made Flagstaff our first stop.

Route 66 this way

Route 66 this way

I was somewhat surprised when we went into Old Town. Very few people were out and about and the shops were mostly empty. I have no idea why but, its pretty downtown and a good place to visit.flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 010flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 009flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 012After our visit to Flagstaff we made our way back to Williams flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 035and another section of Route 66. Now Williams is totally different than Flagstaff. Smell tourist, hear tourist, see tourist, sell tourist.

Williams became the last Route 66 community to be by-passed by the new interstate ( I-40 ). on October 13th, 1984.

Route 66 was proclaimed as “the Mother Road” by John Steinback in his classic 1939 novel Grapes of Wrath. Then in 1945 Bobby Troup wrote the song “Get your kicks on Route 66” solidifying the “Mother Road” as an American symbol of freedom, opportunity, and modernization of nation. (Thank-you to the Experience Williams web site for the information ). By now I’m hoping your humming the song, because if you are, trust me, it doesn’t go away easily. flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 027flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 023A trip down the street and into the shops of Williams is somewhat nostalgic but as i mentioned, think tacky tourist. Almost every shop had a Route 66 sign or something with Route 66 on it, t-shirts, pins, cups, magnets for sale in all different colors and sizes but after all, isn’t that to be expected.

We browsed many of the shops but there was one place we went into and didn’t come out…until we finished our awesome piece of pie!!!

Coconut Cream pie for me (heavy emphasis on the cream )and Pecan pie for Laurie. Honestly, if you are near Williams Arizona, you have to stop into the Pine Country Restaurant, eat dessert first, they make delicious home made pies and they give you a slice that when your finished, you have to loosen the pant belt a notch or two. Definitely worth the trip.

I mentioned Tucumcari New Mexico as the third part of my Route 66 trip. More on that in the next post.flagstaffandwilliamsroute66 019

Grand Canyon…

What can be said about the Grand Canyon that hasn’t already been said. It is so breath taking its seems unreal. We spent a day at the canyon, visiting the various view points and trying to absorb the scenery. I think one could spent a lifetime going there and never tire of the views. The one thing I found amazing is how people would put there life at risk by going beyond the safety barriers to stand at the edge of a rock to get their picture taken. The canyon is a mile deep, crazy.grand canyon 012

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Falling behind…

I’m way behind on the blog, partially due because we have been in areas where we have not had internet connection and partially due because we have been busy, so I’ll try to bring you up to date as to where we have been and what we have been up to.

After leaving Las Vegas we moved east into Arizona and made our first stop at Williams, Arizona. This was our base for a couple of days while we visited the Grand Canyon. From Williams we went south to Yuma, spent two weeks there and then east to Tucson for a week. From Tucson we went into New Mexico, spent a few days in Deming and headed north to Truth or Consequences where we currently are for one more day, then we’ll head east to Roswell, see if we can get beamed up by Aliens, then go north to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and then head east into Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and then who knows where, ultimately ended n Toronto in July.

So there it is, a brief outline of where we have been and where we are heading. I’ll do further posts giving greater detail of what we did n the various towns/cities we visited over the next few days, then we’ll be all caught up. I’ll also post some pictures.

Las Vegas…

We spent three days in Las Vegas. We stayed at the Las Vegas R.V. Resort which is within walking distance to Sams Town and only six miles from the main strip. We caught a shuttle bus at Sams Town which took us to Fremont Street. I have to say, anything goes in Vegas and it appears people will do anything for a buck. The main avenue on Fremont Street was rockin and the sights filled your eyes, from buff naked women with pasties to some guy with a diaper….WTH?? There appeared to be many young women dressed as show girls offering to pose with anyone who would pay. From the high rollers to low rollers Fremont had them. There was the guy who could make himself into a ball and roll down the pavement to the guy who could play a pretty mean saxaphone, to a few guys who painted themselves gold and silver, the spray paint artist, to the guys dressed as transformers to Captain America and Spider Man, they were all there. The Fremont experience, you have to go there to really appreciate what its all about, and oh yeah, four zip lines with people gliding overhead, yeeeowwww….We had been there about five years ago and if the crowd is any indication, life must be better for many than when we were there. vegas 013

THE STRIP

Everyone who has been to Vegas has been on the strip. For years in seemed to be forever changing but I think most of the redevelopment has now been done. The last time I was there it was half full, but again, Like Fremont Street the nite before, things must be good because it was busy, not just one hotel, but them all. Players at the tables and machines, in the bars, on the streets, everywhere. It was interesting to see some things that have not changed. Donnie and  Marie are still at the Flamingo (who knows, they may even own it ), Penn and Teller are still there, Elton John and his piano are coming, the Cirque is everywhere, and the Blue Men are still Blue, to name just a few. vegas 005

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GIMME THE NITE…

Personally, I think if you want to really get the feel for Vegas you can pretty well hang at the hotel pool or wherever your staying during the day and hit the strip at nite. For me at nite its the neon, everywhere, that makes the nite come alive in Vegas. Its the neon that’s telling you where to go,what to do, and what to see. I can only imagine the miles and miles of neon that grace Vegas, its everywhere, in all shapes, form and color. vegas 044

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Of course not trip to the strip at nite would be complete without taking in the fountain show at the Bellagio. I’ve seen this many times but I don’t think you could ever tire of it. vegas 055 vegas 064

Thats it for Vegas. Not sure if I’ll be back but never say never. Its was good fun. We’re now in Williams, Arizona for a three day stop to see the rand Canyon, Flagstaff and of course, Williams, and the Mother Road, Route 66 which happens to be a part of Wi;l;iams…but more on that later…

Bullhead City, Arizona….Laughlin, Nevada

Bullhead City is located approximately 140kms (90 miles) south of Las Vegas and directly across  the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada.

We stayed at the Riverside R.V. Resort and I’m beginning to wonder how they can get away with using the word RESORT. In my humble opinion it should just be an R.V. Park because the only thing resort about it was the swimming pool. There were mostly full time residents in the park and although they were very friendly I kept expecting Walter White and Jesse to open the door of one of the motorhomes and offer me some of that blue crystal meth they were so apt in cooking. Yep, several of the older motorhomes like the one in Breaking Bad occupied sites. There appeared to be little control over what you could put on and out in the site and it gave the park a real mish mash look. The park facilities were very clean, washrooms and laundry and the park was quiet during the day and evening but I suppose I just expected a bit more when the word RESORT appears on park signage. We’re learning.

Across the river from Bullhead City is Laughlin, Nevada, home to several small casinos. We went a couple of times and were fortunate to take some of their more rather than leaving some of our money. It was busy while we were there and it appears that Laughlin draws a more mature crowd and the pace is a bit slower than what you would find in Vegas, which is where we are now located (more on that in  another post).

So that’s it for now. We’re working on our tans due to the awesome weather we have been having, making plans deciding whose buffet we’ll visit, and which machine we’ll drop our money into and taking in the vibe that is put out in Vegas. I’m hoping to have some nite shots of Vegas in my next post.

Dead Horse State Park…

Another State park on my bucket list was Dead Horse State Park. This is an easy 45 mile drive along one of the three scenic byways in the Moab area.

According to Wikipedia: “The park is so named because of its use as a natural coral by cowboys in the 19th century”

We stopped at a couple of view pointsdeadhorse canyon 030915 001 leading into the park. What i thought interesting was the markings on the rock. This is not made from  man but from naturedeadhorse canyon 030915 002 I just find it boggling the force of nature. deadhorse canyon 030915 004Entrance fee to the State park is $10.00, a small price to pay considering the amount of work and effort put in to maintain these parks. Information center is invaluable, and the washrooms, immaculate.

In any event, we parked and ventured out along the pathways. There is a protective rock wall (who wants to drop 2000 feet) and many excellent view points. This is like an introductory to the Grand Canyon. Mini in a sense. deadhorse canyon 030915 010 deadhorse canyon 030915 016deadhorse canyon 030915 023deadhorse canyon 030915 020An explanation of the pools of water you see in  the photos. The river is the Colorado river.

This was an excellent day trip and of course cross another off the bucket list. In the evening we went back into Arches National park to star gaze. Totally pitch black, no artificial light, no noise. I laid on my back looking up. Amazing.

We’ve left Moab and after a couple days travel are now resting our souls in Bullhead City, Arizona, across the Colorado from Laughlin. Next Wednesday we move into sin city Las Vegas for a few days, then…

Moab; Arches National Park…

arches national park 094Words cannot describe what you see when visiting Arches National Park.  The red rock formations found throughout the park are absolutely breath taking and one only has to look and wonder, how is this possible. Lots of trail available from easy to difficult, short in length to a long hike. arches national park 021The rocks seem to take on their own personality and as we viewed them we identified some of them as characters. This group of rocks look to us as being three kings. We imagine them to be the guardians of the valley, yet as you see them from different angles they become different in themselves.

One has to wonder, how is it possible for a rock to have a medium base, and then a huge rock atop it. Why hasn’t it fallen off?? arches national park 038arches national park 041

. This rock formation is called Balancing Rock (not my naming but the National Parks). There is a short path leading to a view point of this rock and you can get up close and personal with it. Throughout the grounds people have built small rock balances and we figured we should leave our mark and do the samearches national park 049Picture is a little on the blurry side to say the least.

There are about two thousand arches within the park but only maybe half a dozen visible by road and a few more by hiking trails. I had wanted to see Delicate Arch but it was a return trip of three mile and i didn’t have proper foot wear. A little disappointing but truly, i got up close to two arches and can say…scratch this one off the bucket list. We walked into sand arch. The red sand is so fine and was cool to the touch, as was the rock canyon wall.arches national park 080arches national park 096arches national park 098arches national park 080arches national park 077I imagine as you hike around the park you will no doubt come upon and go through a slot canyon. I’ve always imagined myself doing this. Leading into a couple of the arches the trail passed between two rock shields (as i would call it for lack of proper naming). These passages we very narrow and oh so cool to the touch in the heat of the dayarches national park 072

So, today I got one of my buck list crossed off. I got to see a natural arch, I got to walk through a small but be it still, a slot canyon. I’m a happy camper and tomorrow, its off to Dead Horse Canyon.

Salt Lake City

salt lake city 025Four travel days and views of Wal-Mart parking lots and freeway noise later we arrived in Salt Lake City. The trip down was uneventful and I have to say, if you are “on your way” and passing by a town or city, Wal-Mart is an excellent choice for an over night stop. We checked with management first to ensure they allowed over night parking and they were super friendly and very positive towards us. Security cameras we always present and in one Wal-Mart in Idaho they actually had security guards patrolling (wonder why?) the parking lot, but we had no instance where we felt in danger.

We averaged about 200 mile a day, which is enough, and had fairly smooth sailing. I only managed to get myself into one tight spot getting gas and had to ask an owner of a pick-up truck if he could move the truck (this request cost me the price of the chocolate bar he was going to buy) but he accommodated me nicely. Laurie and i shared most of the driving and I must say, it was a bit of a white knuckle going through Boise Idaho, but Laurie did extremely well.

This is our second time to Salt Lake City and one cannot come here without a visit to Temple Square. Temple Square is both the symbolic center of Salt Lake City and the heart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (L.D.S.) and was settled in 1847.

salt lake city 026The Temple took 40 years to construct and is made of granite. There is a museum located on the grounds along with the domed Tabernacle, home to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Tabernacle organ. We stopped into the Tabernacle and asked for a demonstration of the acoustics. The guide went to the front, spoke without a microphone and ripped a piece of paper, all perfectly clear as can be. Totally amazing.

salt lake city 039salt lake city 032Aftersalt lake city 037r a visit to Temple Square we toured around the city and came across a funky little district called 9th & 9th. This district is close to the University and has several boutique shops and, yep, a bistro bar. We of course had to stop and savor a glass of wine before heading back to the R.V. Park.salt lake city 041

Saturday will be our last day in Salt Lake City, then we head east to Moab and Arches National Park. This is one of my bucket list items to be crossed off. I’m so looking forward to some unbelievable scenery. We anticipate about three to four days in Moab and then cross over to St. George and Zion National Park, then move into Las Vegas, or so we think, but our plans are not set in stone so, we’ll see what happens over the next two weeks.

*Note: I’m still working my way around the blog. Hopefully as time goes on I’ll have a better understanding of the media function and will be able to place the pictures in reference to the paragraph.

salt lake city 020

salt lake city 020

Inside the Tabernacle

Inside the Tabernacle

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