Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Blast From the Past

Well, it's almost everyone's favorite time of year: time for Eric and Kimberly's fabulous yet freaky summer vacation! 

For those who are new to this blog, I should mention we’ve gone every summer for the past 17 years now—yes, even after I got married.

Largely because Opie has NO DESIRE to go any of the places we’ve gone.  I tell him where we've decided to go, he stares at me for a long moment in horrified silence then says "Have a good time."

See, Eric and my goal is to go to the wackiest places possible, places no on in their right mind would visit. Which is why we’ve been to  The Lizzie Borden Axe Murder House,  The Waverly Hills Sanotarium, The Villisca Iowa Axe Murder House  (sort of an axe murder theme there for awhile), The Superman Convention in Metropolis, Illinois, Psychic Boot Camp, and  Snake World (which was basically a TRAILER in Arkansas that housed the largest private collection of venomous snakes in North America) and so on…

Let me tell you, it’s been HILARIOUS.

This year we're flying in the face of tradition and returning to one of the places we've already been: The Roswell, New Mexico Annual International UFO Festival.


Because it's been 15 years and who knows what kind of mindboggling breakthroughs have occurred in the field of xenoarchaeology?

So, when we return, I'll be sure to update everyone on our trip.  But first  I thought I'd share a blast from the past: the official record of our last trip to hunt UFOs 15 years ago...back when we were young, crazy and had a somewhat limited understanding of Government Security Clearance guidelines.


Ok, as some of you probably are already aware, Eric and I took our annual vacation over 4th of July weekend and as always, we chose a somewhat unusual vacation spot: Roswell, New Mexico for the annual national UFO convention. It was actually 3 conventions in one as there are 3 different groups who put on rival conventions all over town.

Roswell, for those of you who don’t know, is the place where a UFO supposedly crashed in 1947. The army first released a statement saying it was, in fact, a flying saucer. Later they retracted that statement and said it was a weather balloon. It is now the Mecca of UFO researchers.

We thought it would be fun to go someplace where we are the most normal people around. Most of the people, however, were deceptively ordinary--until, of course, they started discussing their abduction experiences, government conspiracies, and the malevolent alien plot of world domination.
But I get ahead of myself…it was quite a trip and I've included a detailed play by play but  it is ridiculously long so feel free to skim or not read this at all…it was just too funny not to share!

In any case, we began our journey on Wednesday, July 2nd. We actually thought we were off to a good start because we began a mere 40 minutes late…this is over an hour better than our previous record! Unfortunately this fabulous start time was slightly marred by our nearly immediate stop and 10 minute search for the trip journal to record the fabulous start time.

Then any leftover euphoria quickly died when we realized that our planned route was actually 2-3 hours out of our way. Since we were supposed to stay with Eric’s parents, we had no choice but to press on. We did, however, peruse the map and come up with an alternate route home.

The rest of the day’s events are best illustrated in the following timeline:
10:50 -- First fervent wish for alcoholic beverage.
10:51 -- Loud chanting of “We don’t drink and drive, we don’t drink and drive!” Oddly, chanting did not dim desire.
10:54 -- Debate whether or not Kahlua really constitutes alcohol. Surely something that tastes so much like coffee can be considered coffee?
11:00 -- Vote taken on the status of Kahlua. 2 votes for coffee.
11:01 -- Search for Kahlua in backseat of car.
11:05 -- Realization that Kahlua is either still in St. Louis or buried in bag in trunk of car.
11:06 - 11:10 Cursing, finger-pointing and overall disgust concerning undetermined location of Kahlua.
11:15 -- Water chosen as healthier but infinitely less satisfying beverage.
12:36 -- First stop for gas.
12:38 -- Eric inadvertently locks car; panicked search for keys encompasses several minutes as we envision calling a locksmith etc.
12:45 -- Locate keys, enter gas station/convenience store.
12:46 -- Get into argument with clerk about true size of bag of ice. Insist that he is overcharging us for a $1.00 bag of ice as the sign clearly indicates 2 pounds for a dollar and we only have 1 bag.
12:49 -- Feel like idiots when clerk explains for the 3rd time that the bag we are holding is 2 and pounds.
12:50 Assuage each other's embarrassment by marveling how easily we can lug 2 pounds of ice around the parking lot.
1:55 -- Enter Kansas.
2:00 -- 5:30 Endless discussion of how far out of the way this route is. Eric maintains that route is better as more scenic and historical (Actual Santa Fe Trail!). My reply obscene and not included for fear of offending anyone still reading.
6:00 -- 10:00 -- Arrive at Eric’s parents. Have dinner, sit down with Eric’s mother and peruse map for shortest route to Roswell. I make sounds like “north” and “west” as if I understand what they mean. Eric tries not to laugh.
10:01 -- Realize no possible way to get to Roswell in under 10 hours. Plot Eric’s bloody death.
10:30 -- Go to bed so can get early start.


Driving the second day included more wrong turns and directional struggles but we stopped a few fun places along the way--like the exact mid-point of the United States. This spot is exactly 1561 miles from San Francisco and 1561 miles from New York. We got out of car like big tourist nerds, climbed the hill to take pictures, then I stepped on cockleburr with my bare foot, hopped back to the car and complained loudly for next twenty minutes.

We finally arrived in Roswell around 5:30. Of course, the address that the online reservation service gave me was wrong so, just like last year, we went into the wrong hotel, went up to the front desk and demanded imaginary reservations. Then—sure that I was right and assuming that our room had been given to some other conference attendee with fistfuls of cash—I engaged in a loud, heated discussion with the clerk, insisting that I had booked a room days earlier. I even triumphantly waved my confirmation email in his face.

Which is when the clerk snatched the paper from my hand, pointed at the name of the hotel emblazoned across the top and said “That’s not us.”

I’m not going to lie, it was a little embarrassing.

The conference itself was great! My only suggestion for the organizers is that next year, they should indicate right on the program which presentations are best experienced under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs…for example, we went to one so called laser light show that I could have done with 2 flashlights and some colored cellophane.

Plus, I was astounded to learn that the truth about aliens has not been discovered because of a conspiracy between both the government and organized religion. Apparently, the government doesn’t think we can handle the truth and organized religions don’t want to admit that aliens caused evolution by interfering with our genetic structure millions of years ago.

It is now clear that this blog entry will not only cause me to be interrogated by the FBI, the CIA and other nefarious secret government organizations but I will also, no doubt, be excommunicated.

But I’m getting ahead of myself again!

The first thing we did Friday morning was drive out to the actual crash site. It is about 35 miles outside of town and the road is only marked by a raggedy old sign. We got out of the car, took a few pictures, and another group of people told us that no one is allowed to go to the actual crash site anymore.

“All part of the government conspiracy,” I said.

Two of them nodded along with me but one woman shook her head and said, “No, I think it’s just private property now.”

“Allegedly,” I said.

And the other two nodded even more emphatically.

But you know what?

They were all cowards. 

They weren’t interested in what some people call “trespassing” but Eric and I call “exploring.” So we had to wait for them to leave before we could go ahead with our own search.

Oh sure, it was private property and yes, there might or might not have been but definitely were signs indicating the area was restricted by the government and yes, it was the middle of the desert where it was so hot I thought I might actually burst into flame and admittedly we spent over an hour driving up and down unmarked gravel roads avoiding cows and sheep and various other livestock but we did find the gated off area and managed to wander around a bit until we could identify the ranch house and the area in question.

Then, when we got back to the UFO museum, we saw a sign that informed us one of the reasons that the crash site is off limits is because of the “excessive danger of TARANTULAS and RATTLESNAKES.”

“The question is,” I told Eric, “did the government MAKE UP the tarantulas and rattlesnakes or did they PLANT THEM THERE to further the cover up?”

“We’ll probably never know,” Eric said

In any case, we felt suitably freaked out enough to spend the rest of the day getting freaked out by people giving convincing and somewhat alarming accounts of what really happened 50 years ago in Roswell…did you know that Jerry Marcel, the army guy who was instrumental in the alien cover up, came forward years later and basically said the government was lying, he believed that a UFO had crashed?


Later we went out to a presentation at the Roswell fair grounds and it is interesting to note that slamming vodka and Sprite in 105 degree heat can occasionally induce feelings of nausea…this feeling is not noticeably improved by a 20 minute viewing of wobbly home videos of a supposed UFO. Was it a UFO? I have no clue, I thought it looked by a big black dot.

However, I turned my attention to the presenter and was mildly amused to feel a sort of “He’s a long-haired UFO chaser but what a great smile” type of attraction (it is possible that this was due to the vodka as well).

Then, sadly, he spoke.

“I saw me the UFO” he said. “So I went and got me muh videah camra.”

Then he revealed that this is what he does for a living; he sits around his house all day drinking beer, smoking dope (I’m speculating on this last bit) and pointing his “videah camra” at the sky for hours a at time.

I need this guy’s life.

After dinner (the highlight of which was cracking Eric up as he was trying to do a shot and getting vodka sprayed in my face) things were a little disappointing. We went to a presentation called “The Great UFO Mystery” and the biggest mystery was “When are you actually going to stop talking about astronomy and talk about UFOs?”

Eric and I tried to lighten the mood with a few jokes and witty repartee during the presentation but considering the woman right next to us actually got up and MOVED TO ANOTHER SEAT, I think it’s possible that everyone did not appreciate our humor.

Next we drove out to fairgrounds for a fireworks display …which would have been a lot cooler if the fireworks display had actually been scheduled for the fairgrounds and not behind the planetarium on the other side of town.

In any case, the last day more than made up for any disappointment. We met “The Alien Hunter” who makes his living investigating claims of alien abduction and perused his collection of alien implants. Strange as this may sound, this guy was actually NOT a loon. He was articulate, educated and explained to us the scientific methods he uses to investigate these claims.

Honestly, he freaked me out.

On the other hand, there were plenty of loons. For example the guy who said he got involved in UFO studies after a “strange being” entered his bedroom and touched him. Or the woman who was continually possessed by aliens and forced to run around her bedroom over and over again as part of some bizarre athletic experiments. Or the guy who was abducted continually for about 10 years until he found Christ and then he quit his job and moved to Roswell to start The Alien Resistance Organization in order to get the word out. He was even handing out stickers that had an alien head inside a circle with a line through it (like a no smoking sign).

You can’t buy fun like that, not in any store.

I had, of course, come up with an alien abduction story of our own but the only place where people were invited to share their stories was at the Biblical Studies of UFOs. Considering that one of their books blamed homosexuality on aliens and further considering I was already getting dirty looks for daring to wear a tank top to the presentation, I didn’t think we should tempt fate any further.
So we left, drove all night to get home and are now considering giving up our careers as teachers and becoming UFO researchers…

I'm not going to lie, this is going to be a hard trip to beat -- but we're leaving Friday and I'll let you know how we do!

1 comment:

  1. OK, I am curious, how did the trip go, I am guessing you and Eric have already gone? If you haven't you are going to fry with as hot as it has been, 103 here today, the 3rd day over 100! I see you have about the same as we have here in St. Louis area.