My recent Southwest tour completed my goal of visiting all 48 contiguous states. In fact, it included standing at Four Corners, where Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico all come together. Since we had already visited the first three of those on previous trips, it was the visit to New Mexico that was key. After Four Corners, we spent a week touring New Mexico.
Northern New Mexico was very artsy and high class with art museums, old Spanish churches and great restaurants. But it was Southern New Mexico that was the most surprising.
The Land of Enchantment tended toward the bizarre as we pulled into Roswell. This is the town outside of which an alien spaceship is said to have landed in 1947. The U.S. Government is alleged to have covered up the incident and there is a UFO Museum in Roswell where they lay out the evidence. The thing about this is that even though most Roswell residents probably don’t believe that any aliens ever landed there, they have run with it and created a tourist destination for themselves. You have to hand it to them. Their tongue-in-cheek exploitation of fringe beliefs is just genius. Everyone is aboard for the fun. Even McDonald’s features alien burgers.
Then, a few miles south of Roswell is the second point on the Roswell Triangle — Carlsbad. The fun here begins with an elevator ride that takes you 700 feet below the surface. There you find an alien landscape of stalagmites and stalactites. Carlsbad Caverns is an enormous underground wonderland of beautiful rocks that creates a landscape that would make any Roswell alien feel at home.
The underground pathways run for more than a mile and the temperature is always in the 50s (even when the temperature at the surface is in the 90s). From Carlsbad you can complete the triangle with a trip to White Sands National Monument.
This is where the government tests missiles. They even have a sign that tells you that when the red light is on, missile testing is scheduled and you can’t come in. But when they’re not testing missiles, this is a must see location. The place looks like a scene out of Lawrence of Arabia. There’s white sand everywhere!
I think that standing in the White Sands park is the closest we can come to being in the middle of the Sahara. It is nothing but miles and miles of white sand in every direction as far as the eye can see — even on the road! I guess that’s why they test missiles there. You certainly couldn’t hurt anything and it’s easy to find the debris. It’s another unique, alien landscape.
I recommend that everyone experience the wonders of the Roswell Triangle. You could easily visit all three in a day and you will be rewarded with a trip to alien worlds. It’s a break from more familiar cityscapes of Albuquerque and Santa Fe and it provide sights that will stay with you forever.