Monday, November 24, 2008

Close Encounters of the Museum Kind

Well, we said goodbye to California on Saturday. Wait, make that Sunday. We left Tom's on Saturday and headed down the Pacific Coast Highway #1 to a camp spot right between Santa Barbara and Malibu. We just weren't ready to be done with the ocean just yet. Needed just one more day to spend along the coast.

We've stayed at a bunch of different kinds of places, still finding our groove, so to speak. After staying in a bunch of RV parks last month, mostly overrun by retirees in enormous modern houses on wheels (one couple even got up from their picnic table and went inside when we pulled up in our little old tin can in Little Rock on our way out here - can you believe it?!), we were happy for the more welcoming "vibe" of the campground.

Sure, there were RVs at the campground too, some using noisy generators, and around us rambunctious kids were playing, practically rocking their tents off their pegs (one even sneaked up behind Ben and scared the daylights out of him, then ran away giggling in delight). But everyone quieted down around 9 and things got really cozy. We boiled up some water over a campfire (which was a thrill for us because apparently people at RV parks don't need those - you have to trade in your campfire rights for electricity - what if you want both?) and had some soup and genmaicha (Japanese green tea...which reminds me, we're going to have to post some pics of the Japanese garden and koi pond we found in San Jose. For now, check the pics Ben posted on his Facebook page). Then we listened to the waves crash on the nearby shore as we drifted off to sleep. Nice.

On Sunday we made the long haul through the Mojave Desert that is Eastern California, and tried something different - we just pulled up to a rest stop outside Tucson, climbed into the Airstream and camped out in one of the pull-through RV spaces. The weather was nice and warm and we actually slept really well that night, despite trucks coming and going. In the morning I washed my hair in the rest stop bathroom in a tiny sink barely big enough to get my head into, under one of those faucets that you have to hold down a button the whole time to keep the water flowing. When you're on the road it just feels great to get fresh and clean, however you can!

Now it's Monday. We drove from Tucson to Las Cruces this morning, then up through the White Sands Missile Range to Roswell, home of conspiracies about UFO and alien landings. We hit the UFO museum just so we could say we did. There was stuff about close encounters of the first, second and third kinds (now we know the difference), crop circles, the 1947 "incident," even the Bermuda Triangle. I (Lisa) wanted to see some stuff that they actually found out there, some parts of ships, you know, stuff like that, but it was more of an exhibit of newspaper and magazine clippings, everything everyone said and reported and wrote about the subject - the kind of stuff you could be there reading for hours and still not come to any conclusions on your own about. I guess I was hoping for some kind of conclusive evidence to be revealed once and for all, the real story straight from the horse's mouth. But who's the horse here? Hmm.

Ben, on the other hand...well, let's just say his curiosity has been piqued. After Roswell we headed down to Carlsbad for the night, and for much of the 70-mile drive, I watched the sunset and the stars coming out, while Ben watched blinking lights and unidentified objects moving across the sky. And since we arrived, he's been conducting some online research of his own, right here in the Airstream in the RV park!

Yes, another RV park, near the Carlsbad Caverns park entrance. It's okay, this place may just have redeemed RV parks for us. The owners are really nice, really organized (she handed us a big packet of information explaining their park, the nearby town and attractions, codes we'd need to use the internet and other facilities, and more. I commended her on it. And...they have an indoor heated pool that was open until 10! Since it's November and low tourist season, we had the 8-foot-deep pool to ourselves and it was like a big warm bathtub, with steam rising off the surface into the cooler night air (the pool building's windows were open). It's supposed to get down to 29 degrees tonight (that's about -2 for all you Canadians), which is colder than we expected this close to Mexico, but since we're plugged into electricity tonight, we've got a great little school bus heater to keep us warm. I guess that's a fair trade for the campfire (or lack thereof) tonight...


Hannah said...

My dad's family lives in Roswell. We had a reunion a few years back during the UFO festival (which spawned all kinds of jokes about the family). I love NM. If you're still in NM, check out the northern end (Albuequerque north to Taos). It's gorgeous! Glad to see you guys are having fun!
-Hannah (Paul H's daughter from BCOM)

Ben and Lisa said...

Aha! That explains a few things! :-)

The first time we went through NM was several years back with a van full of people in the middle of the night, in a desert rain, and we tuned in to Coast to Coast, a conspiracy radio talk show where people call in and talk about UFOs, aliens, the moon blowing up, whatnot. First the driver was listening to it to stay awake, but one by one the bed-heads popped up, going, "Hey! Turn that up!" Soon we were all wide awake, laughing uproariously, and freaking out every time a light would reflect on all the raindrops on the van windows. Good times.

We just came through the northern end on our way out to California a month ago, during the day this time, so we got to see how pretty NM really is! Didn't get to do too much exploring up there but had some fabulous Mexican food in Albuquerque.

Thanks for the tip...we are still hoping to visit the northwestern states/Colorado area (future idea on the back burner for now), so we might be able to work it in...

T.J. said...

hey... have you guys been listening to "coast to coast" on your drive? Coast to coast... driving through the desert... can't think of a better combo.

have fun.