Monday, April 21, 2014

Lawless Aliens

There is no law west of the Pecos. Even I have seen enough late-night westerns to know that. And that would explain the huge population of aliens I met just west of the river. In Roswell, New Mexico….yes, that Roswell.

I Was Not Alone
No amount of border patrol is going to stop that green invasion. And Roswell, to their credit, has embraced their Twilight Zone-ish reputation to make their own green. There is an infinite number of businesses that link their wares or advertising to that fateful intergalactic car wreck in the 1940s. Even I, a sucker for odd roadside attractions, was lured into the UFO Research Center and Museum. I should probably note here that for one year I was a columnist for UFO Magazine (true story).

An Entire Street of UFO-themed Businesses
But I had my own serendipitous encounter while in Roswell. After taking in the UFO museum and then crushed to find out that one of my favorite indy coffee places in all of ‘merica had shut down since my last visit 3 or 4 years ago, I was forced into the corporate confines of a Starbuck’s (don’t start…I tried). I wanted to spend a day or two in Roswell to take in the oddity of it all and do some hiking so I looked for a place to crash on the Couchsurfing website. Of the few hosts in the Roswell area one had a ton of positive recommendations and was of all things…..a sports writer. Eureka. I requested a spot on her sofa.

Within 20 minutes Karen called me to say not only could I crash on her couch, but that she was working at the moment announcing a college BASEBALL GAME. Wait….it gets weirder. The game was literally a long foul ball from where I was sitting at the Starbuck’s. She invited me to hang in the press box with her until the doubleheader was over.

For the next 6 hours I got to take in an unexpected treat of college-level baseball as New Mexico Military Institute took on West Texas College. Even better, also in the press box was NMMI’s Sports Information Director Geoff Gunn. He put me to work taking action photos of the team on the field during the game. Geoff even bought me dinner, which I fetched from Sonic. To keep it pure to the mission I chose Sonic’s much vaunted Chicago style dog. While I didn’t rate it, the dog was kind of soggy and so-so, but  the baseball was fantab. It really was a spectacular day.

Geoff and Karen in Their Natural Habitat

Karen has a place on the west edge of Roswell and currently hosts two help-Xers (people who stay at your place in exchange for assistance with chores, repairs, etc.) and has chickens, llamas and a few cats. All underneath a blanket of nighttime stars that seem deeper and brighter in New Mexico.

I felt extremely fortunate to have met Karen, we seemed to be cut from some of the same cloth. She likes adventure, travel, sports and writing. And was one hell of a good host. Thanks Karen for turning a ho-hum day into another hardball-infused experience.

Got Some Great Hiking In

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