Aliens, UFOs, abductions. These are all topics that have fascinated me for decades.
I got my first cheap paperback book about aliens when I was probably 10 years old. And there was one place it mentioned, a place that is the epicenter for all UFO loving people like me: Roswell, N.M.
I always wanted to go to Roswell, and I recently had my chance. Myself and two of my friends rode our motorcycles to Roswell to visit local UFO and alien attractions, but also to go to Carlsbad Caverns and soak in some history by visiting the grave of Billy the Kid and Lincoln, N.M., where the Lincoln County wars that made the Kid famous took place.
First, I need to say, this was really about the ride and enjoying time with friends. When you ride more than 3,300 miles in nine days you need to really love riding, and we do. This is a trip we planned to take last year, but COVID killed that off.
Our route was pretty simple – go south through St. Louis, down through Oklahoma, catch I-40 at Oklahoma City and head west. At Amarillo, Texas head southwest into New Mexico. Along the way, rain poured on us in Oklahoma (riding a motorcycle in a downpour is not fun), stopped at a couple of Harley-Davidson dealerships (free beer at the one in Lawton, Okla.!) and I finally got a chance to stop at the Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo.
If you haven’t heard of the Big Texan, you are missing out. It offers a free 72-ounce steak and fixings if you can eat it in a certain amount of time. Yes, 72 ounces. I opted for a 21-ounce steak, and it almost took me down. The place is huge and there was enough meat being served in that packed restaurant to make the headquarters of PETA explode.
The day after the huge meal, we rode down to Billy the Kids burial site at Fort Sumner in New Mexico. It is on a quiet country road. The cemetery is dusty and sparsely populated, but there the body of the famous outlaw (that’s how most know him, anyway) lies beneath a small headstone.
We hopped on Highway 20 after leaving Fort Sumner and it was the loneliest stretch of road I have ever been on. We were on it for more than an hour and saw four other vehicles. Talk about desolate.
We arrived in Roswell and enjoyed a few days of hitting tourist attractions. Roswell is a good size city of about 65,000. And it is loaded with restaurants serving great Mexican food – I had a breakfast burrito that was so good I almost wept. OK, I wept.
There is also, of course, a lot of UFO related stops. The International UFO Museum and Research Center was a fun stop, as was the UFO Spacewalk and the Alien Zone. These places are meant to be fun, and they are. There are so many crazy photo opportunities around Roswell – the UFO shaped McDonalds, the huge alien holding the Dunkin’/Baskin Robbins sign. Even our hotel had an alien sign welcoming us.
On the way home, we stopped in Lubbock, Texas to visit the Buddy Holly Museum. That was a great museum – if a bit sobering. He died so young.
We rode miles and miles through rural Texas. Seriously, there is nothing there. We stopped at a small diner in Matador, Texas and I was concerned the local cowboys were going to run us out of town.
More rain met us as we made our way north through Oklahoma and into Missouri, but we made it home safe and sound. Another great trip in the books.
And not one of us got abducted.