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There – I just saved you a trip to Roswell. This is the best I saw.

The drive out of Santa Fe was an exercise in ass clenching. The clear Southwest sun beamed onto pavement recently plowed of the last dump of snow. This created a thin and shiny ice sheet. Skidmarks shot off all sides of the roadway, punctuated by messy struggle sites or abandoned vehicles.

With all the speed of a Conestoga wagon, I made my way to a convenience store in the middle of the desert where a toothless Indian woman in her 30s sold me some gasoline and sunflower seeds. Past there, the roads were fine, but the landscape was stranger than ever. The “towns” were so decrepit that you would assume they were abandoned if not for the smattering of giant 4X4 trucks or the partially-functional neon in a few hotel signs.

Land stretched for miles with only a random windmill or stray boulder here and there. I questioned the Clovis people’s eye for real estate and pressed on.

Roswell is a concentration of people, but I’m not sure I would call it a town. On the outskirts, a Wal*Mart with an alien-themed sign pretty much summed up my opinion on the place.

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Har har – shitty alien trinkets everywhere!

I stayed the night at a surprisingly classy La Quinta Inn & Suites and wasted a few dollars the next day for admission to the International UFO Museum & Research Center. Though a couple small displays and geegaws caught my eye, it would have taken an autistic speed-reader to make it through the place in less than a week. The enactment of what-if-the-gubment-dissected-some-aliens (pictured above) was my official favorite thing in the town’s entirety.

And with that, I left for Carlsbad and its caves.