Southwest Adventures: Tombstone, White Sands, Roswell and more!


It's not DIY, stuff, it's vacation photos. But who wants to look at someone else's vacation photos anyway? Nobody.  

We did go to some really cool places on this Southwest road trip. I've done a massive, photo-dump post for ya. There's gunslingers, ruins, military history, dunes of pure white, aliens/UFO's, and cool, dark caverns. No beaches, umbrella drinks, or costumed characters.

I'm not going to write too much, so I'll give you links to read more if you're interested. Enjoy the photos. 


We decided against a California trip this year. San Diego is awesome, but expensive. Disney is awesome (but expensive), plus there's the new Star Wars land coming, so... we'll wait for that.

We decided to do a bit of exploring around the southwest, launching out of Phoenix to do a good, old fashion road trip. I still packed some tool stuff (sorta).

 Frosty beverages!

Frosty beverages!

Off we go!


Tombstone, AZ

Tombstone is just under 3 hours from Phoenix, towards the bottom of the state (and the country). It's a tourist trap, of course, but a pretty cool one nonetheless.

We watched the movie a week ahead of our trip, just to be ready to pepper our conversations with the proper gunslinger quotes. 

 

I'll be your huckleberry

It's a pretty decent wild west town, with restaurants and shops throughout. 

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I love the fact that they have an event called the "Doc Holidays" when Val Kilmer and Denis Quaid come to town. 

Gunfight at the OK Corral: You're a daisy if you do

There are a few staged gunfights in town. We chose the performance held in the actual OK Corral. After the cheesy, old-school animatronic display on the way in, the real actors did a super good job. Virgil Erp and Doc Holiday were probably the best. It was worth paying some admission to see it go down. 

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Gunslinger

Don't wear your guns in town today, old buddy. 

We also visited Boot Hill, the graveyard where three of the bad guys (Cowboys) from the famous shoot-out were buried, as well as the Marshal Fred White who was killed by Curly Bill Brocious.

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Fort Bowie - National Historic Site, AZ

Heading east, well off the beaten path, are the ruins of an old Calvary fort. Rain was threatening us the whole time, but we managed to accomplish a pretty brutal hike. 

 

I'm not an expert on the "Indian Wars" but this is one of the sites where a bunch of the action took place. There's a signs of heartache, heroism, and frontier life in this quiet ravine. We spotted all kinds of wildlife as well.

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White Sands Missile Range, NM

Right off the highway is this live Army Base. This is the place where the United States first tested long range rockets and the atomic bomb in the 1940's

 
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There was an outdoor display of various big weaponry as well as an indoor museum. It was interesting to get up close to a Fat Man Atomic Bomb Case, a Patriot Missile Launcher and a V2 Rocket. 


White Sands National Monument, NM

We pulled into this one one a whim. From the highway it looked mildly interesting. There was some white sand dotting the scrubby desert plant-life. The deeper we drove into the park, the more awesome it was.

 
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The scrubby stuff gradually faded away, leaving brilliant, pure white dunes of gypsum. They plow this stuff like snow and you can drive down these lanes, after the pavement disappears. 

 Walking the land, like Kwai Chang Cane

Walking the land, like Kwai Chang Cane


Roswell, NM

Roswell, New Mexico is the site of the famed UFO crash indecent of 1947. It's fun to poke about the small town's shops. If there is any way to silkscreen, cast, print, carve, form, or paint an alien on an object, you'll find it here (including their street lights). 

 

Everything alien. Everything. 

 An assault of color

An assault of color

Roswell UFO Tour with Dennis Balthasar

When in Roswell, you've got to do this. We found this dude through Trip Adviser where his tours have has an incredibly high rating. We thoroughly enjoyed this private, guided tour. Dennis took us though highlights of the town featuring Wild West, Goddard's early rocketry, German POW's, and of course, the UFO incident of 1947. He took us to all the applicable sites including the old military base. 

 Statue of Pat Garrett

Statue of Pat Garrett

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True believer or scoffer, Dennis will open your eyes to believe at least something happened in Roswell. There's just way too much oddness in the response by our military. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with him. I heartily reccomend it.

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Check out his website to see his essays, research, and interviews.

Truth Seeker at Roswell. 


Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Keeping our hotel in Roswell, we took a side trip over to Carlsbad for some spelunking.

 

We elected to take the elevator down about 75 stories into the cave, rather than take the surface entrance. 

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It lead to a 1.25 mile walking trail of the "Big Room". It was cool and quiet. It was a massive space, complete with a restaurant and gift shop.

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It was darker than it looks in the photos, but there's enough light to see. I set the camera shutter pretty slow and opened up the aperture as wide as I could. It was tough getting crisp images while hand holding the camera, but I got a good handfull. 


Good lord. That was 101 photos of someone else's vacation you just went through. It was a fun trip. None of the locations were worthy of an entire, stand-alone trip; they're just too remote. Bundled together, it was a blast of fun-ucational, somewhat geeky stops. 

Next time, I'm getting out the tools out of the cabinet and starting some new projects. Thanks for bearing with me as I eased off the throttle this summer. 

 The Tool Cabinet

The Tool Cabinet