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|Roswell UFO Museem|
Sometimes I think about that night. I don't know why it comes to me now and then. Perhaps it has something to do with thinking about God watching over me or maybe because it had something to do with my destination of Roswell, New Mexico.
Yes, that Roswell of UFO notoriety. The place that has been featured in documentaries, science fiction movies, and even a popular television show. If you aren't familiar with Roswell, the town gained fame from a supposed UFO crash in 1947 after which supposed alien bodies were recovered. It's one of those things that conspiracy theorists and UFO buffs love to study and debate.
The town now capitalizes on the famous event with a museum dedicated to UFOs and alien life, an annual festival, and lots of souvenirs to cater to the many tourists who come there each year. It's all interesting to me, but not of extreme consequence. I used to go there every year on business and if not for that I may have never bothered to go there despite the fact that I had relatives living there. And they were human relatives and not aliens, but that's another story.
Anyway, this particular night took place in 1985 I think it was. The show I was working with at the time had finished a gig in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After tearing down and loading the truck we were going to make a night jump to Roswell, where our next performance would be.
We pulled away from the venue where our performance had been at about 10 PM. My wife, three year old daughter, and I were in our van. Driving separately from us was the show truck and another van with four other performers. As we were often wont to do when we had a night drive like this we stopped at a McDonald's for some food to go. By the time we had done this, crossed the span of the city, and reached the outskirts of Santa Fe it was about 10:30. We still had a couple hundred miles to go. I was guessing we would arrive at the motel I had reserved in Roswell at about 1:30 AM.
At night New Mexico is a very dark place. Our route did not involve interstates. We would be traveling U.S. highway 285 all the way to Roswell. Rolling down that highway in the night with the stereo cranked up I felt detached from the world. There were few cars on the highway and only a few towns that we passed through. Surrounded by blackness it seemed like the van was in space except for the highway beneath our tires humming with a lulling dullness.
We stopped at the small town of Vaughn to gas up and get some snacks. It felt like a dream in which we were moving fast in a slow motion world. Ethereal neon lights seemed surreal after emerging from the darkness of the empty highway landscape. It reminded me of some outpost in space where intergalactic travelers stopped to restock their starships.
Soon we were on the road again, later and darker than it had been before, as though in a place of ancient and sacred silence disturbed by our music, the steady engine song, and the tire rubber on the asphalt. I strained to see something beyond my headlights but an ebon vacuum surrounded me. My daughter was sleeping in the back seat and my silent wife slept as well.
I longed for sleep, anxious to get to the cool sheets of a strange room, another home for a day.
Then, a strange thing hit me as we passed into the Roswell city limits, the town asleep for the most part except for the dream drivers like me. I had this peculiar realization that I remembered virtually nothing of the journey between Vaughn and my now arrived at destination. Had I been so lost in the music, darkness, and driving that the drive had all slipped past me in a blur that did not recognize the concept of time. The time had elapsed far too quickly.
In the motel office as I was registering, a glance at the clock on the wall confirmed my fearful suspicion. It was only 12:45. We had made excellent time--too good of time. According to my calculations we had averaged over 95 miles per hour. A gush of icy blood coursed through my veins briefly and I felt afraid.
Could this be true? As I parked the van and unloaded our suitcases into the room, I marveled at the calculations. Prior to stopping at Vaughn I was sure that we had never gone faster than 75 miles per hour. We had lingered at the gas station a bit and had to slow down for the few towns we had passed through. That would have meant that the last unremembered ninety miles or so were made at an average of more than a hundred miles per hour.
I tried not to think about it because it made me feel uneasy. To have had my family in a vehicle going that fast and not being able to remember the trip was beyond irresponsible--it was plain crazy.
The other two show vehicles arrived at the motel about 45 minutes after I had gotten situated in our room. I gave them their room keys and retired to an edgy sleep that sped through dark highways of my dreamworld.
Oh dreamers of the highway, I wish you safe travels night or day. Most will survive, but some will not. I have been fortunate in my many miles and years of traveling. I believe that I have been blessed with divine protection in my travels throughout my life. I thank God for that.
Some say a UFO crashed near Roswell in 1947. I'm relieved that a red and silver Chevrolet Sport Van didn't crash on a dark night in 1985.
Have you ever arrived at a destination only to realize that you did not remember the journey to get there? Have you ever fallen asleep while driving? Have you been to Roswell, New Mexico?