We wake up warm and rested in Roswell, New Mexico in a rather used looking motel room.
Out front on the street, a western motif has taken on a new message.
Everywhere, there are more green critters and crashed space ships.
A Paul Bunyan sized Alien decorates an ice-cream shop. It is wearing a covid mask.
There are coffee shops with aliens loitering out front. There are stores filled with the latest and classic alien paraphernalia.
We have to see the famous “UFO Museum.” How could one just miss something that has inspired an entire town to go green? It must at least be fun.
We get our tickets at what appears to be a converted theater. We’re asked where we’re from with a welcoming smile, as we pay and then wander through the corridor with no sense of what to expect. The first thing to do is get our pictures taken with two folks who have apparently crashed their space ship in the Tucson Mountains! Yup, that looks like Cat Mountain is the backdrop, notice the saguaros! Oh, if only I could make this look like I stumbled upon them while naked hiking!
We find each exhibit fun.
We read and see it all.
It will be a long trip across the plains today. We’re hoping to get somewhere into the green tall trees. After New Mexico, we’ll have Texas, Oklahoma and the next day Missouri. I break out my notes to review the laws and attitudes in concern for nudity. We’ll be okay, to just act like we do in Arizona.
There are long hours of grand wide open spaces. In a region of not much of civilization, any of the concerns of being nude in a car float away. It feels like just us, God and of course the long straight highway.
Eventually, the Rocky Mountains begin to fade into the horizon. It is a benchmark, we’re leaving home.
This part of New Mexico has had a similar drought to Arizona during this last year and a half. The last time that I was through here, it was a green valley stretching into the distance. Today, it’s desolate, as if burned brown and black. There isn’t much going on out here.
We listen to music. With the Texas border approaching, I break out a copy of Jerry Jeff Walker and we sing along with the spirit of a vagabond quest:
Just gettin’ by on gettin’ by’s my stock in trade,
Livin’ it day to day,
Pickin’ up the pieces wherever they fall.
Just letting it roll, lettin’ the high times carry the load,
I’m livin’ my life easy come, easy go.
When we cross the border, the brown and desolate turns to green. The place seems on the move. Large industrial farming is being irrigated by machinery, all growing food to feed cattle. In the distance huge white wind turbines slowly, but surely, spin on the horizon.
The Rockies are gone. Bovine Texas has a stench that precedes it by miles. Our windows roll up, “Where’s those masks?”
The feed lots are looking like fenced in black tar pits. In this, a thousand or more cows stand in the muck. Some are standing atop huge piles of their own waste. Is it King of the Hill, or an escape from the crowded conditions?
“Now, I know for certain that I’ll never eat that stuff again,” DF announces.
“Not progress. No wonder they need so many antibiotics.” We continue attempting to get upwind far enough to feel rescued. After a while, our appetite returning, we find a roadside park. There are some picnic shelters and freshly mowed grass. The two lane highway has the roar of one cattle truck after the next, leaving full, returning empty. There is a very busy undercurrent, a dramatic change from our sense of open road.
In the distance are tall commercial silos. A train track runs through them. Coming toward us, a mile long train filled with containers, two high, also creeps past us. Another waits. The horn from the diesel engine greets us as we lunch.
This isn’t our style.
On to Oklahoma:
Today is a day to make some time across the plains. We hook into the Interstate system and then a Turnpike. We watch as America passes by, making profit from prairie. Always, there is personality and humor in what we define as Americana culture. The green aliens that have overrun Roswell are just a beginning.
We pass other vagabonds. They are in mini-homes on wheels. They are decorated with names like “Sunseeker”, “Open Range,” promising to be the makers of dreams.
Some phone research in Amarillo allows us to make reservations at a lakeside campground, somewhere between Ok City and Tulsa. There are a couple of nudist resorts off of the highway, they’re further into the rural countryside. Before we left Tucson, I tried to contact people in a non-landed naturist club about free range opportunities. With no answer, I have decided to just blaze through the plains and get to familiar faces in Missouri.
Arriving close to midnight, we smell cut grass. We are gazing big eyed into another world. Deciduous trees line the small back-road in the glare of our headlights. A norm for much of America, we of the desert feel fascination. “We’re back east, look, trees!!!” “Wow, smell the fresh cut grass?”
The kicker is our campsite. It is lakeside, filled with WATER, calm, and reflecting stars from the dark skies above. There is nobody else, but a guy with a fishing pole and the frogs in the night.
I awaken to that lake outside our window screen. The sun is up enough to create blue reflections. It is bigger than last night’s imagination when looking at distant lights. It is more water than I’ve seen for quite a while.
The fisherman is gone. Under one of the round shade trees along the grassy shore, a couple of tents are pitched. They are down a ways. DF takes a stroll down the asphalt road through this place that, to me, might as well be another planet. This moment is wondrous, as I stand barefoot in the thick lawn grass, hands on hips, jaw kind of slack. In this world, I might as well be a visiting green figure with big black eyes. This planet is just amazing.
I spend the time packing up camp, wrapping and unwrapping my kilt on my waist as needed. All that while, I’m imbibing the smell of the exotic and looking around. The air itself is moist. It feels good, refreshing, clean, no dust. This plethora of simple pleasures amounts to an adventure. I’ve been out west for a very long time.
We hear a domestic squabble between two of the distant neighbors. He takes off, she climbs into the tent. It is one less obstacle to roaming freely bare, but not enough to dip into the lake unseen.
In the light, Oklahoma is charming to look at along a stretch of the old Route 66. The Americana flourishes here. Old signs beckon travelers off of the road.
Small town USA along Route 66, continues looking much like an anachronism in time. Most of the vehicles are newer however, but not all. There is that love affair with them that keeps the classics on the road, less hurried. Although with a very conservative reputation, Oklahoma hosts a couple of nudist resorts. In its east, it has a beautiful countryside.
It gets hot enough to make a sane person want to strip. Skinnydipping in a remote pond and practicality, I’m sure are somewhere in the culture, maybe among the older folks. Still, I feel a bit out of place here in this small town, sitting naked in my car, looking in the rear-view mirror. I imagine a local authoritarian taking to me like an alien from another planet.
This world gets more and more green as we travel along. The road kill changes from bunnies and coyotes to armadillo and strangely human-like raccoons. This day seems in every way, to be taking place in another world.
We are making our way cross country in this more of a nude travelogue section of the trip’s storyline. It seemed a bit much, so I split the story section up. It is, after all, the “GREAT Plains.” In just a couple of days, I’ll continue the journey on to the Mississippi River in “Nude Across America Pt.6”
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