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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: October 7, 2020      Views: 134
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Retired Marine; retired high school teacher; married 35 years; father of three; five grandchildren; one rescue granddog.

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Chapter 31 of the book Attack of the Fifty States
I shoulda took a right in Albacorky
"Attack ofthe 50 States:NewMexico" by Bill Schott

New Mexico

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but when I was a freshly minted teenager, my parents, brother, and I traveled in a Buick torture chamber to the western United States. At some point we entered the impossibly barren and rest-stopless state of New Mexico.

Since I had destroyed our one container for carrying water, making me the local zero, we travelled miles and miles being thirsty and loathing me. I thought Arizona was the hottest and cruelest state to ride in a back seat through, but I was corrected when we entered New Mexico.

New Mexico has a large U.S. military presence marked notably with the White Sands Missile Range. Various U.S. national security agencies base their research and testing arms in New Mexico, such as the Los Alamos National Laboratories. During the 1940s, the Manhattan Project developed the first atomic bomb and tested it.

Navajo and Apache populated this region before it was colonized by the Spanish in 1598. It was named Nuevo Mexico after the Aztec Valley, more than 250 years before the country of Mexico. So, the state of New Mexico was not named after the country of Mexico.

New Mexico came into the nation's consciousness with the television series, Breaking Bad, and its spin off, Better Call Saul. 

Back to me. I recall only two things from our endurance test across New Mexico: the hilarious rest stops and my brothers time behind the wheel.

The rest stops in New Mexico were only a 55 gallon barrel for trash, period. We traveled miles anticipating a stretch, pee, and a drink, but all the rest stops were just a place to throw away our trash.

Eventually we got to Albuquerque. Someone had the famously bad idea of having my brother, Albert, try out his new driver's license while negotiating the city traffic. The images of my mother's back-seat pleadings, my father's stroke-level screams, and my brother's contrary piloting skills still reside in my memory. This is how it would feel to be in the backseat of a clown car, on fire, driving off a cliff, with the volume on the radio turned to brain scan.

I was asked to include Roswell and Area 51. I can include Roswell, where in 1947 a high-elevation, experimental, meteorological balloon, carrying something classified, landed in the desert. Government secrecy fomented conspiracy theories about an alien spacecraft crash that still exist today. If it were a flying saucer, some green goblin with a new license was probably behind the wheel. Area 51 is in Nevada, so I'll pop that in there. 

Seeing the Texas border sign made my heart flutter with the anticipation of eventually getting out of the 'cage' and not being in New Mexico.



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