Jim’s Note: Recently, one of our listeners and professional writer Ryan Clark told us of an upcoming trip to Roswell and asked if we’d be willing to share it. The answer was, of course! Ryan’s observations, writing talents and opinions are his own. After a bit of a delay (sorry Ryan), here is the story of his long and winding road to Roswell. I liked it and I think you will too.
Story and photos by Ryan Clark
FANNING, Mo. – I’d just stopped by a Route 66 outpost store – you see them along the way if you’re driving west on Interstate 44 – and I needed a drink. Nothing stiff – I don’t roll that way – but I needed something cold. I pulled in to a gravel lot, and to my left I noticed the world’s largest rocking chair. It had to be the largest – it said so right on the front of it in big, bold letters. To my right, on a porch outside the country store, an older couple sat in much more normal sized furniture, sipping what looked like icy sodas.
There was a dry, summer heat in Missouri that day, but I opened the car door and noticed the wind had picked up. It felt to me like a storm could be brewing. I nodded to the older couple and walked into the shop. There were T-shirts and knickknacks and snacks – think Cracker Barrel without the food. A pretty blonde woman looked up from behind a counter and smiled.
“Hi there – what would you like?” she asked.
“Well,” I looked over an array of drinks. “What do you recommend for someone thirsty?”
She nodded: “You need the Route 66 Beer.” She smiled again and lowered her voice. “It’s really just regular root beer.”
“Done,” I said, grabbing one and heading for the counter. “Feels like a storm’s coming. Have you heard a weather report?”
“Let me check,” she said, making my change. She turned around to scan a small television. “Oh – it looks good,” she said. “Don’t worry – all the bad weather looks to be south of us.”
I smiled. “South is where I’m heading. Taking Route 66 all the way to Amarillo. Then going to Roswell for the UFO Festival.” I took a swig of the drink. It was good.
“Oh,” she said, face turning more stern. “Well then, I hope you have fun, but it looks like you’re in for a bumpy ride.”
She was right. I didn’t know it then, but she was right.
I took another swig and walked out the door.
It was one of the few normal interactions in what would become a series of strange encounters with the beings of Earth…