Kini & Kimi and Bob & Amy set off for their 2008 summer vacation for a four point trip -
Albuquerque, Roswell, and Santa Fe (all in New Mexico) and Captiva, Florida.
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on this trip!
Because of their young age, K&K's two babies stayed home with Melissa. (Thanks!)

The first flight out took everyone to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we spent the night to get an early start on the first leg of our vacation.

We picked up "Brutus" (our Big Bad Car with a sun roof) and started our road trip to Roswell. K&K Loved the car! They crawled all over it - inside and out. On the three hour trip south, we could see the road through the flat desert sands for up to about 10 miles ahead at a time. The speed limit was 75 mph, we had satellite radio, and saw probably 20 cars on the road the whole time. Very Cool!



Before we headed out of Albuquerque, we stopped at the Petroglyph National Monument and walked part way around the 1 1/2 mile long Rinconada Canyon Trail.

 There were hundreds of carved drawings created by the Pueblo Indians and some Spanish settlers later on. Most of the images are 400 to 700 years old, although some may be as old as 2,000 years.

Below and to the right is a close up of the petroglyphs Bob and K&K are standing by - a snake, two four-legged critters, and a spiral design.



On our walk there were a lot of millipedes cruising around in the desert. K&K decided to take a closer look. There were A LOT of little feet!! We explained to K&K that a millipede does not have a million feet. It sounds like that to us because we think that "milli" sounds like the word "million." But, in the metric system, "mil" means one thousand - so these critters have closer to one thousand feet than one million.
(Actually, they have closer to 750 feet.)

When we reached Roswell, our first stop was in the parking lot of WalMart. The building was painted with UFOs and alien heads - just had to get a picture of that! K&K found alien necklaces to wear - UFO gear!

The local newspaper was at the doorstep of our hotel room proclaiming the festivities were on! K&K were crawling all over it trying to figure out where to go first.

Looked like we were going to go to the opening ceremonies. Below, and to the left, is a shot of some of the people we met at the opening. To the right and below is a shot of William J. Birnes (the host of the UFO Hunters show on The History Channel & author of many UFO books), Amy & K&K, and Peter Robbins, a renowned author and speaker on the UFO phenomenon and cover-up theories.

Scroll down for a condensed version of the history of Roswell and the UFO crash/conspiracy.

Next we went to the UFO museum and after we took pictures of some of the displays
and sights we saw on the streets of Roswell.

An alien in a tank
How they might have been brought in after the crash

Integrating into society

The street lamps throughout town

R2D2 mailboxes everywhere
Original tourists of Roswell

Goddard's Tower
The plaque in front of Goddard's Tower
On our way back to Albuquerque we stopped at the UFO crash site. We learned that Roswell is in the middle of nowhere and was not always associated with UFOs - in the early 1880's it was a stopping point for Billy the Kid and the Apache Indians.

In the 1930's, Robert H. Goddard (known as the "Father of Modern Rocketry"), worked in Roswell with the likes of Charles Lindburg and Harry Gugenheim.

The stories of Roswell vary, but the main theme remains the same ... as the brochure says,
"July 6, 1947 - it was a day that forever changed Roswell, the world, and maybe even the galaxy."

A local rancher saw an object crash in a canyon on his land and notified the authorities. The government officials first reported that they had discovered a "flying disk" at the crash site. After the Army and other "official officials" arrived, the story was reported as a "weather balloon" that had taken a wrong course and went down at (or near) the crash site.

It is important to understand that the Roswell crash site is different from "Hanger 84" where the debris and alien bodies were transported after the crash of 1947. And very different from "Area 51" in Nevada where, it is said, the UFO technology (ships to bodies) were taken for study - including trying to "reverse engineer" their technology.


The little sign to the crash site
The arrow on the left is where the UFO crashed into the hillside - the arrow on the right is where the ship bounced off the first area and came to rest

Bob wanted to see a jack rabbit - here it is with its big ears and long hind legs

Dad is in the red shirt watching Rachel polish the car. Jen is in the background with the red, white, and blue pants.
  Bob & Amy and K&K drove from Roswell to Santa Fe where Amy's father lives to join him for the big 4th of July celebration.

It was a family reunion too. The three kids (Cooper, Amy, and Jennifer), their families (Jessica - Coop's wife, Nathan and Rachel - Coop's kids; Scott - Jen's husband; and of course Bob), and Dad's sister, Doris, her husband King, and grandchild, Amber, were there too.

MaryAnne, Dad's wife, was an awesome hostess for all of us!

Dad took his Model A Ford he restored to the antique car show. Rachel and Nathan, spent a lot of time entertaining themselves polishing the car after people left their fingerprints on it!

The three kids and Dad
(K&K are there too, but hard to see)
Nathan & Rachel in Dad's Model A

Bob & Amy and K&K get their turn behind the wheel
Dad, Cooper, and Rachel head home from the show

Jenny, Cooper, and Amy - Salud!
The three kids have a chat while Dad talks to the others

Scott gave Dad and King neckties
made from recycled tires!
Jenny and Mica

Cooper, Jessica, and Doris
Dad, MaryAnne, and King enjoy the family get together

Family just catching up - Dad & MaryAnne bought a cake with the picture of Bob and Amy's wedding announcement on the top. B&A celebrated their 25th anniversary this week.
We went to San Miguel Church to ring the bell

"If you ring the bell at San Miguel, you will return to Santa Fe." Children are encouraged to ring it as loud and as often as they can!

Amy shows Rachel how to light a candle in prayer for loved ones past and present. As always, Bob & Amy and K&K lit a candle in every church they visited. 

  Bob & Amy and K&K decided to visit the Loretto Chapel that has the "Miraculous Stairway" which had been featured on multiple TV shows, including Unexplained Mysteries.

The stairs were built with no external supports and made two full 360 degree rotations. Later rails were added for the nuns' safety. The full story - the lore and modern explanation is accessible at

Although we tend toward believing the nun's story (the world needs faith), it is up to the reader to decide if he or she believes in the miraculous rendition of the story or the current, but very left-brained version.

The staircase today
A rendition of the original staircase -
both beautiful and scary to climb
Later, we all toured the Indian museums on "Museum Hill" in Santa Fe.

Dad and Rachel do some weaving at the museum
Scott celebrates life and love with an Indian sculpture

The whole clan - a shot of a lifetime
Bob & Amy and K&K are off to their last leg of their vacation - Captiva and Sanibel, Florida.
The tears flowed as they left.
On our way to the airport, we saw a beautiful storm passing through miles away on the horizon



  The first morning we were on Captiva Island, we went shelling. That evening Bob decided to clean some of the shells we found. It takes a long time to rinse each shell and lay it out to dry.

Amy's mom loves the beach, so we decided to bring it back to her. We brought all our shells - with their sand and in their baggies - to Melissa to clean. She loved it. 

When we heard that our hotel, Tween Waters, had a NASCRAB race, we just had to go check it out. Little hermit crabs get a racing number written on their shell and put in a bucket. People pay five dollars to pick a crab out of the bucket. Half the money goes to charity and the other half is divided by the winners. To win, your crab has to cross the outer circle on the table. The people seated at the table have to stay very still during the race. Any sudden movement may scare a crab, causing it to curl up in his shell and stop racing.

Kazoos were handed out to encourage the crabs prior to setting them free to run. Bob loved that ... for days afterwards. Our crab won one of the first races and got to race in the final heat. Unfortunately, he didn't win that one.


When any crab crosses the outer ring in front of you, the announcer tells you to cover the crab up and yells out what its place number is.
Kimi blowing the kazoo

After the races, K&K found themselves being followed by the crabs. It was a bit scary for them.

  The next day we all decided to go on a shelling cruise with Captiva Cruises. They have a big pontoon boat that takes half an hour to motor to the island of Cayo Costa. We were delighted to see that our captain would be
Captain Brian Holaway
(his webpage is @

Brian was our captain when we went to Florida to shoot pictures for the Martha Stewart Living magazine (search Amy Ramsey). Brian is an expert in navigating these waters. He is also very knowledgeable about the shells, birds, fish, fauna, history, and Indian lore in this area in Florida.

Brian & Amy catching up
Brian and K&K on Cayo Costa shooting pictures for the magazine articles.

We got to visit some land that a friend owns on Cayo Costa
K&K took a break and sat in the shade on a picnic table

The day we went shelling the sea grass was heavy and piling up on the beach. Needless to say, we didn't find as many shells as we had hoped.
This is how the beach looked for the Martha Stewart shoot. Jake was the photographer. Amy is in blue way down the beach.

K&K relax on covered lounge chairs and the Mexican hats Dad & MaryAnne gave to Bob and Amy
K&K found an area that had been roped off. When they investigated, they found out that it was a sea turtle nest. Baby sea turtles will wander toward light when they hatch, so the city puts up black blinds to block the street and hotel lights.

In the fading light Bob is gathering the last shells on our trip
Amy and K&K head back to the room

We said good-bye to Captiva and headed home. A great vacation, and, as always, a big thank you to Melissa for keeping our pekinese, Tai Chi, and K&K's two youngins.
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