Category Archives: USA

America, a.k.a. The United States (of) is a republic in the Northwestern hemisphere of the Planet Earth, that comprises of 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the North Pacific. It is bordered to the East by the Atlantic Ocean, to the West by the Pacific Ocean, Canada to the North, and Mexico to the south. There are an estimated 267,954,767 citizens of this country that expands an massive land expanse in the conterminous states consisting of 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with Alaska and Hawaii, 3,615,122 sq. mi. (9,363,166 sq. km). The Capital of the U.S.A. is Washington, D.C. which pretty much composes the entire District of Columbia. “The United States” as it is called, was colonized by a plethera of Europeans from Spain, The Netherlands, France, and Great Britain, that took the land from the Aboriginal inhabitants (often referred to as “Native Americans”), starting in the 16th century and gaining their independence in 1776. Climate: mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida and arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Terrain: vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska;
rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii. Obtained from, and more references, statistics, and information can be found at Leaf McGowan’s Virtual Tourist Page …. Travelling abroad, Living as an Expat, Visit

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

~ Carlsbad, New Mexico USA ~

One of my favorite parks, Carlsbad Caverns was like Disney World to me as a kid growing up in New Mexico. I certainly visited the caves as often as a Florida kid visits said theme park. As a “Rockhound” and Geology buff, I went there often on my own during high school, fascinated by the depths, the stalagtites, columns, and stalagmites. I still share the fascination at this world class cavern never bored on its fantastic features and creatures.

The Cavern is located about 18 miles southwest of Carlsbad in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Anyone viewing the cave can hike in through the natural entrance, or if hiking disabled can take the elevator down to the bottom via the visitor center. The main chamber of the cavern that is the most famous is called “The Big Room” which is 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high – as a large limestone chamber that is recorded as the fifth largest chamber in North America and the 28th largest in the world. There are over 119 caves and caverns in the park of which three are open to the public for tours but the main large show cave is the prime attraction. Slaughter Canyon Cave, New Cave, and Spider Cave are undeveloped with guided adventure caving tours available by reservation. Lechuguilla Cave has a prestine underground environment with delicate speleotems that once was used by guano miners. There have been over 120 miles of cave passages mapped and explored to a depth of 1600 feet.

The caverns were created roughly 250 million years before present when the area was once a coastline for an inland sea. At this time, there was a major reef called the Capitan Reef abundant with corals, sea creatures, and life. There are fossil records of Permian life including bryozoans, sponges, and other micro-organisms. Once the Permian period came and disappeared, most of the water evaporated leaving the reef buried in evaporites, sediments, and sands. There was great Tectonic action during the late Cenozoic which pushed the reef above ground, then it was hit by erosion, which sculpted the Guadalupe Mountains to how they are today.

As the water drained through the bed of limestone it was within the groundwater zone. The petroleum rserves were far beneath the limestones, and during the end of the Cenozoic, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) seeped upwards from the petroleum into the groundwater, combining with oxygen from the groundwater created sulfuric acid which continued upward dissolving the limestone deposits in its path creating caverns. The gypsum in the cave was the bbyproduct of this process when the sulphuric acid combine with the limestone. As the acidic groundwater drained from the caverns, speleothems deposited within the caverns and exposure to the influx of air into the cavern helped carve the caves we see today. As rain water and snow melt entered the cavern, it picked up carbon dioxide and as it reached the cavern ceiling precipitated and evaporated leaving calcium carbonate deposits that would grow dow from the roof as stalagites, this would create stalagmites, columns, soda straws, draperies, helictites, and popcorn features.

The cavern was first discovered by Euro-Americans in 1898 when Jim White, a teenage at the time, made a homemade wire ladder to climb down within – discovering the magical world before him. He assigned names to many of the rooms and features such as the Big Room, Queens Chamber, Papoose Room, Green Lake Room, Kings Palace, and New Mexico Room for the chambers, and Witches Finger, Totem Pole, Temple of the Sun, Fairyland, Rock of Ages, Giant dome, Bottomless Pit, Iceberg Rock for various formations.

Tourists were taken down into the caverns well before 1932 by means of a switchback ramp down to 750 feet and it was in 1932 that the visitor center was opened including an elevator for visitors who wore out easy or had difficulties walking down into the depths. They also built a cafeteria down below, gift shop, and restrooms. Millions of visitors now visit the caverns annually. The Guadalupe Room was discovered in 1966. Additional chambers and rooms were discovered in 1985 when new exploration techniques were invented discovering the chambers known as the Spirit World and the Baloon Ballroom. In 1993 a series of new smaller passages were explored that took the explorers well over a mile further discovering additional rooms outside of the New Mexico Room and being catalogued as “Chocolate High”. The bottom was discovered to the Bottomless Pit at 140 feet deep. In October 2013, a new large chamber was found hundreds of feet aboe the main area of the Spirit World and called “Halloween Hall” at 100 feet diameter with more than 1,000 bat bones on the floor.

They built a bat flight seating area so visitors could watch the bats fly out of the cave each evening with programs included and explanations of what is happening. There are often morning programs as well so that visitors can see the bats return to the cave. Most of the cave’s inhabitants are the Mexican free tailed bats who fly out each evening from the natural entrance to the nearest water sources. There have been recorded over 17 different species of bats in the park. The populations were estimated in the millions but much of the population has declined in recent years due to the use of DDT in the local surroundings by farmers and ranchers.

A recreation area detached from the park called “Rattlesnake Springs” picnic area is a natural oasis as a wooded riparian area in the desert, home to over 300 species of birds. The area is developed with landscaping, wildlife habitats, and picnic tables for visitors.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Carlsbad, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

~ New Mexico USA ~

One of my high school tromping grounds, I often went to Carlsbad for visits to Carlsbad Caverns or Sitting Bull Falls. I probably visited the area as often as a Floridian kid visits Disney World. It is a small city in Eddy County New Mexico that is most famous for its Caverns. In 2010, the Census stated that it had a population of 26,138 residents. It is in the heart of southeastern New Mexico at the intersections of U.S. Routes 62/180 and 285. It is located at the eastern edge of the Guadalupe Mountains, the Lincoln National Forest to its northwest, and has the Pecos River running through it. It is in the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert eco-region in the lower Pecos River Valley.

Besides the caverns, Carlsbad is known for its salt mines, potash mining, petroleum, and tourism. It was originally developed based on agriculture, livestock, irrigation water, and healing mineral springs.

Historically Native Americans resided in the area, but were pushed out with immigrants from Engand, Switzerland, France, and Italy. It was formed as a town on September 15, 1888 and a municipal corporation in 1893 after Charles B. Eddy, co-owner of the Eddy-Bissell Livestock Company. There were commercialization of of local mineral springs near the flume that boasted medicinal properties so they named their town after the famous European spa town called Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic).

The re-discovery of Carlsbad Caverns, originally called “The Bat Cave” by cowboys in 1901 led to the establishment of Carlsbad Caverns National Park on May 14, 1930. In 1925 potash was discovered near Carlsbad and the region dominated the Aerican potash market for years. After the potash marked crashed in the 1960’s, residents of the area voted for the establishment of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) where low-level nuclear waste would be stored thousands of feet undergroun in salt beds. It was authorized by Congress in 1979 and construction completed in 1980 and first waste shipment arrived in 1999. Today Carlsbad is experiencing an oil and natural gas boom.

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Sitting Bull Falls (Carlsbad, New Mexico)

Sitting Bull Falls
~ Eddy County Rd 409, Lincoln National Forest, Carlsbad, New Mexico USA ~ ~

This amazing oasis in the middle of the desert outside of Carlsbad New Mexico is amongst my world’s favorite locations and cooling off zones. I grew up with the Cave and the pools from childhood, hanging out there with friends from high school, partying in the pools above, stealthily camping and cave exploring long before there were required permits and restrictive gates or access. It has changed quite a bit, but very much improved for recreation and protecting the natural resources on location. It is a day-use only site. The site has pavilions, picnic tables, water, and restrooms accessible. There are established hiking trails from the site. It is open from 8:30 am until 6 pm with a $5 per vehicle parking fee.

The site is a astonishing dream-like 150′ waterfall than pours over canyon walls with a stalactite/stalagmite filled cavern behind it, dumping down into crystal clear natural swimming pools beneath. It is one of a series of waterfalls found in this canyon lost within the Lincoln National Forest that are spring fed through a series of streams and pools until reaching its drop-off. Most of the river’s water disappears into cracks, gravel, and bedrock and reappears in springs further down the canyon eventually joining the Pecos Valley underwater aquifer.

The geology of the area is a remnant reef system known as the Capitan Great Barrier Reef dating from the Permian period around 250 million years ago when the region was the edge of an inland sea. The name of the falls has never been proven, but legend has it that the cave behind the falls was used by Sitting Bull to hide. The Apache called the area “gostahanagunti” meaning “hidden gulch”. In 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed number of stone buildings that are now part of the parking lot and picnic area. THere is a time capsule dated March 24, 1999 embedded into one of the buildings. The park was closed from APril 27, 2011 through April 6, 2012 after wildfires in the are destroyed the area making it unsafe.

There are numerous sacred pools above the falls which are great for swimming in. In order to explore the cave behind the waterfall or any of the other caves in the area, one needs proper equipment and obtain a permit.

The site is easy to get to, though quite a distance from Carlsbad so be ready for some bumpy dirt roads. Take US highway 285 north from Carlsbad, turn west on NM 137 for 20 miles to county road 409, turn right and continue to the site. Another turn-off is right across the highway from the turn-off to Bradford Lake State Park.

Another family’s video of caving in the cave:

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Roswell Country Club (Roswell, New Mexico)

Roswell Country Club
~ 2601 N. Urton Road, Roswell, New Mexico 88201 * 575-622-3410 * ~

I remember growing up with parents part of this social club – in the 1980’s it was seen as a status symbol and was a way to show off wealth (which my parents were wealthy). In my opinion it wasn’t a good life lesson to show off status or place in society, but that was the way it was back then (and maybe is now). My dad’s intent was probably more for using the golf course and to do business connections in the clubhouse with potential clients for his car dealership and real estate business. We kids of course loved fishing in the lake, swimming in the pool, and doing tennis, golf, and other sports with dad on the grounds. The membership fee in those days were steep and I imagine they are still today.

The club is located outside of Roswell just down the road from my old high school – Goddard. It was established and built in 1905 by members of the Roswell community who wanted to create recreational facilities for its members and families. It’s first officers were W.E. Wisely, E.A. Cahoon, and J.A. Graham – originally purchasing 50 acres from the Stone Estate and Cosmos Sedillo. They began construction of the Club House in 1906 under guidance of D.Y. Tomlinson and the 16 acre lake was stocked with black bass. More land was later added from John T. Stone, adding in a nine-hole golf course and swimming pool.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Sierra Middle School (Roswell, New Mexico)

Sierra Middle School
~ 615 S. Sycamore Ave, Roswell, New Mexico 88203 * (575) 627-2850 * ~

I could of sworn that when I attended Sierra Middle School, it was simply 7th and 8th grade. Now it is 6th through 8th grade. Apparently they have school uniforms now, I don’t remember than when attending. It was a gateway school to transition us from Elementary to High School. It is a public school operated by the Roswell Independent School District with a teacher/student ratio of 1:17. Minority enrollment is 78% of the student body. I fondly remember my class and community from Enchanted Hills. I wasn’t very active in P.E. (Physical Education) as I was asthmatic. I pursued the arts, sciences, and Band – continuing to play the Clarinet. I do remember alot of bullying taking place at the school and kids always picking fights with me, mainly ethnic based. It was not my favorite school in Roswell. I started dating in Middle School and began to learn what social cliches were. Just down the street from El Capitan Elementary School where I transferred from.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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El Capitan Elementary School (Roswell, New Mexico)

El Capitan Elementary School
~ 2807 W. Bland Street, Roswell, New Mexico 88203 * (575) 637-3400 * ~

I fondly remember my kindergarten that I attended from 4th grade through 6th grade. That was my memory, but apparetly the school only goes from Kindergarten to 5th grade and 6th grade moved to Middle School? Unsure. According to the web site for the school, El Capitan has on average about 424 students today with 18 students per one teacher. Minority enrollment is 72% of the student body and is operated by the Roswell Independent School District.

The school has vastly increase in size, buildings, and footage so much it was essentially unrecognizable when I drove by it. I would have attended from around 1978-1980 I’m guessing when I transferred from Waverley Elementary and Holy Family Church School in New Rochelle, New York. It took a bit to fit in, but once I did I felt at home. I performed magic shows for the school assemblies, and had fun with the science fairs. As an asthmatic, I didn’t participate much in P.E. (Physical Education) but delved into band playing clarinet and science club.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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My original grade school – El Capitan Elementary School (; Exploring Roswell, NM ( Rebirth of the Bard and Ovate: Chronicle 27 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in New Mexico. Photos taken June 26, 2018. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2018. – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. More info about Colorado Springs:

Down the street from Sierra Middle School

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Alien Zone (Roswell, NM)

Alien Zone – Area 51
~ 216 Main Street, Roswell, New Mexico 88201 * (575) 627-6982 * ~

I’ve ventured into this shop and funhouse on a few occasions during my re-visits to Roswell. It was founded by Randy J. (local Pastor and commercial artist) and Elsie E. Reeves in July 1997 as a gift shop then into an amusement fun alien attraction. The company produces its own line of t-shirt designs that are created by local artists, offer alien gags, gifts, and novelties as well. They have fun displays, dioramas, and setups for picture opps as well as space for parties to be held. There is a space jungle gym, game room, and an area to have a picnic in the old cafe (no longer in operation). Definitely fun for kids, but a little run down for adults. There is an upside-down room, crashed saucer the kids can crawl into, alien at a BBQ, alien in jail, alien autopsy, and an alien in an outhouse. The shop and play zone is connected to their second shop they opened in 2000 and closed in 2008 called Hanger 84. It was salvaged and added to Area 51 through a small tunnel with a darker view of extraterrestials with interrogation chambers, a cage with rats gnawing on alien bones, and a miniature “City of the Future” model of a sci-fi future Roswell.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Blue Hole (Santa Rosa, NM)

Blue Hole
~ Santa Rosa, New Mexico
~ ~

In the middle of the New Mexican northeastern desert is a aqua dark blue oasis called the “Blue Hole”. It was also once called “Blue Lake” or “Aqua Negra Chiquita” as one of the seven sister lakes connected underground by a vast network of water sources that gives Santa Rosa its reputation of being a city of natural lakes. These are all part of the Santa Rosa sink – a popular watering hole, recreation spot, and tourism along historic Route 66 and old settlement days. The Sink became a National fish hatchery in 1932 and by the 1970’s became a Recreation Area and morphed into the Blue Hole Dive and Conference Center. It is a source of clear pure water that is a treasured natural resource – with 100′ visibility as the water continually renews itself ever six hours with a constant 62 degrees Fahrenheit and a constant inflow of over 3,000 gallons per minute. The surface is 80′ wide and expands to 130 feet diameter at the bottom. A circular bell shaped pool that is a spring and a sinkhole in one. As Santa Rosa is at a elevation of 4,616 feet above sea level, divers training in the Blue Hole have to use high-altitude dive tables to computer their profile and decompression stops while diving. Swimmers, cliff jumpers, and bathers enter above for free with sometimes no lifequards present.

The Blue Hole has claimed many lives which has forced the City to place a grate over the cave entrance at the bottom for safety. Even when they have opened the grate for expert divers to go in and map the caves, death was often the end result. March 26, 2016 – 43 year old expert California cave diver Shane Thompson became trapped and drowned while exploring the passageways. According to the Albuerqueque Journal in March 1976 two divers within a group of 10 university students were diving together and 21 year old David Gregg and 22 year old Mike Godard didn’t resurface and lost their lives in the caves. After multiple rescue dives, their bodies recovered. In 1979 it happened again, two other divers got lost and died in the caves, bodies recovered after multiple dives. This led to the closing of the entrance. There is a 1960’s-1970’s urban legend of another diver who got lost, and his body never recovered in the Blue Hole. Legend states his body was found naked and scraped up in Lake Michigan that somehow the Blue Hole and Lake Michigan was connected via underground caves and tunnels. However since all the other bodies were quickly recovered and scientists state its impossible for the tunnels to connect to the Great Lakes not only because of geology but a need for a continuous rock stratum to support such caves. There is also the impassible hydrological barrier of the Mississippi River that acts as a giant collection system not only moving surface water to the Ocean, but subsurface water to. The body would have to swim upstream to get to the Great Lakes.

Map of Blue Hole:

Additional Reading:

  • According to Leanne 2012 “Diver deaths spawn rumors of underground waterway” website referenced 7/11/18 at
  • NY Daily News u.d. “Expert diver died after getting trapped overnight navigating the dangerous Blue Hole caverns in New Mexico: ‘Everything went terribly wrong’ website refereced on 7/11/18 at

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions, visited 6/26/2018. ~

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Santa Rosa, NM

Santa Rosa, New Mexico

The City of Natural Lakes in Guadalupe County, New Mexico – this city is a Route 66 tourist destination, especially for it’s Blue Hole and recreational activities. It is a relatively small town, with approximately 2,848 residents according to the 2010 Census. It is located at the intersection of I-40, Route 54, and U.S. Route 84 in between Albuquerque and Tucumcari along the Pecos River. In the Northeastern part of the state, the city is west of the staked planes of Eastern New Mexico and west Texas.

The first Euro-American settlement was “Little Black Water” or Aqua Negra Chiquita in 1865 and later changed in 1890 to Santa Rosa after the chapel that Don Celso Baca the city’s founder built and named after Saint Rose o Lima and his mother Rosa. The name also may refer to the roses in the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Catholicism of the Spanish colonizers who settled here. The area became pouplar in 1902 with the building of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad went through there and the Northeastern Railway from the southwest. The east-west highway through town was Highway 66 in 1926 making it a popular rest stop with motels and cafes. The city was a scene in John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath” and the movie filmed by John Ford for the infamous train scene as well as shooting scenes for Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw.

Santa Rosa has numerous natural lakes which is odd for the dry desert climate making it an oasis of sorts. Numerous sinkholes have formed in the limestone bedrock of the area and filled with water all connected by a network of underground water filled tunnels making it a popular cave diving and scuba training location. The most famous of the sinkholes is the “Blue Hole” which stays cool year round at 61 °F (16 °C) water forms a lake over 81 feet (25 m) deep.

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The German Iron Cross of Roswell

Iron Cross at Spring River
~ North bank, Spring River, Roswell, New Mexico ~

Embedded in the North bank of the Spring River by the Roswell Spring Hill Zoo is a heritage landmark that was created by German prisoners of War who were working on a flood control project that was part of their incarceration. It was in 1943 that a 50 man detail rip-rapped rocks on the Spring River banks. It was on the north bank between Pennsylvania and Kentucky Avenue that they made an “Iron Cross” on the bank. These men were prisoners of war imprisoned during World War II in a camp near Orchard Park. The camp housed more than 4800 German prisoners of war from the Afrikacorps Rommel’s men of the 8th army from 1942-1946. There were numerous residents in Roswell who were angered at this work and retaliated by pouring five yards of concrete over their landmark. The concrete over time washed away and it is said to be visible again.

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Motel 6 – Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell’s Motel 6
~ 3307 N Main St, Roswell, New Mexico 88201
Phone: (575) 625-6666 ~

Motel 6, the standard cost-rating hotel for an area – in which that you can tell what the affordable going rate is in a city by the price broadcast on the outside of the motel by their sign. However Roswell’s Motel 6 is much more grandiose than most Motel 6’s in that it is not a motel, but actually a hotel with an indoor pool and hot tub. Elevator to your room with luggage carts available. It was quite nice treat. Budget pricing still its icon, but free internet unlike the pay additional fee that other Motel 6’s in the country seem to use. It’s only 3 miles from the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Great flat screen tvs with expanded cable, free WiFi, Kids 17 and under free with adult. Coin laundry, free coffee in the morning, and plenty of parking (for cars and trucks). They even let me unhook my trailer and leave it while i did sightseeing even when i wasn’t checked in yet, and after i had checked out. That was super nice. Microwave, fridge, and kitchens in some rooms. We had a great stay.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Visited 6/26-27, 2018. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Roswell’s Alien Craze


That Crazy Alien City – Roswell
~ Roswell, New Mexico ~

My family moved to Roswell, New Mexico in 1973-1974 from New Rochelle, New York. I began grade school at El Capitan Elementary School then progressed to Sierra Middle School, and on to Goddard High School before moving off in 1986 to Florida attending college at Florida State University. That whole period of 1973-1986, there was no hype about the rumored UFO crash, alien autopsies, or space visitors albeit a running urban legend. The city was a progressive agriculture town, with a former military Cold War base and missile silos towards exits outside of each direction from the city. Roswell was known as the “All American City”. There were legends and tales about the UFO crash but that was about it. One of my dad’s friends, Mr. Bentley spoke about his abduction and proudly showed scars the aliens left on his stomach. He was a crazed inventor that my dad invested with. As a kid I was obsessed with the belief of Faeries, UFO’s, Ancient Egypt, and magic. I had a blue scrapbook I made of UFO sightings, crashes, and strange phenomena. There was very little in that book about Roswell. “The Incident” wasn’t talked about much. I remember even trying alternative science experiments for the science fair at El Capitan and such “bizarre” theory based subject matter was severely frowned upon. So I moved on and advanced with real science. I’m sure the science fairs in Roswell accept pseudo-science topics now.

The hype is all based on an event on June 14, 1947 where an un-identified object crash landed outside of Roswell. The rancher who owned the land W.W. “Mac” Brazel and his son Vernon called it “a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, and rather tough paper, and sticks.” They brought the wreckage into town to the local sheriff George Wilcox. Insiders claimed it was a UFO with alien bodies. This theory was quickly leaked to the Press and published. Others, including the military, later claimed it was a high altitude weather balloon that fell from the sky. Ex-military representatives however cried otherwise, leading to many conspiracy theories. The Sheriff contacted Colonel “Butch” Blanchard, commander of the Roswell Army Airfield’s 509th Composite Group. The Colonel was stymied and contacted his superior General Roger W. Ramey, commander of the 8th Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas. Intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel was sent to investigate and collected all of the wreckage, trying to figure out what the materials were, and Marcel made a public statement claiming that it was a Flying Saucer. The local newspaper sensationalized it letting the public know that “The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment Group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into the possession of a Flying Saucer.” It was after-all at the close of World War II and sensationalism about anything from space was popular news. The U.S. at this time had sent V2 rockets with payloads of corn seeds and fruit flies into outer space, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had the “Doomsday Clock” ticking, and UFO’s were the rage in popular culture.

The military said it was a Mogul Experimental weather balloon that crashed. The 1948 government report “The Roswell Incident” was published and utilized by the Variety reporter Frank Scully who wrote “Behind the Flying Saucers” – a book that detailed alien encounters from the Pacific Northwest, Aztec – Farmington – and Roswell, New Mexico, and how aliens were now said to be landing their air craft in people’s backyards. World enthusiasm about the phenomena was global and widespread. Some claimed the Air Force propagated the lies to distract people from monitoring its nuclear weapons development, while others claimed the government was covering up the fact they had space craft and aliens in their possession.

Project Mogul was a secretive project, out of Washington DC being operated at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico launching high-altitude balloons in the area – these balloons would reach high altitudes and were 657 feet long from tip to tail, 102 feet taller than the Washington Monument and twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty – they would enter the upper jet stream toward Russia with a long tail equipped with different types of sensing and listening devices trailing behind it. This is the government’s explanation of the wreckage.

There was the radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” that shook America. Hollywood produced many movies and television shows taking advantage of the enthusiasm, such as Close Encounters of the Third kind, E.T., and Star Wars. Everyone wanted to “believe” we were not alone. Rumors exploded across the countryside, every U.S. military base that had a cloak of secrecy over it (and even some that didn’t) was suspected of housing crashed space ships and aliens. Enter in “Area 51” – a secret air strip in Nevada that rumors were created stating the aliens recovered in Roswell were kept there with their ship. The U.S. Government didn’t help dismiss the rumors, as they just placed large “No Trespassing” and “Use of Deadly Force Authorized” outside the areas.

By the 1990’s there was a notable industry built up around the belief in aliens, UFO’s, and extra-terrestrial existence. With this came books, movies, films, broadcasts, memorabilia, gadgets, toys, posters, and stuffed alien dolls. It was around this time that the International UFO Museum and Research Center decided to make its home in Roswell. I left in 1986 upon graduation, it was soon after they arrived.

Years later the craze infected the city and the old downtown city theater we used to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show was sold and altered into a UFO museum. It was strange to see such a historical landmark as that theater to disappear into space. Then I hear UFO festivals brought millions in tourism to the town, every other fading downtown store front turned into a UFO and alien gift shop, maze, or themed eatery. The city’s lamp posts were topped with alien heads. Every store eventually had their own alien statue sitting out in front of it or had alien heads somewhere on their signs, glass windows, or billboards. The local McDonalds built their play area to be shaped like a giant spaceship. Even the local Walmart added aliens to their frontage. It was nuts. North of the city off Highway 285, the crash site was identified, and a large sign erected to identify its location. New Mexico State University conducted an excavation there to investigate what happened and if any evidence still remained. The crash site now is unmarked with the sign removed, some say “no trespassing” signs exist on site, although my June 2018 visit to the site just had an un-marked skeletal frame that once listed the incident location. Oddly the Roswell UFO Crash Site is just 1/4 mile south of one of the Roswell Missile Silos.

The hype definitely brings tourism to Roswell. Residents love and hate this. For a brief moment of time there was an anti-alien organization camped out in a storefront across the street from the Roswell UFO Museum. They promoted their mission with stickers of alien heads with the “no” symbol crossed over it. They were responsible for much of the vandalism of the crash site sign, as they left the stickers with their damage on location. They no longer exist at least on Main street. If they are still in operation today I have no idea.

The landing of the UFO enthusiasts certainly changed the city. For the good or the bad, no one really knows – but certainly has placed Roswell as a popular tourist destination and hot spot. Of course the hype is not constrained to “Roswell” alone … According to the Public Policy Polling Survey around 12 million people in the United States believe that interstellar lizards in people suits rule our country. Around 66 million Americans believe that aliens landed at Roswell, New Mexico; and around 22 million people believe that the government faked the moon landing.

~ Article by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Brantley Lake State Park (Carlsbad, New Mexico)

Brantley Lake State Park
~ 33 West Brantley Lake Road, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220 USA * (575) 457-2384 * ~

Just 12 miles north of the city of Carlsbad, New Mexico is a large 4,000 acre lake and dam called Brantley Lake. The State Park around its edges hosts a day use area, boat ramp, picnicking tables, rest rooms, playground, grills, and campground. The campground has 51 developed campsites with electricity, water, shower facilities, playground, visitor center, and other amenities. Brantley Lake is a man-made reservoir formed when Brantley Dam was erected across the Pecos River in the 1980’s. It is the southernmost lake in New Mexico and is very popular picnicking, camping, fishing, boating, and water recreation site. The lake is stocked with white bass, bass, walleye, catfish, bluegill, carp and crappie. As of 2018 the State Parks Department does not recommend eating fish from the lake for there was detected high levels of DDT in the fish tested. The campground and day use site can e reached via U.S. 295 by going northeast 4.5 miles down Eddy County Road 30.

We visited in June of 2018. The sites were great though a fire ban prevented use of campfires and grills. High winds nearly broke our 10 x 10 shade structure, so make sure to tie down well. From the campground we had hoped the Lake Loop would take us down to the Lake’s shore, but it didn’t. It was an interesting walk none-the-less. Playground was great, my son had a blast there. At the point of our visit the campground hosts were state troopers so we definitely felt safe.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 6/25-6/26/2018. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Goddard High School (Roswell, New Mexico)

Goddard High School
~ 701 East Country Club Road, Roswell, New Mexico 88201 * ~

The memories of attending High School in the small town of Roswell, New Mexico sparked thoughts of the good, the bad, and the ugly moments growing up. There were two main public high schools, Goddard High and Roswell High. They of course, like most cities, have rivalry battles between the two schools, usually centered around football. Just down the street from the Roswell Country Club there were definitely class differences bounded by various social groups at the school. I transitioned here from Sierra Middle School which had a similar structure, social groupings, flow and base.

I loved my high school – I was very enthusiastic with Dr. Massey’s Introduction to Anthropology, Ski Club, French Club, French class, computer science, biology, natural sciences, and the whole lot. I fondly remember ski trips and my French club’s trip to Quebec. I remember performing magic shows in the auditorium as a fundraiser for the trips. I loved most of the classed, but I however did not like Math. But who does, really? I embraced the sciences, dove into skiing, bicycling, and French, played clarinet in the High School band. I never cared for the team sports like basketball or football. This isolated me a bit. But I was one of the Enchanted Hills kids who flowed between various social groups between the jocks, the nerds, and the outcasts so my aversion to P.E. (Physical Education) was okay. I was friend to most, and enemy to less than I could count on a hand – and those usually centered around dating games, girls, and jealous ex-boyfriends.

As memory served, the school did its job and was successful at least with me, as I had great teachers and curriculum. If I remember right, the school was even appropriate with Sex Education even though controversial at the time. Back in the 80’s, encouraged by movies like War Games, it was a stepping stone to learning hacking, as the school’s protocols were simplified with passwords written on post-it notes in desk drawers. As the internet was only being invented when I was in school, if you mastered DOS and bulletin board systems you found your way around their systems. The school didn’t have to really worry about security in the 80’s. They were advanced with training computing which was spectacular. We didn’t have the problems schools have now. But that changed towards the end of 1986 graduation, as I do remember school security constantly evolving and locking down. They of course in the 80’s were mainly concerned with truancy rather than drugs, guns, and bullying like today. I belonged to the Class of 1986. It was a fond mile marker in my life. School Proms, assemblies, and activities were actually favorable memories though maybe not so much at the time. School crushes. Learning flirtation, dating, and making out under the bleachers. The All American high school experiences were definitely part of my history. Ever so true were the high school parties and activities we had resembling films like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Better Off Dead. I had a John Hughes themed four years at Goddard. I dove into New Wave, 80’s, and pre-Gothic music as my inspiration. We were adventurous and knew how to have fun. Parties in the Missle Silos, repelling into caves in the desert, treks to Sitting Bull Falls, Carlsbad Caverns, and skiing in Riodoso. The fond memories of the Gotcha team as we played T.A.G. on campus with toy guns with plunger bullets and not having to worry about security freaking out. Those were the days.

Robert H. Goddard High School was named after Robert Hutchings Goddard, the rocket pioneer that Roswell was infamous for (before the alien craze of course). The school was founded in 1965, only three years before I was born. The school is one of the major facets of the Roswell Independent School District. They boast the rocket as their mascot, with Columbia blue and white as the school colors. Most of the classrooms are underground as the school was built as a bomb shelter in case of nuclear war. The cafeteria, auditorium, and other larger assembly rooms were built on ground level. Since I attended, the school has massively expanded, with a large swimming pool I believe as an addition. I have not re-wandered the halls, so unsure of the current mutation. The classes embraced 9th through 12th grade. 2010 ethnicity composition was 60% white, 37% Hispanic, 2% African American, and 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native/Pacific Islander according to Wikipedia.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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State of New Mexico, USA

New Mexico, United States of America

New Mexico (Spanish: Nuevo Mexico [?nwe?o ?mexiko]; Navajo: Yoot Hahoodzo [jo:t haho:dzo]) is a state located in the southwestern and western regions of the United States, admitted to the union as the 47th state in 1912. It is usually considered one of the Mountain States. New Mexico is the 5th most extensive, the 36th most populous, and the 6th least densely populated of the 50 United States.

New Mexico encompasses over 121,400 square miles with its eastern border at the 103 W longitude to the state of Oklahoma and 3 miles west of the longitude and its southern border with Texas and the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Sonora to its south. New Mexico shares its western Border with Arizona and shares Four Corners with Arizona, Utah, and Colorado in the upper Northwest. Colorado is New Mexico’s Northern Neighbor. The State lacks in water hosting around 250 square miles of surface water. The landscape is varied from deserts to forests, mesas to snow-peaked mountains, gully’s and canyons to caves and mines. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains offers the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains Range. The Rio Grande, Pecos, Canadian, San Juan, and Gila are the most important rivers running through the state.

New Mexico’s climate could be described as semi-arid or arid even though there are areas with continental and alpine climates. New Mexico is actually mainly covered by mountains, deserts, and the high plains. In the Eastern part of the state, you can find the high plains of the Great Plains where it is similar to the Colorado high plains in Eastern Colorado. Both Colorado and New Mexico share similar terrain of mountains, basins, mesas, plains, and desert lands. New Mexico gets an annual average precipitation of 13.9 inches a year with average annual temperatures from 64 Fahrenheit in the Southeast to below 40 degrees in the northern mountains. Summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit at elevations under 5,000 feet above sea level.

The bio-diversity of New Mexico is extreme with extensive habitats for a variety of species – plants, animals, and insects. Botany varies from mesquite, cactus, yucca, desert grasses, Creosote bush, black gramma, purple three-awn, tobosa, burrograss, ponderosa pine, aspen, cottonwood, spruce, fir, scrub oak, Russian olive, and much more. Fauna has a wide range including black bears, cougars, jaguars, coyotes, porcupines, skunks, Mexican grey wolves, deer, elk, plains Bison, collared peccary, bighorn sheep, squirrels, chipmunks, pronghorn, western diamondback, rodents, reptiles, birds, jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, prairie dogs, antelope, and many others.

New Mexico was first inhabited by indigenous peoples for many centuries before Euro-Americans moved in or even saw exploration. New Mexico first belonged to the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. It became part of Mexico before it became a U.S. territory and then state. New Mexico has the highest population of hispanics in the United States including descendants from Spanish colonists who lived in the area for over 400 years. New Mexico also has the second highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska, and the fourth highest total of Native Americans after California, Arizona, and Oklahoma. The existing Native Populations consist mostly of Navajo, Puebloan, and Apache peoples. New Mexico’s imagery, state colors, and flag are influenced with the scarlet and gold colors from the royal standards of Spain and the ancient sun symbol of the Pueblo’s “Zia”.

New Mexico or “Nuevo Mexico” is mistakenly believed to have taken its name from “Mexico”, which is not the case. The area was given the name “New Mexico” in 1563 and again in 1581 by the Spanish Explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Indian cultures similar to those of the Aztec “Mexica” Empire. “Mexico” as part of New Spain, adopted its name centuries later in 1821 after gaining independence from Spanish rule. New Mexico was only part of the independent federal republic of Mexico for 12 years from 1836 to 1848.

The first human cultures were Paleo-Indians, starting with the Clovis culture followed by Mogollon and Ancestral Pueblo. Euro-Americans came in the 16th century and encountered villages built by the Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and Ute. From 1540-1542, the Spanish Explorer Francisco vasquez de Coronado set through New Mexico with a jassive exxpedition looking for the mystical seven golden Cities of Cibola as described by Fray Marcos de Niza. The name Nuevo Mexico came from gold miners led by leader named Francisco de Ibarra exploring far to the north of Mexico in 1563 stating his findings as being in “a New Mexico”. Santa Fe was established at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains the southern end of the Rocky Mountains around 1608. Much of Santa Fe and settlements around the state were abandoned from 1680-1692 by the Spanish after the Pueblo revolt. Once the Pueblo leader leading the revolt died, Diego de Vargas restored the area back to Spanish rule Returning settlers founded Albuerqueque in 1706. As it was “New Spain” at the time, claims of the State were often covered by independent Mexico in 1821 followed by the Mexica War of Independence. In 1836 the Republic of Texas claimed portions east of the Rio Grande after it seceded from Mexico in 1836. Most of the northeastern part of the state was owned by France and sold to the U.S. during the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

From 1846-1848 the region was thrown into the Mexican-American War, and in 1848 Mexico and America made the Treaty of Guadalupe with Mexico ceding its northern holdings of the American Southwest including New Mexico and California to the U.S. Texas also ceded its claims to the area east of the Rio Grande in exchange for 10 million dollars, so the U.S. established the Territory of New Mexico on September 9, 1850 including most of present-day Arizona and New Mexico, and part of Colorado. This compromise created the current boundary between New Mexico and Texas. Historically New Mexico had a role in the American Civil War, as part of the Trans-Missisippi Theater where the Confederate and Union governments claimed territorial rights over the New Mexican territory. The Confederacy claimed the souther tract as part of the Arizona Territory in 1861 waging an ambitious campaign to control the American Southwest and open access to Union California, but this was broken after the Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. They continued to operate from Texas marching under the Arizona flag until the end of the war. Over 8,000 troops served the Union from New Mexico.

(not a complete list, just places we’ve covered so far, work in progress)

Cities, Towns, Villages:

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Santa Rosa, NM
  • Taos, New Mexico

    Natural Areas:

  • Bottomless Lakes State Park
  • Cimarron Canyon, New Mexico
  • Bradford Lake State Park
  • Rio Grande Gorge and Bridge, New Mexico
  • Sitting Bull Falls
  • Tourism:

    Sites of Interest:


    • Baurley, Thomas 2015 Alternative America: Travel Guide to the U.S.A. Technogypsie Publications, Riverside, California.
    • McGowan, Leaf 2015 Magical America. Technogypsie Publications, Riverside, California.
    • Wikipedia 2015 “New Mexico”. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/16/15.
    • Wikipedia 2015 “United States of America” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/16/15.

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    Estes Park, Colorado

    Driving along US 34 East from Loveland to Estes Park (near Drake, Co) (; New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken June 2, 2017. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2017 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

    Colorado, USA

    Accessed from Loveland by Highway 34, Estes Park is considered a gateway for the Rocky Mountains and most notably the Rocky Mountain National Park. Located in Larimer County, the Town of Estes Park is a statutory town that is a popular summer resort and vacation hot spot. The town lies along the Big Thompson River and boasts a population just over 5,800 inhabitants (2010 census). The famous landmarks are the Stanley Hote, Baldpate Inn, Lake Este, and Olympus Dam.

    Before the Europeans settled here, local tribes camped here – most notably the Arapaho Indians who lived here summers and called the valley “The Circle”. In the 1850s the Arapaho spent many summers camped around Mary’s Lake where their rock fire places, tipi rings, and dance rings can still be seen. They built eagle traps atop Long’s Peak in order to get war feathers. They established a buffalo trap here and used dogs to pack meat out of the valley. They also fought with the Apache here in the 1850’s and fought with the Ute when they hunted bighorn sheep here.

    Whites and Euro-Americans first came to the area in the 1850’s as trappers, then the gold/silver prospectors arrived. The town is named after Missouri native Joel Estes who founded the community here i 1859. He moved his family here in 1863. Griff Evans and his family settled here in 1867 and acted as caretakers for the former Estes ranch. They initiated the tourism trade, building cabins for travelers and built the first dude ranch acting as guides for fishing, hunting, and moutaineering. The famous Irish nobleman, politician, and journalist Lord Dunraven settled here as well in the 1920’s. Albert Bierstadt was commissioned by the Earl of Dunraven to make a painting of the Estes Park and Long Peak area in 1876 and was displayed in Dunraven Castle. The young Anglo-Irish peer the 4th Earl of Dunraven and Mount Earl came in 1872 with Texas Jack Omohundro and decided to take over the valley for his own private hunting preserve. His land grab didn’t work, but he controlled 6,000 acres before he changed tactics and opened the area’s first resort – the Estes Park Hotel which was destroyed in 1911 by a fire. In 1873 English woman Isabella Bird explored the area with Rocky Mountain Jim (James Nugent) and wrote a memoir of their travels, featuring the area including their breathtaking ascent of Long’s Peak. In 1974 Rocky Mountain Jim and his neighbor Griff Evans argued and became rivals fighting over doing tours for tourists of the area. The arguments escalated until Evans blasted Jim in the head with his rifle shot gun. Evans traveled to Fort Collins to file an assault charge against Nugent but was arrested for first degree murder, put on trial, but was dismissed due to lack of witnesses of the shooting. He was acquitted.

    ALex and Clara MacGregor arrived and homesteaded at the foot of Lumpy Ridge, building a ranch that is now a historic site. In 1874 they incorporated a company to build a toll froad from Lyons to Estes Park, which is now Highway 36 and was at the time the only road fit for pack horses. They used it to ring more visitors into Estes Park, some of which became residents building hotels and promoting tourism. Enos Mills in 1884 left Kansas and relocated to join family in Estes Park, and was integral to helping preserve nearly a 1000 square miles as Rocky Mountain National Park. This was successful in 1915. His brother, Joe Mills came in 1889 writing a series of articles about his experiences for Boys Life which were later published as a book. He and his wife returned to Estes Park to build a hotel called the Crags on the north side of Prospect Mountain. As the Rocky Mountains was deemed a healthy place to live with those suffering from pulmonary diseases, many came here and were catered to by the tourism industry and hotels, providing staff physicians for their care.

    By 1903 a road was opened from Loveland through the Big Thompson River Canyon to Estes Park increasing access and bypassing the toll road. A auto stage route was established by 1907. Stanley Steamers were incorporated having Mr Stanley build 9 passenger steam busses opening a bus line from Lyons to Estes Park. In 1949 Olympus Dam was built providing local drinking water resources. In 1909 the Stanley Hotel was built styled in Edwardian opulence and became infamous when writer Stephen King stayed there gaining inspiration for “The Shining”.

    in 1982 the town was severely destroyed by the failure of Lawn Lake Dam flooding the area. It was eventually renovated and improved, adding a river walk.

    Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado. ( Exploring Estes Park ( New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken June 2, 2017. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2017 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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    Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

    Rocky Mountain National Park (; Estes Park (, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken June 2, 2017. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2017 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

    Rocky Mountain National Park
    Estes Park, Colorado, USA

    Located near Loveland, Colorado and Estes Park, the Park is bisected by Highway 34. The National Park is one of the best examples and playgrounds of the Rocky Mountains. In nearby Estes Park is the Stanley Hotel and Historic District which attracts many visitors from around the world at the gateway to the Rockies.

    The Park is only 76 miles from Denver and it’s airport, making it a hot tourist location for the world. It is represented as the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and is nestled between the towns of Estes Park in the east and Grand Lake in the west. The eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River from the northwest. The park features mountains, alpine lakes, glaciation, wooded forests, mountain tundra all with a variety of wildlife.

    President Woodrow Wilson declared the area a protected area with “The Rocky Mountain National Park Act” on January 26, 1915 and work by The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main auto route and Trail Ridge Road in the 1930’s. By 1976, the Park was designated as one of the World’s first Biosphere reserves. The park receives over 4 million visitors a yar making it the third most visited National Park in the United States.

    There are five visitor centers located within and the park headquarters located at Beaver Meadows. The region that is the National Park was first utlized by humans when Paleo-Indians traveled along what is now the Trail Ridge Road to hunt for food. The most notorious tribes to frequent the area were the Ute and Arapahoe who hunted and camped here. Euro-Americans came in 1820 with the Long Expedition led by Stephen H. Long via the Platte River. By the mid-1800’s, settlers began coming to the area displacing the Native AMericans who primarily left by 1860 and others relocated to reservations by 1878. In the Summer Mountains, the towns of Lulu City, Dutchtown, and Gaskill were built by 1870 for prospectors searching for gold and silver. When the boom ended in 1883, many prospectors deserted their claims in the area. The railroad was built and reached Lyons, Colorado in 1881 and the Big Thompson Canyon Road (part of U.S. Route 34) from Loveland to Estes Park was finished by 1904. In the 1920’s, there was a great boom in the area, especially on the eastern slopes, building log cabins, lodges, and roads in the park.

    Rocky Mountain National Park (; Estes Park (, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken June 2, 2017. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2017 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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    La Caretta Mexican Restaurant (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

    La Caretta Mexican Restaurant
    ~ 35 Iowa Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909 ~

    This popular Mexican and Cuban fare restaurant seems to be well liked and visited. As a delivery professional I’ve done several pickups there and it appears to be well liked. I have yet to try the place for myself, but on the list for restaurants to review. On occasion they have live traditional bands and entertainment.

    Rated: Unrated of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Prospect Lake, Colorado Springs

    Prospect Lake
    ~ 1605 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado ~

    A beautiful water-sports popular swimming lake in the heart of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Popularized by the many offerings of Memorial Park and the YMCA Aquatic Center, this location is very popular with the locals for swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, and water sports. The parks and amenities along its shores are very popular, including playgrounds, bath house, beaches, recreational trails, and picnic spots. There is also one wheelchair accessible fishing dock. Some boating requires licenses or permits, but both motorized and non-motorized boats may operate on the lake, including sail boats, canoes, row boats, and paddle boats some of which can be rented in the park. There is a 1.25 mile long fitness trail around the lake. At the official beach, which is roped in to protect swimmers from boating, offers a once a week opportunity to swim 6-8 pm saturdays beyond the ropes to the rest of the lake.

    The lake is historic and man-made being originally built in 1890 as a reservoir for overflow irrigation water. It became a swimming lake in 1932. It was donated with land by General William Jackson Palmer along with other Colorado Springs parks upwards of 1270 acres to the City of Colorado Springs. Prospect Lake is part of Memorial Park. There is some dark history to the lake, including the fact that it has leaked massive amounts of water for over 50 years causing environmental issues for the city. This has raised much controversy as the lake has been drained in the past and contemplations of emptying it for good has been considered. The commission put together a $50,000 study to determine why it is leaking water. It is believed that the bentonite clay lining that was installed in 1953 on its bottom cracked when it was exposed and dried out in 2002 when it was purposely allow to dry up during the 2002 drought. Prior to that the lake had been annually pumped with potable water by Colorado Springs Utilities. The lake was refilled in 2003 with non-potable water and banned swimming that year. It is hypothesized that the water leaked through the cracks into an underground aquifer. leaking through the porous ground soil at the same pace throughout the years. Evaporation is also believed to be a major issue annually. The Parks office claims “it’s a birdbath with a crack in it”. The lake loses 392 acre feet or 128 million gallons of water every year, 54% through leakage and 46% by evaporation. 400 acre-feet of water costs the city $389,000. Theories state the city could drain the lake and install a bentonite liner over the other half of the bottom but that would cost several hundred thousands of dollars and would not solve the evaporation problem. Other solution would be the city building a well north of the lake in the aquifer that takes much of the seepage and pump the water back into the lake. They say “its just a major recreation area. We’ll put hundreds of thousands of dollars into ball fields … and when you think about Prospect Lake, it has that same kind of benefit” Richard Skorman, the Vice Mayor stated.

    As for cleanliness, the lake has potable water pumped into it annually and they have drained and refilled the lake a few years back. In former years, it has been “sketchy” due to patrons, general neighborhood concerns, and cleanliness but many of those issues have been tackled in current years. City Health officials state that even though swimming pools are rigorously chlorinated and tested daily, outdoor swimming lakes and beaches are not. There is no way to chlorinate, check chemical quality, use a filtration system or check turbidity. Even with swimming pools, a 2010 national study states that 1 in 8 pool inspections led to an immediate closure due to code violations. Pools can be closed in minutes with on the hour testing. Some pool operators go above and beyond, such as the YMCA at Monument Park including emergency response plans to deal with any unexpected issues involving recreational water illnesses (RWI) that can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal, ear, respiratory, eye and would infections often caused by cryptosporidium, giardia, shigella, norovirus, and E. coli. The YMCA operates several city-owned pools and water features including Monument Valley Pool, Portal Pool, Wilson Ranch Pool, and Prospect Lake Beach in Memorial Park. The YMCA follos state Department of Public Health and Environment’s guidelines for natural swimming areas and testing. The beach is tested 17 times during the summer, collecting bacteriological water quality samples at least once every seven days and no fewer than 5 times a month, collecting water-quality samples at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of a peak-use period and within 24 hours after the end of the same peak use period such as before and after Memorial Day weekend.

    Note: The safety of the lake is questionable even though it has a city operated bath house, swimming beach, and is a popular recreation spot in Colorado Springs. According to the local hospital, the water is questionable. My son, on Sunday June 10th, 2018 cut his toe on something sharp in the water while swimming, resulting in 4 stitches. Please be careful swimming in these waters.

    There was an article about Sunken Treasure that was revealed in the lake when it was drained showing finds such as a metal skeleton of a 1960’s Volkswagon Bug, shot guns, rifles, knives, class rings, ice cube trays, a 45 rpm record, empty pull-tab cans, and jewelry. A local prospector with his Bounty Hunter metal detector has found 14 shotguns, handguns, and rifles since 2002 many with their serial numbers filed off. The Bug is believed to have been driven onto the lake when frozen one winter that fell through the ice.


    Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    ~ Worldwide Franchise ~

    Oh the memories growing up with “Denny’s”. It was a common hangout during my high school and college years. Late night, sitting for hours, catching up with friends. Even after college, it was a great location for after dancing/clubbing meet ups and place to sober up before heading home. This iconic table service diner-style restaurant chain is certainly an image of the American heartland and definition of American type food. It is called “Denny’s” or “Denny’s Diner” and consists of over 1,600 restaurants across the United States, including Guam, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Curacao, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Honduras, Japan, New Zealand, Qatar, the Phillipines, and the United Arab Emirates. It is famous for being open 24 hours, 7 days a week, year round except where required by law to be closed. They are open on holidays and late nights. They place themselves close to interstates, freeways, bars, and service areas.

    A humble history spurring from a donut shop, Denny’s was birthed by Harold Butler and Richard Jezak as “Danny’s Donuts” in Lakewood California in 1953. In 1956, Jezak left the business leaving it to Butler who changed the image and concept from a donut shop to a coffee shop renamed “Danny’s coffee shops” operating 24 hours a day. By 1959 they changed their name to “Denny’s Coffee Shops” as another chain went by the name of “Coffee Dan’s” in Los Angeles. By 1961 they simplified their name to “Denny’s”. They became a franchise in 1963 and most of the locations today are franchise owned. In 1977 they introduced their very popular Grand Slam breakfast. By 1981 there were over 1,000 restaurants throughout the United States. They also absorbed many of the Sambo restaurants. By 1994 they became the largest corporate sponsor of “Save the Children” charity. Operating non-stop, 24 hours, many locations were built without locks and some are said to have lost their keys. With headquarters in La Mirada, California until 1989, they relocated to Irvine, California, then Spartanburg, South Carolina becoming acquired by Trans World Corporation in 1987.

    They became notorious for the “free birthday meals” to anyone on their birthdates, but this only survived from 1990-1993 but was cut off due to over-use and abuse. They offer a free Birthday Build-Your-Own-Slam on a customer’s proven and tracked birth date. By 1994 they changed their theme, outlook, and decoration with a lighter color scheme. They were reviewed by the October 2004 Dateline NBC news story called “Dirty Dining” criticizing Denny’s cleanliness, safety, and operations pulling the health inspection records of over 100 of its establishments for a 15 month span totaling all of the critical violations that could lead to adverse effects of a customer’s health compared to Applebee’s, Bob Evans, Chili’s, IHOP, Outback, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, TGI Friday’s, and Waffle House. They had the fewest violations averaging less than one violation per restaurant which they proudly boast is due to their successful model of their “principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.”

    However in 1934, they were damaged by their involvement in a series of discrimination lawsuits over food servers denying or providing inferior service to racial minorities from African Americans to Native Americans. That year, six black U.S. Secret Service agents visited a Denny’s in Annapolis, Maryland and were forced to wait an hour for service while their white companions were seated immediately. The 1994 class action lawsuit filed by black customers who were refused service, forced to wait longer, or pay more than white customers led to a $54.4 million settlement. In 1995 a African American customer in a Sacramento California location was told that he and his friends had to pay up front at the counter before ordering their meals, because, according to the waittress, said some black guys had been in earlier who made a scene and walked out without paying their bill, so the manager now wanted all blacks to pay up front. In 1997, six Asian American students from Syracuse University were discriminated upon late at night at a Denny’s having to wait more than a 1/2 hour as white patrons were served before them. After they complained to management, they were forced to leave by security, then afterwards a group of white men came out of Denny’s and attacked them, some beaten unconscious. Denny’s addressed this with racial sensitivity training programs for their employees and worked hard to improve public relations featuring African-Americans in their commercials. They made headway and was awarded in 2001 by Fortune Magazine to be the “Best Company for Minorities”. By 2006/2007 they topped Black Enterprise’s “Best 40 Companies for Diversity.” However in 2017, a Vancouver Denny’s made an Indigenous woman pay for her meal before it was served. The restaurant called the police on her after she left claiming she had a sharp-metal object in her pocket.

    June of 2017, eight Denny’s in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colorado were immediately shut down because the franchise owner failed to pay close to $200,000 in back taxes as well as $30,000 in sales tax from the previous year. Many of these employees also filed that their accounts were not paid, received bounced checks and paychecks not arriving on time. The IRS came in and closed the locations, seizing property, and no advance notice given to its employees for the closures, leaving many without work or preparation for the losses. The franchise owner fled the state of Colorado.

    Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Memorial Park (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

    Memorial Park – Prospect Lake
    ~ Memorial, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs, Colorado ((E. Pikes Peak and Hancock Aves) ~
    ~ ~

    In the heart of Colorado Springs is a beautiful multi-use park offering outdoor recreations to all sports enthusiasts and a great place for outdoor family gatherings. It features tennis courts, recreational lake with swimming beach, multiple baseball fields, an aquatic center, bicycle velodrome, ice skating center, basketball courts, volleyball, and multi-use sports fields. For families it offers playground and picnic areas with reservation spaces available. The Park embraces much of the shores of Prospect Lake and features a 1.25 mile fitness trail around the lake for walking, jogging, and hiking. Prospect Lake also features fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing, and jet skiing space. The Skate Park is Colorado’s second largest skate park at 40,000 square feet with competition-size space features for inline skaters, skateboarders, and BMX bikers. There is no cost to use these facilities. Prospect Lake also has a official beach and bath house and two fishing areas with docks. The sports center has an administrative office, three baseball/softball fields, 15 football/soccer fields, 12 tennis courts, and the YMCA hosting an indoor poor, fitness room, social/play room, and swimming lessons. The park features tribute and memorials to soldiers, guards, and military service. There are also horseshoe courts, multi-play courts, three playgrounds, restrooms, public telephones, vending machines, concessions, three trails: prospect lake fitness trail 1.25 miles, criterium trail at .6 miles, and perimeter jogging trail at 2.2 miles.

    Review – I am very impressed with this park and love the lake. However, the lake is very murky at times and according to the local hospital its cleanliness is questionable, although they offer a official swimming beach and areas. My son on 6/10/18 was swimming in the lake and cut his foot on something sharp on the bottom of the lake floor requiring 4 stitches, so please be careful and aware. The indoor swim center hosted by the YMCA is laden with rules, often shutting down / interrupting swim time for ‘safety breaks’ and have some outrageous restrictions in play. Not to mention use of the pool is very high priced and oriented towards wealthier clientele. The staff are not very friendly or positive, and the overall experience is just not enjoyable. We have not used the bath house as it is often closed leaving swimming beaches and use around other parts of the lake leading to more unsafe conditions.

    Rated: 3.4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions visited last 6/10/18. ~

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    Little Nepal (Colorado Springs)

    Little Nepal Indian Restaurant
    ~ 1747 S 8th St, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905 | Phone: (719) 477-6997 | ~

    One of Colorado Springs finest Indian restaurants who are notorious for their amazing buffets. Located off 8th street, traditional style and decor – friendly service worth the wait. Tibetan, Nepalese, and India cuisine. Delicious and spicy. Wide assortment of offerings. A must visit for any Indian food connoisseur …

    Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Wings 2 Go (Colorado Springs)

    Wings 2 Go (Flatiron’s)
    ~ 2540 Tenderfoot Hill St,
    Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906 | Phone: (719) 576-2540 ~

    Un-disclosed Wings to Go at the counter within Flat Irons restaurant, this service is featured primarily with Uber Eats. The rest of the restaurant is dine in hearty American grill fare featuring fish tacos, steak, and pizza. I have yet to try “Wings 2 go” but I’ve heard they are pretty good. Not yet reviewed.

    Rated: ___ of 5 stars. Currently un-rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Urban Steam (Colorado Springs)

    Urban Steam Coffee
    ~ 1025 S Sierra Madre St, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 | (719) 473-7832 | ~

    A off in the warehouse district, hiddem gem of a grunge style gear head hang-out. They offer drinks, cocktails, panini, creative waffles, salads, sandwiches, and of course coffee n’ espresso. WiFi … chill … and sometimes busy. Limited parking. Very laid back.

    Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Saigon Grill (Colorado Springs)

    ~ 337 N Circle Dr, Colorado Springs 80909, Colorado | | (719) 635-0720 ~

    A unique family-owned roadside Vietnamese restaurant in eastern Colorado Springs offering Vietnamese food, wine, beer, and cuisine. I have yet to try the restaurant, but have done deliveries for them – they seem to be very popular and well liked. They are always friendly and hospitable with a cute playful kid managing the operation. They are said to have modern interpretations of classic dishes using the highest quality and fresh ingredients.

    Rated: ___ of 5 stars. un-rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Hacienda Villereal (Colorado Springs)

    Hacienda Villereal
    ~ Colorado Springs, Colorado 80916 | ~

    A popular Mexican restaurant in Colorado Springs, I have yet to try the establishment but seems to be fantastically reviewed by its patrons. They call their cuisine “Mountain Mex” in like comparison to Tex-Mex, New Mex Mex, etc. They take Mexican food and give it a Rocky Mountain twist. A festive restaurant, colorful and exciting, embedded into a small strip mall. They have unique food and drinks, over 40 tequilas to choose from. Definitely on my lists of places to visit.

    Rated: ___ of 5 stars. un-rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Motomaki (Denver)

    ~ | Denver, Colorado ~

    A popular sushi, roll, and bowl outfit in Denver. Appears pretty popular. I have yet to review but its on my list.

    Rated: ___ of 5 stars. (currently un-rated) ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Park DIA

    Park DIA
    ~ 25200 E 68th Ave, Aurora, CO 80019 | Phone: (303) 288-7275
    Denver International Airport – Denver, Colorado ~

    A relatively new parking facility outside of Denver International Airport (DIA), it is close, affordable, economic, pleasing, and curb to car service most of the time. Covered or un-covered parking, your choices based on length of stay, weather, and convenience is your choice. They also have an awards program. 2017-2018 I saw $6.95/day prices to park when I’ve needed the services. Pull in, park, and usually there is a shuttle bus waiting on you. They give you a card to remind your car location, they take you to departures, and its an easy experience. Coming back, walk to the pickup location across from the baggage claim/arrivals doors and you’re set. The driver collects your card and actually tries to drive you up to your vehicle. If your battery is dead or car won’t start they are supposedly set up to assist. My choice place to park when flying out of DIA.

    Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Piccino Wood Oven Pizza (Littleton)

    Piccino Wood Oven Pizza
    ~ 5350 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton: Denver, Colorado 80120 ~ ~ (303) 794-2100 ~

    This restaurant has not yet been reviewed. I have done a few deliveries for the establishment, and customers seem dedicated, enthusiastic, and happy with the service. Piccino’s is a wood over pizzeria as well as a contemporary chain for order-at-the-counter pizza and pasta shop with some tap beers and wine available.

    Review: ___ stars out of 5. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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    Ramada Inn (Centennial Airport – Denver)

    Ramada Inn (Centennial Airport)
    ~ 7770 S Peoria St, Englewood/Denver, Colorado 80112 ~ (303) 790-7770 ~

    A cost effective hotel located just outside of the Centennial Airport south Denver. Staff is friendly and helpful. Outside of kids running down the hall hotel is pretty quiet and restful, no airport noises. Comfortable beds, free cable, clean rooms, electric working. Restful. A wonderful breakfast buffet with a large selection of cold and food breakfast stuffs available. Drink cups are small though. Ice machine on the 2nd floor was broken during my visit. The 2nd floor even numbered rooms circle around a gravel roof-top with open access to the room’s windows, from debris on the roof it appears people have hung out on it – meaning its a security issue for the rooms as i found my room window unlocked. Would be easy for thieves. I did receive a prank call most likely from a young guest during the night, that was annoying. Hotel is aged in some parts, and brand new in others. oddly there is spacing between the bottom of the room door and the hall, not being very private. It was a comfortable stay none-the-less. No fridges or microwaves in the rooms. WiFi is good and clear, no password.

    Rated: 4 stars out of 5 Visited 3/31/18-4/1/18. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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