Like everyone else, we went to Truth or Consequences for the name. Except for the Apache leader Geronimo, who apparently went for the mineral baths, and to lend the town its one historical claim to fame.
Having approximately zero concrete plans for the 6 month road trip we both quit our jobs for, we decided to spend the night here after seeing the name on a map and having nowhere better to go. What we found there was everything and nothing that we were expecting. It was weird, but it wasn’t weird, which just made it all even weirder.
Hearing about a forgotten desert town named Truth or Consequences, I immediately made up a fantastical back story that involved a herd of cult members moving out to the middle of nowhere to found a town where truth was honored at the expense of consequences doled out by their leader. In reality, the town of Hot Springs, NM came together and agreed to officially change the name of their town in order to win a radio contest sponsored by the program, Truth or Consequences. Not quite as weird a story as the cult one i made up in my head.
We booked a night in a cheap motel that we looked up online. We received an email confirmation that we would be staying in “The Twilight Zone Room.” We assumed we were in for quite an experience. It turns out The Twilight Zone is a tastefully decorated room for two with an open air shower that pours out the natural hot mineral water running throughout the town (GeroniMOre please!). There was nothing weird about our Twilight Zone room, which somehow made it all even weirder.
The most noticeable thing about the town itself is the brightly colored buildings everywhere you look. Each block boasts a neon green, or a hot pink, or an electric blue, or all of them side by side sure to blind you. What we first thought might be the strange yet fun color choices of kooky towns people actually turns out to be the expression of the many inspired, though normal, artists living here. Truth or Consequences is in fact a genuine artists colony out in the middle of nowhere.
The sometimes overwhelming presence of color is a perfect reflection of the spirit of the place itself. Galleries and craft shops are as frequent a sight here as people passing through looking for something stranger than can be found. Hipster tourism seems to dominate here. They should just shuttle them in from Salvation Mountain (perhaps on a van powered solely from the wind made from shaking a polaroid? I dunno. Just brainstorming here).
Expecting something crazy, what we found was a beautiful community of artists, families, and one certified Wiccan Priest. Strange, but not that strange.