Balloons, balloons and more balloons!

A Gambling Fool

A bunch of us went to the Sandia Casino for their $5 brunch.  We had to wait in line but it was worth it.  Lots of good food.

I had to get a players card to get admitted for lunch and then just had to use up the $25 they give you with the card.  I didn’t win anything using the card but added another $15 and walked out of there with $136.  Not bad!  I was up to $222 but didn’t walk away then as I knew I should.

Up early and over to the balloon field.

I woke up early and decided to go across the street to the balloon launching field to see the balloons off.  It is amazing how many people are there at 6:00am.  The place was packed.  This group of balloons is know as the dawn patrol.  They are the first to go up in the morning an they test the winds for the remainder of the balloons.

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The lady dressed in the referee suit is actually the one that directs the balloons when they launch.  She tells them when they can take off and keeps the crowd back from the balloon.

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Then the rest of the balloons go up in the mass ascension.  What a site to see!  This is the Moo Cow balloon which is really large.  It is just beginning to get blown up.

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Here it is almost completely blown up.

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And here it is flying.

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It was an utterly fantastic balloon.  HA!  HA!

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The balloons are all bunched together since there were so many of them.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.

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Here is a couple pics of the bees.  They are always crowd favorites.

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Crazy People

You see many different crazy people throughout the midway.

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Up up and away

This is a pic of a couple waving to the crowd after beginning their ascent.

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This one is for my friends at Wells Fargo Advisors.  Please make lots of money for me.

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I really enjoyed this guy with his jet pack.  Very cool!

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It was a great morning with all my balloon firends.

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Old Town Albuquerque

Need any repairs?

While we were parked at the Balloon Fiesta grounds, many of us took advantage of the great repair service by Phil and Ann’s Mobile Repairs and Parts.  Phil has a huge workshop as you can see.  He repaired or replaced refrigerators, convertors, water pumps and generators as well as many other items.  He attends many of the big rallies such as Escapade, FMCA in Indio, and can also be found at Quartzsite during the winter months.  I would highly recommend him as he is experienced in any type of RV repair.  He can be reached at 828-606-9918 or at annphilrv@gmail.com.

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Old Town

A group of us took the shuttle to Old Town Albuquerque.  It only cost $5 and included a ride back to our campground.  Here we are in the shuttle.

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I always enjoy going to Old Town even though they always have the same stuff.  It is fun walking around and a good time to do some interesting people watching.  I spotted this guy with his real goose in the park.

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There is a gazebo where you can see many different performers.  This group was really high energy.

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We ate at the Church Street Cafe and had a great lunch.  That place has really good Mexican food.  Then after lunch we were on our own until either 1:00 or 3:00 where we had to meet the shuttle for our return trip.  I took this pic of the church which is right across the street from the park.

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I ran into Leonard of the Big Bang Theory while browsing in one of the shops.  HA!

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Mr. Edwardo (Mr. Ed’s Mexican cousin) was also in the same shop.

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Lots of neat stuff for the kids to enjoy.

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It was fun strolling down some of the back alleys in Old Town.

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My last stop before heading home was the Rattlesnake Museum.  I had avoided this place the two previous times I have attended the Balloon Fiesta, but decided it was time to check it out.  I used to be terrified by snakes but they don’t scare me any more.  They had lots of rattlesnakes from all over the world.  It was very interesting.

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That is it for today.  Tomorrow we head to Sandia Casino for their $5 brunch.

Routine and exciting stuff at the Balloon Fiesta

Walking the dogs

Frank drove john and I and all the dogs over to the baseball field to let them run.  Usually Chica loves to run on the grass, but the larger dogs overwhelmed her today.  Instead she decided to wait in the dugout on the bench.

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Put me in coach.  I can run really fast.

Honey Wagon

There is a “Honey Wagon” that for $25 will empty your holding tanks.

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Neat tow vehicle

I sure like this tow vehicle. HA!

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Going to the Glowdeo

John and I took the shuttle across the street to the fiesta grounds where it is much like a huge fair.

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There were even big monsters. HA!

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You could walk among all the balloons.  It is amazing how huge they are close up.

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Then they started the glow.  The balloons are tethered. This was a member of the crew that helps to keep the balloon in place.

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The do a blast that lights up the balloon and lasts between 5 and 10 seconds.  It is really a site to see.

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Tomorrow it is off to Old Town.

Balloon Fiesta Day 1

Cold day

It was very windy on Friday, but it calmed down enough for the balloons to make their ascent on the opening day of the 2013 Balloon Fiesta.  However the wind was on again off again and many of them did not travel very far.  I got a pic of the captain waving at us.

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This is my 3rd Balloon Fiesta and it gets better every year.  I missed last year because I had camp hosted in central Oregon and decided I didn’t want to travel 1,300 miles from there to the BF and then another 1,000 miles to Fernley, NV to work at Amazon.

Sometimes the wind was very still as you can see in this next pic of Roger’s windsock.

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This caused many balloons to land prematurely.

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I have not seen the hummingbird balloon before and I was able to get this pic of it drinking out of another balloon.  HA!

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I also got a great pic looking almost straight up into this balloon.

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That’s it for now.  We had a hot dog dinner tonight with lots of side dishes.  Very yummy and lots to eat.

Back on line at the Balloon Fiesta

Back on Millenicom

I was a BAD BOY and got my hand slapped by Millenicom for going over my allotted limit.  My friend Ken Fears of These are the Voyages fame told me about an app for my Mac called Net Monitor which I have installed.  It will help me stay out of hot water with Millenicom.

Abiquiu Lake

Many of us met up at Abiquiu Lake and got in the Happy Hour routine.  Roger even cooked ribs for our evening meal on his Traeger oven.  They cooked all day and were they ever yummy.

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Sandia Casino Parking

Then it was off to the Sandia Casino just north of the Balloon Fiesta.  We stayed there two nights .  We were all able to park close to each other.

Off to the Balloon Fiesta grounds

Then on the 1st we headed to the Balloon Fiesta grounds.  John and Linda went ahead along with Terry and Karen and Roger to get our assigned spots and set up.  Then we all followed.  It is nice being set up for 13 days without having to move.  There are no hookups, but many of us have solar panels to provide our electricity.  The honey wagon will also come by and for a measly $25 (HA!) you can have your black and grey tanks emptied.  You can also spend the same getting water, but several of us have 6 gallon water containers that we can haul back and forth.

Only a few balloons have gone up and the official starting date is Sat the 5th.  It is always an exciting time when all the balloons go up.  In the meantime here are a few pics of our group at Happy Hour.

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Cookie took advantage of the great sunlight and Melinda’s sun oven to make a dump cake.  It was uuum good.

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More people are coming in everyday and are group is growing.  Stay tuned for the balloon pics.

2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – Days 4-5

Up close to the balloons

I decided to go across the street and watch the balloons take off from the field.  You can get up close to all the balloons and thousands of people are everywhere on the field.  It is very exciting to be there in person.  Besides the balloons, you also get to see what they call the “Zebras”.  They are the folks who originally dressed in referee costumes and actually direct the balloons and tell them when they can take off.  They also keep the crowd away from the takeoff zone of the balloons.  Some of them are very colorful and  go to extremes with their costumes as you can see from this pic.

First balloon of the day

They send up several balloons which are called the Dawn Patrol.  They usually go up about 6:00 when it is still dark.  The glow of these balloons are really neat.  About 7:00 they send up the first balloon with the “Stars and Stripes” hanging from it.  They also have someone sing our National Anthem.  It is very emotional.  Today the first balloon that went up was called the “Dream Weaver” from Albuquerque, NM.

Thanks Millie for all the great comments!

While on the field I took many pictures.  This is one for my favorite friend Millie who you may have seen her many comments on my blog.  She works at State Farm and is very near retirement.

Thanks Terry for watching my money!

Then I can’t forget my financial broker Terry who works for Wells Fargo Advisors.  My 401K may not be going up, but the Wells Fargo balloon did a pretty good job of climbing.

The next couple of pics shows the balloons preparing for the “Mass Accension”.

Then I took a few pics of individual balloons.  This is Skywalker from Ridgeway, CO

Here we have Kachina from Witchita Falls, TX.

And finally one of my favorites Lindy from Saint Louis, MO.

Breakfast at the Mule Barn

On the following day I went to breakfast with Steve, Annie and Rick at Murphy’s Mule Barn.  The place is not much to look at but if you are looking for good food at great prices that is definetely the place to go.

North to Alaska!!

At 12:00 we all got together for a talk about traveling to Alaska.  Linda and Carole headed up the group but there were several others who have already been there and much was learned about what to expect, the pros and cons, where to camp, and what to see.  It was very interesting and it has me thinking about heading north.  Thanks Linda and Carole you really have me thinking of making a trip to Alaska.  Now I just have to save my $$$$$.

Mike and Lisa’s Barbeque.  Umm Good!!!

We had a 4:30pm pot luck dinner/cocktail hour and Mike and Lisa Sylvester supplied the delicious barbeque.  Then Mike gave a great talk all about RV refrigerators and water heaters.  He gave us a lot of great tips on keeping those appliances going and what to do if we have problems.  Thanks Mike and Lisa for a great time!!!