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.


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.


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.


Here it is almost completely blown up.


And here it is flying.


It was an utterly fantastic balloon.  HA!  HA!


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


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



Crazy People

You see many different crazy people throughout the midway.



Up up and away

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


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


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


It was a great morning with all my balloon firends.

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


Lots of neat stuff for the kids to enjoy.


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


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.


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.



Put me in coach.  I can run really fast.

Honey Wagon

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


Neat tow vehicle

I sure like this tow vehicle. HA!


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.




There were even big monsters. HA!



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




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


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



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.


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.


This caused many balloons to land prematurely.



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


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


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.



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.





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


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

A Crazy Month!

Brakes repaired and back on the road

I was finally able to get the brakes repaired and am now back on the road.  The caliper on the right front brake had seized causing all kinds of damage to my rotor.  I had to have that replaced as well as both front brakes replaced.  I then headed to Laramie, WY where I had to have my drug test performed for my Amazon stint this winter.

I spent one night outside of Laramie at the Curt Gowdy State Park.  It was nice but hard to get level and they charge $17 a night for no hook-ups.  If you have a boat it would be a great place to go.


I spent a couple of nights in Laramie at a KOA thanks to the advice of Steve.  It was nice but too expensive for my taste.  I would much prefer boondocking down a lonely country road.

I then headed back to Saratoga, WY to pick up my mail.  I was only going to stay there a couple of days before meeting my friends in Colorado, but wound up being there for a week.  This was when all the rain began and the major flooding in Colorado.  I didn’t want to even drive into any problems due to weather.  Besides I had an electric site for only $10 per day.  It rained and was overcast almost every day so I was glad to have the electricity.

Meeting friends in Salida, CO?

I was going to drive to Salida, CO where I was going to meet up with friends and then travel further south.  This is where the fun began.  I got to the 40/70 junction in Colorado and my brakes started getting REALLY mushy.  I had been going down a long grade behind a truck hauling timber.  There were many turns where you had to slow down to 20 mph.  Not very fun!

Then I noticed my brakes smelling and pulled over for about an hour to let them cool down.  Obviously it wasn’t enough time and it scared the crap out of me further down the road just past Empire, CO.  I located a Minton Park using my Ultimate Campgrounds app on my IPhone.  I unhooked and drove back there to check it out.  Fortunately Empire was only a mile from where I had pulled over.

The park sign said you needed permission to camp there, but no one was around.  I then drove past their Police Station so decided to check with them.  They gave me permission so I figured that was good enough.

I then used the Allstays Camp and RV app on my IPhone to check the grades of the roads leading out of Empire.  I did not want to go west as I originally planned since there were several long grades so I decided I would go east to Denver and have my brakes checked there.  But after looking at the map I determined that was not the best idea either since there were two truck runaways at the bottom of 70.

I still didn’t feel comfortable driving so I contacted Coach Net and had them tow my rig to a Ford dealer in Denver.  When I got there in my Sami the dealer told me they could not work on my rig because of the length.  Doesn’t this sound familiar?

I test drove it around a bit and didn’t notice a problem with the brakes so I hooked up the Sami and decided to head on down to Abiquiu Lake to meet up with many friends who were camping there.  I knew I25 was flat with no major grades and the brakes were performing as they should.

To make a long story short I believe getting new brakes and immediately heading into the mountains with major downhill grades is not the thing to do.  They heated up on me and I was very lucky nothing major happened.

Made it to Abiquiu

I drove the 448 miles to Abiquiu Lake, NM without any problems.  There are many of us parked here for a week prior to moving on to the Albuquerque, NM Balloon Fiesta starting at the end of the month.

Got my hands slapped big time!

I was also notified by my Internet provider that I have exceeded their monthly limit big time.  While still in Wyoming while boondocking on the Wild Horse Canyon road I may have mentioned that I was about a mile from the towers.  I had great 4G reception and nobody to talk to way out in nowhere land.  So what do I do.  Watch free movies from my Amazon Prime account and several Angels baseball games as well.

Well that caught up with me and they cut off my usage until the beginning of next month.  That is why I have not blogged since 9/5.  Jeannie of On the Road with Riley fame is parked next to me and was very gracious in allowing me to use her Internet connection to make this post.  Thanks Jeannie!!!

Crazy month for me

Yes it has been a crazy month and glad everything has settled down.  Now I am doing what I enjoy.  Camping in a beautiful spot with great friends.

This was a sunset pic taken the other night.  As always the sunsets in NM are spectacular.


Thanks all for being so patient.

Taos Sightseeing

Taos Pueblo

I awoke to dark skies and the threat of rain.  However the sun would break through now and then so since I was leaving tomorrow I thought it best to get out and see what I could.

My first stop was the Taos Pueblo north of town.  It is considered to be the oldest continually inhabited community in the US. Some of the structures are over 1000 years old, but they are re-plastered with adobe annually because of exposure to the climate.    There were spots in the pueblo where you were not allowed.  This is the Hlaauma or North House that is 1000 years old.


There were many small shops located here and there where you could purchase Indian jewelry, blankets, artwork as well as bread and cookies.  This is a few pics of the San Geronimo Church built in 1850 and is now  a Registered National Historic Landmark.




They offered a free walking tour of the Pueblo which started at 1:00, but it started to rain so decided against it.

Kit Carson Home and Museum

I drove from the Taos Pueblo to the Kit Carson home and Museum.  He lived in the home with his wife and children for over 25 years.  Admission price for seniors was only $4 and it was well worth it.  They gave a talk on how Kit Carson had settled in Taos and then there was a 20 minute video that was very interesting.  His home was rather small with only four rooms.  The shotgun (top rifle) in this next pic was one he was known to use.


This room was the family bedroom.  All the rooms had fireplaces in them to keep the place warm during the winter.


This is the kitchen.


This last room was the parlor and possibly used by overnight guests.


I really enjoyed the home and museum with all the many pictures of Kit Carson and his family.

Lots of shops and galleries

Once you are in the downtown area you can wander all over and visit the many shops and art galleries as well as really nice restaurants and coffee shops.  This shop had all kinds of western boots on display.


I saw this wooden Indian standing outside another shop.


Some of the shops had beautiful murals on their walls.



Springtime was also showing up in many places.



Started pouring rain…

The weather took a turn for the worse and the rain started coming down in buckets.  I ducked into a coffee shop and took a break until the rain stopped.

Here are some other fascinating pics I got from several spots in town.






I have really enjoyed my stay here and would highly recommend it to others.  There is lots to see and many more things to do.

Met up with old friends…

Bruce and Jan from J and B and Lady Blue fame wrote me an email and mentioned they might be coming to Taos from Chama, NM.  They showed up late Sunday and we got together for wine and cookies this past evening.  I first met them in Quartzsite this past January.  It sure was fun seeing them again and talking about what we had been doing since we departed Quartzsite.

They have just started blogging about their travels so I hope you can hop over there to check them out.

Weather conditions improving (I hope)…

I have been closely watching the weather since there are so many storms in the area.  It is supposed to be clear tomorrow so I will be leaving Taos and heading into Colorado to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.  It will be a short drive of only 124 miles so I should get there rather quickly.  I plan on spending a few days there checking out the sand dunes.

Taos, NM

The weather was really cold…

After leaving Orilla Verde I drove the 18 miles to Taos.  The weather had changed drastically.  The lady at Taos Valley RV Park told me they had snow in Denver and we were getting some of that cold front.  NO KIDDING!

I signed up here for 2 nights but are thinking of staying longer, but not sure.  It all depends on the weather.  Here is a pic of our campsite.


The snow-capped mountains are really beautiful and I am really enjoying the scenery.

On the way into town I stopped at the Walmart and decided I better get Chica a coat to wear in this frigid weather.  After all I was heading up to Colorado next week and eventually Canada by the end of the month.  It is not easy finding something in her size, but I did find this one.  I thought she might fuss a bit when I put it on her, but surprisingly she didn’t.


She actually likes her new leather coat.  I think she knows that she is really stylin.

Warmed up nicely

It has really warmed up from the time I first got here.  Chica and I took the nature trail which surrounds the park.  She really enjoyed it.


There was a beautiful view of the mountains.


Heading downtown…

Sunday I will head into the downtown area and hope to get some good pics.  I forgot until I looked at my calendar that today is Cinco de Mayo.  I hope it isn’t too busy.  I couldn’t ask for a nicer day.

South of Taos and no cell phone/Internet

Free night at a winery…

I spent Sunday night camped at the Anasazi Fields Winery just north of Albuquerque.  It is in the little sleepy town of Placitas, NM.  The road into the winery is very narrow, but I made it.

Anasazi Winery is a member of the Harvest Hosts network of wineries, orchards, and farms throughout the country where you can stay free overnight.  They usually have a designated area for us RVer’s with no hookups but Anasazi offered to let me hookup up to electricity which I declined since I have solar panels.  All the places that I have stayed at have been extremely friendly.  They don’t require that you purchase anything from them, but I usually buy a bottle of wine to stock my wine cabinet.


Then I was greeted by Terry and told where I can park.  They had an overflow area that worked out good.  After getting settled in I went to the tasting room where there were others also wine tasting.

The Anasazi Winery does not use grapes in the making of their wine.  Instead they use fruits.  Normally I do not care for fruit wines, as they are very sweet.  However Terry explained that to his knowledge, the Anasazi Fields Winery is the only winery that makes their fruit wines dry.  I liked several of them.  The wine tasting was free and Terry explained each and every wine in detail.

Heading north…

My goal the next morning was to reach the Orilla Verde Recreation Area just 17 miles south of Taos, NM.  Jim and Gayle of had told me about it while I was Rockhound State Park.  They mentioned that there were a lot of hiking trails and beautiful scenery.

I stopped at the Pilar Campground and was greeted by the host Pat.  He was a real friendly guy and told me a lot about the area.  I found a nice electric/water site and signed up for three days.  The electric/water sites were only $7.50 (half price) with my Geezer card.



The campground is located in a big canyon next to the Rio Grande River.  The river is much larger then in the southern portion of the state because of all the snow runoff up here.



I had planned on doing some hiking while in this area, but the day after I arrived I came down with a very sore throat.  I rarely feel ill and this had me stumped.  My nose was constantly running and my throat felt horrible.  I was not in any mood to get out on a trail.  I will return to this area though as it is really nice.

One other thing that put a damper on my time here was the lack of cell phone and Internet services.  I could not even get anything with my booster.  What was weird was that my phone could send and receive messages intermittently.  For example I would get an email, but it could not download the content only the subject line.  I guess if I really had to get any type of important email I could tell the sender to write it all on the subject line.  HA!  Even that was very sporadic.

Here is a pic of the sunrise coming over the plateau.


Off to Taos

I am hoping I can find a reasonable campground closer to Taos so I can check out the town.  By the way, I have finally gotten over the sore throat although there was one night I could not sleep due to it.

Potty training Chica…

There are times when little Chica makes a mistake inside the rig.  I have tried everything including changing her feeding time.  I take her outside several times during the day for walks, which she really enjoys.  Sometimes she does her duties while walking and sometimes not.  I always take her out late before I go to bed hoping that will take care of it.  NOPE!!

I know this sounds gross but I sometimes wake up in the morning and she has had an accident.  She sleeps on the couch on her bed under a cover.  Then she will have an accident on the blanket at the other end of the couch.  I scold her but it does not make any difference.  It is really hard not to scold her very much as she has those sympathetic eyes.

Last night I left a small light on and she went potty on the mat I have put out for her in front of the toilet.  She is smart enough to know that is where she should go potty.  I think the problem is that she cannot see in the dark to get back on the couch.  She has to use the first rung of the ladder to jump onto the couch.  She is too small to jump up on the furniture, which is good.  But without using that first rung she can’t get back into her bed.  I don’t think she can see the step in the middle of the night so she just goes where it is convenient so she can go back to bed.  Leaving the light on allowed her to see therefore she was able to get down and go on the pad.

I am going to try leaving her bed on the floor and see if that works.  I don’t like to sleep with any lights on, but if it helps her I guess that is what I will have to get used to doing.  I am wondering if Chihuahuas have a large enough bladder to go the entire night without having to pee.  Does anyone else with a toy Chihuahua have a similar problem?


Gathering of Nations POW WOW

One more day at Enchanted Trails

I was watching the news Friday night and they were talking about the Gathering of Nations POW WOW being held on the University of New Mexico campus.  Before I started fulltiming I had read about this annual event and thought at the time that it would really be neat to attend.

I hadn’t even planned in being in the Albuquerque area at this time, but Albuquerque is the only place in New Mexico that has an Apple Store.  So it was fate that brought me to this city on this weekend.

I decided to stay another day to see the POW WOW and I am really glad I did.

POW WOW at “The Pit”

The Pow Wow was being held in and around what is know as “The Pit”. on the U of NM campus.  Got out my GPS and found where it was located and then just followed the crowd.  This is a pic of “The Pit” which is probably used for indoor sports activities as well as concerts, etc.


The cost for admission was $17 and another $10 for parking. OUCH!  There goes the budget!  But it was money well spent and where else could I see so many Native Americans in their full dress.

I got in just when the dancing started.  They would introduce each tribe as they came onto the floor.  Some of them had traveled a long distance to take part in the activities.  This is a pic of the participants as they were being introduced.


I got this pic of some of the women in dress waiting to get onto the dance floor.


Finally a pic of all the participants on the floor dancing.  I don’t know how they could even move as there were so many people.  All the while the drums are beating loudly and many different types of rattles could be heard.  Their native dress is so colorful.



Then they started an individual dance competition.  It was really something to see.


Pose with a bald eagle…

There were many vendors all along the outside of The Pit who were selling their wares.  Lots of jewelry, but also furs, feathers, etc.  They also had a big tent with many vendors in it.  I really enjoyed walking through it.

There was one vendor that was promoting helping injured raptors and they had many that were perched on their hands.  You could get a picture taken with a bald eagle.  This lady would hold the eagle unto they were ready to take the picture.


Then she would remove it’s hood and they would snap the picture.


Very cool stuff…

As you can see there were lots of different items for sale.  I would have loved to purchase this but there is no room in my rig for it.  I guess I could have put it on the front of my toad, Billy.  HA!


There were many other unusual items as well such as all the beads you could even imagine.


Also special tennis shoes made for a tribe by Vans.  How cool!  I almost bought a pair.  Sorry, it is a bit out of focus.


Calendar girls…

Then the treat of the day was finding these three beautiful 2013 calendar models who posed for me.  They had a booth inside the tent and each one represented a different month for the calendar and they were gorgeous.


Had a great day…

I am really glad I decided to stay another day.  I had a wonderful time at the 2013 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow.