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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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This is the kitchen.

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

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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.

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I saw this wooden Indian standing outside another shop.

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Some of the shops had beautiful murals on their walls.

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Springtime was also showing up in many places.

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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.

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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.