Saturday, October 27, 2012

About Those Travels Through New Mexico, Texas and Kansas (October 21 - 27)

Dear Family and Friends,

We left Santa Fe on Sunday morning and drove to Amarillo, Texas. We are on our way to Parsons, Kansas to visit Roger's relatives. Along the way, we decided to have routine maintenance performed on our Tour by the Freightliner team in Amarillo.

Leaving New Mexico

It is always great to be in Texas (spoken by a true Texas girl)!

 You know you are in Texas when you see the Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

After dropping the Tour off at the Freightliner company, we headed to Palo Duro Canyon, about 30 miles from Amarillo. Along the way we passed the Cadillac Ranch, just off of I-40. A series of Cadillac bodies have been buried head first in a symmetrical pattern. Cans of spray paint litter the display for visitors to spray graffiti on the cars. It must be a well known tourist spot because a bus load of Japanese pulled up as I was leaving the area.

Graffiti artist at work!

Our next stop was Palo Duro Canyon State Park, noted as the "Grand Canyon of Texas." The canyon is 120 miles long and 800 feet deep. It is the second largest canyon in the United States. We spent the morning touring the Visitor's Center and doing a hike made by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.

We left Amarillo on Tuesday morning and headed to Claremore, Oklahoma, where we spent the night at Will Rogers Downs. There was a KOA located on the property. It was a quick stay as we were off to Parsons, Kansas on Wednesday.

We arrived in Parsons, Kansas and parked our Tour in Roger's aunt and uncle's driveway. They provided 30 amp electricity which works to keep our electrical systems going. We had fun catching up with them. Thank you for checking in with us. Roger and I appreciate your interest in our travels.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

About That Balloon Fiesta (October 7 -21 )

Dear Family and Friends,

Whoops, this has turned out to be a two week blog because I forgot to post the first week before I left for Dallas (to stay with grandchildren). I apologize for the lack of warning.

Roger, Bear and I left Colorado Springs early Sunday morning. As you can see, frost was on the mountains at the Academy and the temperature was 27 degrees. Brrrr! Thank goodness for the beautiful blue sky. What a great time we had at the Air Force Academy.

Our drive from Colorado Springs to Santa Fe took us on I-25, through Raton Pass, where we encountered mist and low level clouds.

Bear wanted to sit in my lap. 
Of course I let him.

The low level clouds and mist began to appear in the distance.


Welcome to New Mexico.
What a rainy welcome!

The skies cleared and the temps warmed up as we made our way into Santa Fe. We parked at Santa Fe Skies, where we stayed last year. We felt lucky to get our spot back because of the Balloon Fiesta, going on 50 miles away in Albuquerque. Lots of people stay in Santa Fe and drive to Albuquerque for the festivities.

Monday was a 3:30 wake up and drive to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. This is one of the largest in the United States with 12 days devoted to launches, competitions, balloon glows at night and fireworks. We arrived at Albuquerque and the Balloon Park at five and had no trouble finding a parking spot on the grounds. Although it was still dark, lots of people arrived, ready for the launch.  Although the day was clear, the wind played havoc and the launch was delayed until 8 o'clock. Still, we were grateful for the launch as the one on Saturday had been scrubbed. Dawn Patrol balloonists make the call as to whether or not the balloons fly.

Walking from the parking lot down to the concession stands with the balloons ( not inflated at this time) in the upper part of the picture.
The balloonists get the go ahead and inflation starts.

Pure Bliss

Airabelle is being inflated

Darth Vader steals the show.

A fireman

Smokey the Bear

Imagine several hundred balloons in the air at one time.

It is hard to describe the ascension of several hundred balloons. My pictures do not begin to convey the absolute beauty of the feat. On our way back to Santa Fe, I snapped some pics from the car. The balloons land all over Albuquerque.

This picture is taken from I-25 going back to Santa Fe.

I left on Friday for Dallas, Texas, while Roger and Bear remained in the Tour at Santa Fe. Abby and Jackson got some Mimi time while their mother (Suzanne) ran her first marathon in San Francisco. Rob joined Suzanne for moral support. The following pictures show that marvelous weekend.

 Jackson loves his light saber.

 I got to have dinner with Rob, Jackson and Abby before Rob left for San Francisco, on Friday.

 Of course Mimi bought Jackson the light saber he wanted.

 Abby gets her treat at "Build A Bear."

 Jackson has the moves.

 I got to watch Jackson score a goal at a soccer game. Yeah Liverpool!!

 A fun Saturday morning at the Dallas Zoo.

 Penguins are entertaining to watch.

 Jackson gets to hold a gorilla skull.

Comparing penquin sizes.

Abby is having fun at the Childrens' Zoo wading area.

A spider web is fun for Jackson.

Abby loves the cockatiel in the bird exhibit.

Practicing Darth Vader moves.

Suzanne and Rob returned on Monday. Congratulations to Suzanne for completing her first marathon.
On Tuesday, it was back to Santa Fe and Roger.

After a day to rest up from grandchildren, Roger, Bear and I decided to visit nearby Los Alamos, the sight of the nuclear facility that built the bombs we used during World War II. We learned that this town was built specifically to gather leading scientists together to work on the development of the fission or atomic bomb. Very little remains from that era, but the Bradbury Museum documents the entire process of the Manhattan Project.

We poked around the town of Los Alamos that has been built on the top of four mesas. Lots of hill country make it a beautiful little city with lots of outdoor activities. We were able to see the Farmers' Market that sold lots of chili pepper wreaths.
Finally, we had dinner with dear Air Force friends, Jim and Carolyn. They own a beautiful home in Santa Fe. Carolyn is a horse lover and has four on their horse property. Jim stays very busy managing the Santa Fe Airport. Thank you, Jim and Carolyn, for a wonderful evening.

Thank you for your interest in our travels. We appreciate the opportunity to live this lifestyle and love sharing it with you. We leave on Sunday morning for Amarillo, Texas, for some routine maintenance on the Tour, then it is on to Parsons, Kansas, where we will visit with Roger's aunt, uncle and cousins.