Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Up, Up and Away In My Beautiful Balloon

The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque,  New Mexico has been something we always wanted to do and this year we had the chance to be there!

It did not disappoint us!  We arrived at Enchanted Trails RV Resort on Thursday so we could hopefully attend the mass ascension Friday morning.  We were also going to be there Saturday in case the weather was not good on Friday.  Friday morning, we arrived at the Park and Ride at 4:30, yes, that is a.m. not p.m.  We were on the first bus (they use school buses to take you over to the balloon park) and arrived at the park at about 5.  We had brought our folding chairs with us and found a place to sit.  I then bundled up with my gloves, scarf, cap, and coat.  I even had brought some hand warmers that came in very handy.  It was cold sitting out there on the field.

About 6:15, the Dawn Patrol went up. These balloons go up at dawn to give the other balloonists an idea of the wind speeds and directions at the different altitudes.

The balloons would glow whenever the burner was ignited.

Then, the national anthem was sung as the "color guard" balloons floated into the air.

Now, it was time for the mass ascension to begin.  Yesterday, all activities had been cancelled because of high winds, but today was perfect.  All of the balloons would be ascending and that would include the special shape ones too.

The balloons do not take off all at once, they go up in sections.  It's hard to see in a picture just how big these balloons are, but if you look at the bottom of each balloon you can see the basket dangling from the bottom.

As one section would go up, the next section would be blowing their balloons up in preparation to ascend next.

The balloons rose in the air and then just seemed to be in suspension in the air.  It was an amazing sight.

They reminded me of Christmas ornaments suspended in the air.

The colors were magnificent against the blue background of the sky.

Albuquerque is known for its Albuquerque Box.  It is a weather phenomenon that allows the balloonists to fly out and back and land in almost the same spot at which they began.

We caught the shuttle back to the car about 9:00 and had a surprise flat tire waiting for us in the parking lot.  When Jim found out our spare was flat too, we called Good Sam for help.  A repair truck was out there in about 30 minutes. It's always an adventure.

We got back to the rv and took naps since we were planning on going back out in the evening for the balloon glow.

We were meeting Jim's cousins out there so we took the car to the parking lot.  We arrived about 4:30 and had an easy time parking.

There was also a chainsaw carving contest taking place so we went over to watch and see some of the carvings.  They were pretty neat.

We went to the booths and then sat in our chairs waiting for the glow to begin.  Once it started, it was a real challenge to get pictures.  The glow begins and only lasts a few moments.  We did manage to get some shots of some of the special shapes.

As it got darker, it seemed the crowds got larger.  We heard later there were probably close to 100,000 people that night.

The Creamland Cow Balloon is massive.  We sat in front of it as they were inflating it and it is amazing to watch the crew work together to get it inflated.

 Jim's two cousins, Angela and Amanda and Amanda's family met us out on the field.  We watched the fireworks show, then made plans to meet for dinner.  We didn't get out of the parking lot as fast as we got in.  We finally made it to the restaurant and had a wonderful time reconnecting with Jim's cousins.

The Balloon Festival was everything we hoped it would be.  Yes, there are crowds, you have to get up really early and sit in cold weather, but the experience is something you will never forget.  I know we never will.

How To See Moab Without Visiting Any National Parks

We arrived in Moab on October 3, day 3 of the government shutdown.  We were really hoping some agreement would be reached, but that didn't happen, so we were not able to go to Arches or Canyonlands National Parks.  However, we were given some wonderful alternatives by residents.

We stayed at the OK RV Park using our Passport America and had this wonderful view.

We took the La Sal Mountain Loop Road for more magnificent views.  As we began the climb up, you look down at the rock formations below.

As we came to the top of the mountains, snow began to fall.  We knew it was just at the top so we had a really good time driving in the snow.  We hadn't actually seen snow falling in over 20 years!

The snow made lots of great pictures.

It was something we could enjoy knowing when we got back to the campground, it would be much warmer than here on the top of the mountain.

We enjoyed the drive so much, we did it again a couple of days later from the other direction when there were no clouds. Before we made our way back to the top, we stopped at the movie museum at Red Cliffs Lodge.  It was interesting, we had no idea of all the movies that had been shot at this location.

As we made our way back up, we got some gorgeous views of the red rocks.  If they look familiar, you probably have seen them in a movie or commercial.

We didn't get to go to Arches National Park, but we did see a few arches that were not in the park.

This is the Jug Handle Arch.

Here is the Wilson Arch which can be viewed right on Highway 191.  It, too, was pretty spectacular.

One afternoon, we took a neat hike to the Corona Arch.  As we climbed up, we were able to glance back at the rocks and river below.

We arrived at the arch.  Each one is different and each is pretty spectacular.

There were a group of rock climbers on the top.  You can see them, the tiny dots at the middle left of the picture.

We watched several of them fly off the top using a rope.

We really enjoyed this hike through this gorgeous scenery.

As you drive down Potash Road, there are several places to stop to see some amazing petrogylphs.

There were several sections and everywhere you looked, you would see a different picture.  They were some of the best we have seen and here they were right on the side of the road.

We couldn't go to Canyonlands National Park, but Dead Horse Point State Park was open and that was the next best thing.

There were some gorgeous views below of the Canyonlands.  It reminded us a lot of Grand Canyon.

There was a rim trail we followed up to the point for more views.

We were disappointed that we could not go to the national parks, but there was still plenty to see.  We'll just have to get back here another time. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bend to Salt Lake City

We have been traveling a lot more than usual as we make our way back to Texas, so I am behind in posting and will try to catch up. Then, to make matters worse, when I have had time to write the blog, our internet connection was too slow to post.

We left Bend and drove to Burns, Oregon for one night, then drove to Wendell, Idaho the next day.  While at Wendell, we traveled to Twin Falls in the afternoon to catch this fabulous view of the Snake River.

We drove to Shoshone Falls and were really glad we did.  The water wasn't flowing a lot, but it was still pretty.  There were several trails we took to get different glimpses of the falls and rocks.

We also had no idea until we came here that this was the place Evel Knievel unsuccessfully attempted to jump over the Snake River on a rocket cycle in 1974.

The next day we drove to Salt Lake City and spent three nights.  I spent most of my time at the Family History Library and Jim played golf.

We spent one afternoon in the mountains look for fall foliage and we were successful!

The color show was a real treat for us!  It's not something we see regularly in Texas.

The mountains were covered with the shades of fall.

It's time for our next stop, Moab, Utah!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's Time For Us To Head South!

It looks like it's time for us to head south.  This morning the Cascade Mountains received their first powdering of snow.  The temperatures are cooling down, the high today was 45.  That's cold to one who has always lived in Texas. :)

We spent of lot of time this last week at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

We made a hike to the Paulina Falls, a picturesque 80 foot cascading falls.

Our next stop,

This was really impressive.  There is a one mile loop trail exploring Oregon's youngest lava flow.  First there is a steep set of stairs to climb,

and then, there is this view.  The magnitude of the lava flow just can't be pictured in a photo.  It went on almost as far as you could see.

There were lots of black, shiny obsidian rocks everywhere.

The trail crossed back and forth over the rocky, uneven surface of the Big Obsidian Flow.  We reached the top and were rewarded with this view of Paulina Lake.

Next, we drove to the top of Paulina Peak.  There is a 3 1/2 mile road taking you to the summit of Paulina Peak, 7,984 feet.  From the top, you can view into the Newberry Caldera.  

That's Paulina Lake below.

We visited Benham Falls which has a beautiful 1 mile walking trail leading up to the cascading falls.

There was also 

There is a one mile self guided trail that winds across a 7,000 year old Newberry Volcano basalt lava flow.

As the lava flowed, it enveloped a mature forest taking the shape of the trees as it cooled.  This is just one of the many casts seen throughout the trail.

We also ventured in to the city of Bend a couple of times.  One day we drove to the top of Pilot Butte with amazing views of the city below.  There is also a hiking trail you can take from the bottom up to the top.

We have really enjoyed our time in Bend.  It was a relaxing time with a good mix of activities and downtime.