Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On the Road to Mazatlan

"Time to go Mil."  "O.K. Bill."  That was how it went with my parents.  Once my Dad was ready to go he would say those words and my Mom always responded the same way.  They traveled well together.  Dad would drive and Mom would ride.  They were happy when they were traveling.

The other day we were heading down the road toward another state park in New Mexico.  It was going to be a short drive that day.  As we turned onto the country highway something happened.  I became my Dad.  I turned toward Terri and said, "It's time to go Terri."  She said, "O.K. Russ."

Both our minds were made up.  It was time to go to Mexico.

When we got to the next intersection we turned right.  We travel well together, just like my Mom and Dad.

We're here in Tucson getting ready to cross the border on Thursday morning.  We're almost finished with the official paperwork, the final Costco and Target run, the last purchases of art supplies at Michael's and our final chance to eat at Los Nopales (the best Mexican food in the world).

Life is good.

Heading toward home.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

City of Rocks State Park - New Mexico

We're at one of our favorite State Parks in the country.  We were at City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico 3 years ago and we are happy to be back.  It is an amazing place because in the middle of a desert there are a whole city of boulders standing on end.  It looks like aliens came down and stacked rocks in a pattern with streets and paths between the house sized rounded boulders.

In our camping spot among the City of Rocks.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon which is the worst time to arrive at a state park.  We were lucky, spot #2 was the last open space.  Our Karma must be good.

We are now moving West toward Tucson.  As we have moved South the weather has gotten warmer and warmer.  Most days are in the mid 80's but evening drop to just above freezing by early morning.

The Arizona border is less than 100 miles away.  We should be in Arizona in a few days, we are still on a flexible schedule.  Life is good.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gila Cliff Dwellings

We are staying at the Gila Hot Springs Ranch.  It's about 4 miles from the dwellings, so it was a quick drive this morning.  We were the second people to show-up for the mile hike into the site.  Most of the hike was along a beautiful stream until we needed to gain height up to the dwellings.  When we arrived there were three Rangers waiting.  We talked for a while and then began our Ranger led personal tour.

We spent a couple hours wandering from cave to cave.  These dwellings were less formal than the others we have visited.  The drive into the site keeps many away.  Yesterday it took us nearly 4 hours to cover the 96 miles.  Many of those miles were traveled at 10-15 and 20 miles per hour.  It seemed like 100's of hairpin turns and switch backs.

Here is a photo of what we see from our window where we are camping.

Each evening the ranch lets the horse wander the area.  There is almost no traffic on the road into the dwellings so the horses are safe to walk about the canyon.  Here they are visiting us last night.

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

It was our first time attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  We stayed on the grounds for all nine days with about another 1000 RV'ers.  There would be about 700,000 people attending and 545 balloons flying.  Most days the sight was overwhelming.

The morning glow.
Sunrise and the balloons inflate.
And they are off.  Soon to be followed by 100's more.
Even pigs fly at Fiesta.

Things are heating up.
Loading up and ready  to go.
If the day time activities are great, the night times are even better.  I could not imagine a field full of balloons lit up and showing off their colors in the dark.  Each time the pilot hit the propane burners the balloons would glow.  Beautiful!!!

It was an amazing 9 days.  It was a bucket-list item that we were fortunate to see.

We have been visiting Elephant Butte State Park which is near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  New Mexico has great state parks.  We are going to be staying at four of them as we move West.  Here is a photo of tonight's sunset from the New Mexico desert at Caballo Lake.

Tonight's sunset.

We will be entering the Gila Cliff Dwelling area for the next many days.  We'll be so far out that we expect no communications from up in the mountains.

We will be out of touch from the Presidential campaign.  Lucky us.  Life is good from nowhere.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wandering South by Southwest

We've been slowly working our way toward the Southwest the last four weeks.  Western Washington, Eastern Oregon, Southern Idaho, Central Utah, Southeast corner of Colorado and finally into New Mexico.

This has been a new route South for us in the beginning of our fourth year.  We are at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this week.  But there has been great things to see along the way.

Cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, Colorado.
I'll give you a photo overview of our travels during September.  We stopped for a few days in Toutle, Washington at Terri's brothers place.  They were going to be traveling with us for a few weeks until they branched off to go to Dallas for the Good Guys Car Show.

Shan's street rod ready to go to it's first big car show in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Our first stop was in Pendleton, Oregon.  We had no idea that we would arrive on the first day of the Pendleton Round-Up.  We decided to spend the next few days being rodeo fans.  It was a great surprise in our schedule.

We did a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mills.
We made a few stops along the route to the Great Salt Lake in Utah.  Catfish Junction along the Snake River and a stop in Hayburn were just overnights.

One of my bucket list items was to visit Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.  It's a 28,000 acre preserve with 750 bison, 100's of antelope, mountain goats and mule deer.

The Bison and Antelope play.

The view of Salt Lake from Antelope Island.
The next big stop along the way was Arches National Park.  Three days was a quick visit for that size park.  We only did limited hiking.

Shan and Beth under the arche.
Next up was a visit to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.  They let you climb up and down ladders to visit the cliff dwellings. It's a definite adventure.

I barely fit through the 18 inch wide entrance tunnel.
Climbing the steps and ladders up the cliff face.
Don't look down!!!

Next we stopped in Aztec, New Mexico to see more ruins at Aztec National Monument.

My sister Sara flew into Santa Fe and before heading to the Balloon Fiesta we saw Taos and Santa Fe.  We took Sara on her first slot canyon hike in Tents National Park.

Sara was worried about rain and a flash flood.  No rain and therefore no flood.

It was a beautiful hike.
We enjoyed a few sights in Taos.  The oldest church in the country is beautiful.

On the suspension bridge over the Rio Grande River.  Love the shadow of the iron work.

We are now in Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta.  It will get it's own blog post.

Life is good.