A Travellerspoint blog

The Fiesta Begins!

Albuquerque, New Mexico

sunny 80 °F

Yesterday we traveled about 135 miles to Albuquerque and were able to get into our site by 10:30 am! We are staying at American RV Park where my brother and sister in law have been workkamping for the summer. It's a very nice park and, right now, is filled due to the Balloon Festival. We spent the day relaxing, visiting and Don even went into the pool.
Today was another story, though! The four of us rose early and were on our way to the Fiesta by 4 am. We parked and took a shuttle to Balloon Fiesta Park. This was a great idea because we didn't have to get involved in any of the traffic. Unfortunately, while the entire process was great, our bus driver was not. It seems she was relying on following the bus ahead of us to get there, and somewhere along the way we lost that bus. As it turns out we did get there, but it took at least 45 minutes to get there instead of 15.
The balloons were spectacular! Everywhere you looked balloons were inflating and ascending. We have been to other Balloon Festivals and really love them, but this was like nothing we have been to before. The balloons starting rising at 7 am and continued for more than 2 hours! We have never seen anything like that. Add to that the box effect they have here in Albuquerque, that makes the balloons stay right in the same area for all this time, and it is just incredible. So these balloons rise and head north, then they rise some more and head south, continuing to be right in the same area of the Balloon Park while more are coming up. After a while the sky was just so full of balloons we couldn't believe it! Amazing!
Morning Glow

Morning Glow

Beautiful sight.

Beautiful sight.

Some of the 500

Some of the 500

Jeanne and Donna

Jeanne and Donna

Darth!

Darth!

Pretty Butterfly

Pretty Butterfly

Killer Bees

Killer Bees

Stage coach

Stage coach


Tonight we went back to the Fiesta Park and saw 100 balloons do an evening night glow. Pretty cool.DSCN1757.jpgDSCN1754.jpgDSCN1745.jpg
Weather: Chilly in morning but a gorgeeous day once the sun arrived over Sandia Peak.

Posted by jcorilio 20:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

We Were Petrified!

Gallup, New Mexico

sunny 85 °F

Since we only had a short distance to go today we did some more sightseeing. This time it was at the Petrified Forest National Park. If you remember, we stopped here on our way west, but didn't have enough time to do everything. So today, due to our extra time, we did the entire park. First we viewed the Painted Desert!! It is so beautiful and impressive.
Painted Desert

Painted Desert

DSCN1410

DSCN1410


We then continued on down to the Petrified Forest. Originally these lands were covered with petrified trees and logs, but because of looting, especially in the early years, there is only a fraction of the petrified items left! A real shame. Anyway, we drove through the entire park and stopped at just about every place we could, admiring the scenery and the artifacts there. The colors in the petrified wood were beautiful, and there were some places that we were able to walk among the logs to see them better.
DSCN1476

DSCN1476

Petrified trees

Petrified trees


There were also a few hikes that we took today. One was all the way down to the desert floor in a badlands section of the park. It was really neat to be walking there right up close.
Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Just Awesome

Just Awesome

What a beauty.

What a beauty.

Gotta like that red!

Gotta like that red!

Couple of old people.

Couple of old people.

Notice the layers of color

Notice the layers of color


We had our picnic lunch again and finally headed east. Our stopping spot for tonight is Gallup, New Mexico and it is the first time we have been shut out of a campground on this trip. Because of the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta starting on Saturday, everything for miles and miles around is full. We are actually dry camping tonight. Right now it is a little warm, but I hope it will cool down some.
We had another beautiful day, 85 and sunny. On our way into New Mexico we did have a few sprinkles, but that's all. We are back in the Mountain Time Zone which means we lost 1 hour today when we arrived in New Mexico.

Posted by jcorilio 11:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

A Little Touristing

Sedona, Arizona

sunny 81 °F

We drove through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona this morning and spent the morning there. What an amazing canyon with huge rock walls! The town is very nice with gorgeous red rock spires all around it. Then we drove through the town of Oak Creek and through more of the red rocks. It was so impressive and we had a beautiful day to enjoy the scenery.
Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon

More canyon

More canyon


Downtown Sedona

Downtown Sedona

So red!

So red!

Great views from town

Great views from town

Sedona

Sedona


After a picnic lunch we checked out Historic Downtown Flagstaff. It was nice, but not exactly what we were expecting.
Our campground is about 1/2 mile from a trailhead so that was our next stop. The trailhead is located at the base of Mt. Eldin and there were many trails to choose from. We chose Fatman's Loop. Don't laugh, we didn't even do the entire loop! We conveniently forgot that the sun sets here at 6:15 and, while we are in pretty good physical shape, we are at an elevation of 7000 feet! Oh well, we did get in a good hike, just not all of it.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day here with highs in the low 80s. When we were in Sedona this morning it was already in the high 80s! Flagstaff has a much better climate!

Posted by jcorilio 19:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

An Oasis in the Desert

Flagstaff, Arizona

sunny 76 °F

We decided that today was only going to be a little more than 200 miles, so we could take our time and sightsee along the way. We crossed the Colorado River and headed into Arizona. Now we are back in Mountain Time, but Arizona doesn't use daylight savings, so it gets dark really early here. We didn't realize this until evening, though.
Our first stop was the little town of Ash Fork, Arizona. It is on the Historic Route 66 and is known to be the Flagstone Capital of the United States. There was a cute little museum there with many interesting artifacts that we perused.
Ash Fork Museum

Ash Fork Museum

Ash Fork Museum

Ash Fork Museum


Next came Williams, Arizona. You may remember we stayed in Williams and visited the Grand Canyon back in July. I really love the town, so we stopped for lunch at a great sandwich shop that we found the last time we were here. We also walked Main Street, Route 66, again.
Watch out for wildlife!

Watch out for wildlife!


Finally we arrived at our destination of Flagstaff, Arizona, and set up camp. Once we were all set up we headed out to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. It was wonderful! Sunset Crater is a cinder volcano that erupted sometime between 1040 and 1100, and is the most recent in a 6,000,000 year history of volcanic activity in this area! One interesting fact is that there has been little in the way of plant growth in the last 1,000 years. This is due, in part, to the dry climate of this area. Pictures from 100 years ago look almost identical to the mountain today! We drove to a few lookout spots in the park and were able to see the Painted Desert in the distance. A hike around the lava beds was really informative, as we ran into a Park Ranger on the walk.
Sunset Crater

Sunset Crater

Pyroclastic material

Pyroclastic material

Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Flagstaff

Flagstaff

Twisted tree

Twisted tree

Cinder Cone Volcano

Cinder Cone Volcano


On our way back to the campground it had already started to get dark, sunset 6:18 pm, and that is when we remembered about Arizona not using Daylight Savings Time.
Today was a gorgeous day, high 84 while traveling, but mid 70s while hiking and already down into the low 60s. Perfect :)
I am finally getting all my photos in the correct spot on the blog site. Not all yet, but they are coming!

Posted by jcorilio 19:52 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Don't Needle Me!

Needles, California

sunny 99 °F

A little learning is good for everyone, even on vacation! Our learning was done at the Borax Visitor Center right in Boron, California. It is where the 20 Mule Team Borax is mined and really an amazing place. It is the largest open pit mine in the world. Right now the pit is 2 1/2 miles wide, 1 1/2 miles long and about 800 feet deep. What an impressive sight (site)! Originally boron was mined in Death Valley and they used the 20 mule team to transport it to Mojave, about 175 miles. Then, when boron was discovered in Boron, the mining was done underground. That was done for about 30 years until the open pit mining began. All very interesting and a good way to start our day. Boron is a tired little town that was so windy last night we thought we would blow away!
They look so real!

They look so real!

Borax mine

Borax mine

Pretty deep!

Pretty deep!


The rest of the day was spent driving to Needles, California along the Needles Highway. It was desert and mountains, again, and very interesting landscapes. Many portions of the land were black and we thought they had been burned. When getting closer we realized it was black rock, we assume basalt.
Mountains of Mohave Desert

Mountains of Mohave Desert

The Mohave Desert

The Mohave Desert


Our campground is right on the Colorado River, and it is nice to see water and green grass again. Don even took a dip in the river. He said it was refreshing, but there is a strong current out in the middle, so he stayed near shore.
Colorado River

Colorado River

I swam here.

I swam here.


The weather today was definitly desert weather, with a high of 99 and sunny.

Posted by jcorilio 19:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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