Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day 88, Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Oasis RV Park, Van Horn, TX

Site 19
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Oasis RV Park, Van Horn, TX - 178.4 Miles, 5,803.8 Miles for the Trip

I stretched out breakfast, hoping the rain would stop long enough to hook up, but it never stopped, all the way to Van Horn. Brief bits of sun, but mostly rain. It got colder the further south I went (something is wrong with that!) Anyhow, I arrived at the Oasis RV Park in Van Horn, TX around 2:30 (lost an hour with a time zone change to central time). A level, full hookup site (#19) on gravel/dirt for $27.00 with a Good Sam's discount. I stayed here in 2016, and complained that the shower head fell off when I tried to adjust it, and that it was difficult to put back on. Well, it finally completely fell off - no shower head, but because of the design, no threads to put my travel shower head on in place of the broken one. It is that kind of place. Clean, and it looks like the owner tries to keep it up, but very worn. Good AT&T & Verizon coverage, as well as park WiFi that I didn't try.

The original plan was to unhook & head to a laundromat, but there was a sign at the RV park stating it had a laundry, so I left the truck connected, tossed my clothes in the laundry basket and headed for the pool. Yes, the pool. The pool is also a laundromat, exercise room, used clothing sales, and stage for both movies & performances. A cold wind was blowing in through an open section of windows that didn't close. There were 10 or so washers & dryers alternating along one wall. $2.50 wash & $3.00 dry. Towards the end of my dryer run, the rain got heavy enough that the roof leaked a bit over the machines, the only place available to fold my clothes.

All in all, not high on my recommendation list, but OK for an overnight stop (although I do recommend finding a real laundromat). Oh, one more thing - an active railroad goes by next door.

I remembered enjoying dinner at Chuy's Mexican restaurant across the street the last time I was here, so I went again this time. Fish tacos (3) with rice & beans, and very hot green sauce. Again, a good meal for $12.00 with iced tea.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Day 87, Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Leasburg Dam State Park, NM

Site 29
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Leasburg Dam State Park, NM - 95.8 Miles, 5,625.4 Miles for the Trip

No rush to get out of Faywood Hot Springs since I was only planning to drive around 100 miles to Leasburg Dam State Park. On the other hand, if I left early enough, there was a chance of getting a site with hookups, a good idea for today since the clouds are pretty heavy, and predicted to hang around.

Most of the times I pulled into the Leasburg Dam after 12:00, the non reserved sites were gone. I pulled out around 9:30, and did find a small, back in site available for one night that required unhooking & parking the truck next to the trailer. I'm in site 29, an almost level electric & water site with a shaded picnic table a short walk to the bathrooms & showers.

As I pulled in, I discovered an Escape 21 parked in site 27. They are a full time couple that have been following my blog. They are staying in New Mexico long enough to make the out-of-state pass worth the $225.00 they charge (Only $100.00 for residents over 62). With that, I believe dry sites are free & sites with hookups $4.00/$8.00 per night. I almost made enough stays this year to make it worth it, but didn't get the ticket.

After setting up I read for awhile, visited next door, then headed to Walmart to restock the refrigerator. I hoped to find El Monterey Chicken, Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese Empanadas, since I found them in the Las Cruces Walmart last time I was here, but no luck. While El Monterey still lists them on their web site & refers you to the nearest Walmart to buy them, I haven't seen them in over a year.

Dinner was a thin crust frozen pizza.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 29, 2018

Day 86, Monday, October 29, 2018 - Faywood Hot Springs Resort, Deming, NM

Site 17, Faywood Hot Springs Resort
Monday, October 29, 2018 - Faywood Hot Springs Resort, Deming, NM - 3.3 Miles, 5,529.6 Miles for the Trip

I packed up the rest of the trailer, my 9'X12' doormat, stove, etc and was ready to leave around 10:00. Since that was a bit early (official check in time at Faywood is 2:00) I sat around for an hour, then headed out.

While Faywood Hot Springs Resort is anything but a "Resort", it also doesn't charge resort prices. $27.44 for a full hook up site, although it is the first campground that has an extra charge for more than one person (maybe because the use of the hot springs is free to campers). In any case, I'm in a pull through (site 17) on gravel. Along with the campsite photo, I included one of the reflection of a Yucca in my entry door window taken at City of Rocks which you can see at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The site is a short walk to the bathroom & shower (yes, just one of each) and a bit longer walk to the hot springs. The have both clothing required, and clothing optional pools (as well as a clothing optional section of the campground). I did some soaking in one of the hot springs - not the nicest, but far from the worst I've been to. After a half hour of so, it was back to the trailer for some lunch & reading, then, after my 3:00 eye drops, back to the hot spring.

After a shower, thankfully with hard water, at least compared to that at City of Rocks so it didn't take 15 minutes to rinse, I sat outside reading until dinner time. Dinner was a microwaved Tai Pai Orange Chicken. While the chunks of chicken were barely recognizable, the rest of the meal was pretty good for microwaved Chinese food. A couple of advantages over most of the frozen Chinese dinners is that it included the rice, and was actually sized for one person.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Day 85, Sunday, October 28, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 12

Sunday, October 28, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 12, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Another quiet day, although it must have been Escape visitor's day. Three Escape owners stopped by to say hello, one of which is staying in a 19 on the other side of the park.

Other than visiting with people I've met on the road, I spent the day outside reading. I though about packing up like I usually do the day before leaving, but since I don't have to be out of the site until 2:00, and I'm only going a mile of two down the road (assuming there are sites available at Faywood Hot Springs) I can wait until tomorrow to pack.

Dinner was a couple of chicken & apple brats, along with some peaches and potato chips.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 84, Saturday, October 27, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 11

Saturday, October 27, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 11, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Well, today was boring enough that I almost forgot to make a post! I spent all of it sitting outside reading. I did go for a short walk, then walked to the visitor center for a shower. That was about it for the day.

Dinner was the rest of yesterday's fried chicken and potato salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Day 83, Friday, October 26, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 10

Late Day Lighting & Interesting Clouds
Friday, October 26, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 10, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

After dinner last night I walked around the campground & took a few photographs of the nice sky & late day light.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

This morning I moved outside as soon as it warmed up, and did some reading, enjoying the sun. Eventually, I got a call from Walgreens that my prescription was ready so I headed to Deming to pick it up. I also stopped at Pepper's Grocery for a couple of items, as well as chicken & potato salad for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Day 82, Thursday, October 25, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 9

Bird Attack!
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 9, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

A slow morning. I made bacon, eggs & home fries for a late breakfast to use up the bacon before its expiration date.

I walked around the electric loop to see what new RVs arrived, walked to the office & back, but spent most of the day sitting outside reading. The John D. MacDonald book Nothing Can Go Wrong is not one of his novels or Travis McGee mysteries (a wonderful series of 21 books that originated the "Florida" detective style. Instead, it is non fiction about his time on the last cruise of the last American cruise ship written by both him & the captain of the S. S. Mariposa. Much slower than his usual novels, but an interesting view of the cruise ship industry. Written in 1981 about a trip in 1977, it shows a very different industry than today.

A bird became very interested in the bird in my truck mirror - where do you thing the term "bird brain" came from? I put the 80 - 400 zoom lens on the D850 & took a few photos of him/her attacking the bird in the mirror. I believe it is a cactus wren, but the colors are a bit different from those in my bird book. In any case, a bit of entertainment for the afternoon.

Dinner was a steak, pepper & onion sandwich made with left overs from last night's dinner and today's breakfast, and a peach cup.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Day 81, Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 8

The New Running Boards
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 8, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

I got a call that the running board shipment was in, so I headed back to Deming this morning. Took an hour or so to install, then headed over to Peppers to pick up a steak & some yogurt. I was back at the campground a little before noon.

A very nice day - I sat outside in the sun for much of the afternoon, then headed for a shower after my 3:00 eye drops. After that it was more reading. I finished Robert Parker's A Catskill Eagle, one of his better Spenser mysteries, and started a John D. MacDonald (and Captain John H. Kilpack) novel that I haven't read. I though I'd read everything that MacDonald wrote, but found Nothing Can Go Wrong.

Dinner was a "T" Bone steak & mashed potatoes.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Day 80, Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 7

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 7, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

A boring day. Rain off & on, sometimes fairly heavy & steady. There was an hour break where I walked the main road around the campground, but no more than 5 minutes after I returned to the trailer, the rain started back again. I did a lot of reading. Finished Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach, which I enjoyed. That & my usual forums & blogs was about it for the day. Seems awfully wet for the desert, although I know this is the rainy season.

I thought about heading to the bathrooms for a shower, but I'd get soaked just getting there. By the way, the showers are only OK. No bench (in the regular shower; there is one in the handicapped shower), lots of hooks, the standard high pressure, low volume showerhead, push button that lasts about 20 seconds, and lukewarm water that is cool by the time it reaches half way down your body due to the fine spray showerhead. the other day when someone was in the standard stall, I showered in the handicapped one - the handheld showerhead was far more practical, and the water was warm enough to be comfortable. All of it is super soft water that takes multiple rinsing to get rid of the "slick" feel.

Dinner was a chicken thigh & leg along with the rest of the potato salad from yesterday's purchase at Pepper's.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 22, 2018

Day 79, Monday, October 22, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 6,

Monday, October 22, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 6, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Well, I was planning to show a photo of the new running boards on the truck, but when they attempted to install them, they discovered that running boards for a Super Crew Cab rather than the Super Cab were delivered. They didn't fit, so it will be another day or two before the replacements arrive. It would be nice if there were standard names for the different door & seating arrangements between brands (or even over the years for the same brand, but they don't, so ordering parts can get confusing. I had the same problem with the Tacoma; they had a couple of different names for the different models.

Other than that I did OK on the run to Deming. I picked up some supplies & groceries from Walmart & Pepper's Supermarket, had my eye pressure test at the Southwestern Eye Center, and got the address for their partners in Lake Havasu City, where I'll be when it is time for my visual field test. I think I'm doing OK pressure wise, but will talk with Oswego eye doctor later in the week to make sure she is happy with the results.

By the time I finished with everything, it was 3:30, so I picked up some fried chicken and potato salad for dinner at Pepper's Supermarket. Both were excellent.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Day 78, Sunday, October 21, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 5

Some of City of Rocks Rocks
Sunday, October 21, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 5, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Happy 48th Birthday to my son Kyle!

A cloudy Sunday. I started the day by sleeping late listening to the puzzle on NPR, then a lazy breakfast & forum reading. As it warmed up, I went for a walk with my camera taking some photos of the rocks. While I have lots of them, most of these were at a section I haven't visited before. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I got an automated call that my prescriptions were ready, but I'll wait until tomorrow to head to Deming when I hope the running boards are here & ready to install.

Dinner was a chicken pot pie.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Day 77, Saturday, October 20, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 4

Site E5
Saturday, October 20, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 4, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Well, the class C in one of the first come sites started packing up, and since the volunteer that checked me into the host site for the weekend told me I could move to the first available first come site, I packed up the trailer & headed to site E5. When I got there the ranger let me know that someone else had already paid for the site. Seems a different volunteer let someone else have the site. Oh well, I am no better or worse off than I was before the attempted move, although I did have to break down & set up for nothing. I can't really blame anyone since it was different people, and they don't really do reservations on the first come sites. I can still move to a dry site on Monday, although my favorites are still filled.

A warm, but windy day. 70°F at 12:30, but a bit too windy to sit outside. The clouds are heavier than yesterday; little sunshine. So far I spent the day reading. Current book - J. A. Jance's Remains of Innocence. I swear I've read it, but it isn't in my "read books" database. I did lose a bunch of records a few years back - that might be the reason. Almost like a new book with just vague hints of what is coming.

I got email & a text message from Verizon letting me know I have used 90% of this month's allotment of data on my Jetpack (15GB before it slows down to 600KB for the rest of the month). Not a real problem other than inconvenience since I still have unlimited on the phone & iPad. Both can be hotspots, and while the phone has the same speed reduction after 15GB, at least according to the Verizon website, the iPad does not have any data limit reduction. I'm using the phone now, and it is well under 1GB. Seems a bit silly on Verizon's part since I'll be using the same amount of data, just on different devices. AT&T's restrictions make more sense - after 22GB, they slow you down only on congested towers. While I've never been slowed down on AT&T, even after using 40GB, I can't use them here - no AT&T service other than very spotty phone service. I got a voice mail that I couldn't understand, and can't originate phone calls. Of course none of this makes much sense since both networks call their data service "Unlimited", and all their services are limited.

Well the site problem has been solved. The person who paid for site E5 never showed up. The office called & they didn't call back, so the site went to the next person in line - ME! I'm now parked in site E5 until Monday, the 29th. Same view out the back window, and a bit closer to the bathrooms & showers. You probably can't tell the difference, but I included a new site photo anyway.

Since it is still fairly warm out (although windy), I decided to attempt grilling a Beyond burger along with some Bush Bourbon & Brown Sugar Beans, and a cling peaches cup.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, October 19, 2018

Day 76, Friday, October 19, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 3

Sunset Outside My Back Window
Friday, October 19, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Today was a big move; from site E7 to E4, which involved backing across a gravel road. I did learn at least one lesson. I left my water hose connected & tucked the free end into the trailer bumper. While backing, it caught on the campground water spigot, and caused one side of the trailer connection to jump a thread, i.e. it cross threaded the water connection. Took about 10 minutes with a pair of pliers to straighten things out. The moral? Don't take shortcuts! I should be here in one of the host sites for three days unless the new hosts show up earlier than they planned, in which case I'll have to move. In any case, I will have to move Monday.

Other than that the move was simple. I now have a nice view out the back of the trailer. I took a few photos during the afternoon, and later at sunset. I'm not sure it will be a good night for star photos because the moon is already up & pretty bright. The afternoon was beautiful. Around 72°F and mixed sun & clouds. A little too much wind, but I did get to sit outside for a couple of hours.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a chicken Parmesan frozen dinner (well, it wasn't frozen when I ate it!).

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Day 75, Thursday, October 18, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 2

Thursday, October 18, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Another dreary day. Rain off & on, and a high of 51°F. While there is heavy cloud cover, on the edge of the sky to the south, there is a bit of blue.

I didn't do much during the day other than read both my current book (David Baldacci's The Camel Club) and some on line forums & blogs. I took a break when the rain did as well, and went for a walk around the campground. Lots of sites are blocked with cones - not sure why, but one of them is one I've stayed in before. My favorite two dry sites both have campers, so unless they leave, on Sunday I'm not sure where I'll go.

Dinner was a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 74, Wednesday, October 17, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM

The view From My Site
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, 109.6 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

A cold morning, but warmer than yesterday. I packed up the trailer & headed out. A relatively short drive to Deming, where I filled up on gas, stopped at a laundromat and did two loads of clothes, then stopped at a garage and ordered running boards for the truck. While I usually don't have a problem getting into the truck, both Don & Anne do. We even carried a step stool for Anne to get into the back seat. So, now that I'm stopped for a couple of days in the same location, I decided to add them. Too late for Anne on this trip, but there will be others in the future.

I then drove the 26 miles to City of Rocks State Park, my favorite New Mexico park. I usually dry camp, but a powered site was available for two days, and it is cloudy enough that I wouldn't be able to put back my usual usage with the solar panels, so I'm in site E7, an electric & water site for $18.00 per night (normally $14.00 per night, but I reserved on line, and had to pay an $8.00 reservation fee.)

I checked, and little or no AT&T service (at least data, and my phone shows no service) but Verizon works fine, and a check of data speed shows 63.2MB download, and 7.7MB upload; not too shabby!

I headed for the showers - unheated, and it is only 53°F outside (and inside). It took 3-4 cycles of the push button for the shower to get warm (it never got hot) but it was nice not to have to worry about filling the gray tank in the trailer. Overall, a rather cloudy & windy day, with little change predicted for the future.

By the time I got back to the trailer, it was time to start dinner. Barber Chicken Cordon Bleu, a Knorr's Chicken & Broccoli side, with snap peas.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day 73, Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM, Day 2

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,416.7 Miles for the Trip

Not much happening today. Rain off & on overnight and all day long. It did get up to 50°F, but is cooling off this afternoon. Other than sitting around the trailer reading both my Kindle & some forums, about all I did is make a chicken stew for dinner. Not bad, although I forgot to buy an onion yesterday, so had to use onion flakes - not as good, but it worked.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 72, Monday, October 15, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM

Elephant Butte Lake, NM
Monday, October 15, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM, 172.9 Miles, 5,416.7 Miles for the Trip

We said our good byes this morning, with Don & Anne starting for home & heading to Santa Rosa State Park, while I'm heading south to Elephant Butte Lake State Park. Very sad not to see the rear end of a Scamp in front of me, and I'll miss traveling with both of them!

I arrived here around 2:00, and found a pull through site (#18) that worked as long as I pulled in backwards. Fortunately, the trailer is small enough that I could turn around. Like all New Mexico state parks, only $14.00 per night for an electric & water site, one of the best state parks prices in the country. I'm quite aways from the showers & bathroom, but that doesn't matter because they are unheated, and today's high was 48°F. I did hook up the water since the weather report says it is only going down to 36°F tonight.

After setting up I headed to Walmart for some supplies, then back to the campground. I took a photo of the lake. Like most of those in the southwest, it is way below normal level.

Dinner was a Kahiki General Tso's Chicken Bowl & Roll. The bowl was a bit hot for me, and only 2 pieces of soggy chicken (it is a microwave only meal) but the egg roll was pretty good.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 71, Sunday, October 14, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 4

A Rainbow on the Way Home From the Santa Fe Ski Area
Sunday, October 14, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 4, 0 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

For those interested, I added the evening glow & fireworks photos to yesterday's page. Sorry I didn't post it until today, but i got home to late to put it together.

Because it too so long to get into the park on Saturday morning (we missed much of the morning glow & dawn lift offs) we decided to leave even earlier this morning - up at 3:30 and on the road at 4:30. No traffic on the road, and we were directed to the closest handicap parking lot, just a short walk to the main gate, i.e., we were about an hour early. Only problem - it started to rain, and the wind picked up. The morning glow (about all that was scheduled for the day) was called off. The good - our tickets can be used next year. Of course that only works if we are back next year, but who knows?

After heading back to the campground at 7:30AM, we all napped a bit, then headed to Santa Fe to see some sites recommended by one of Don's designers who lived there before coming to Binghamton. It wasn't the ideal day for sightseeing with fog, and light to medium rain off & on (mostly on). We did see the Loretto Chapel with its spiral staircase to the choir loft. While claimed as a miracle in that it doesn't have a center pole, I can't see anything that couldn't be done by a good carpenter. Maybe I've spent too much time dealing with stage sets! In any case, a pretty chapel both inside & out.

We ate lunch at the Plaza Cafe, highly recommended by Jane & Michael Stern in one of their Roadfood series. Good food, although the first fish taco I've eaten that requires the use of a knife & fork; you can't pick it up to eat.

After that we drove to the Santa Fe Ski Area. While too early for skiing, it wasn't too early for snow. A couple of inches of wet show at the top of the mountain (which was around 10,500'). After driving to ski area we headed home, stopping a few times for photos. We did get a few photos of the turning aspen. Pretty, but not up to an Adirondack Fall. Photos of Santa Fe & the drive to the ski area are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

We arrived back at the campground around 6:45. It is definitely cooling off. Around 43°F here in the campground. It was 37°F at Santa Fe, going down to freezing at the Ski Area. Dinner, if any, will be cheese & crackers. Lunch was filling!

Until Tomorrow -

Day 70, Saturday, October 13, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3

The Evening Glow
Saturday, October 13, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

Another early morning. The traffic was so bad that we stop & go in the right lane of I 25 for over a mile. It only took a half hour to drive to the point where we stopped, but close to another hour to get into the park. As usual, there were those that passed on the left, then tried (usually successfully) to jam their way into the line further down the road. One even pulled in at the end of the exit ramp.

We ended up parked the furtherest from the ticket booth of any of our visits, even with Don's Handicapped tag. A long walk to the gate, but on the way out we got a ride from one of the golf cart shuttles.

We missed the morning glow, and it looked like a good one - about a dozen balloons. Very crowded liftoffs, with a light wind. Fairly heavy, low clouds, so most of the balloons stayed very low over their ride.

I posted a few images at today's page, all of them at a Lightroom Web page.

We were back at the trailer around 11:00 after getting the cheapest gas of the trip at $2.50 per gallon and driving by what would have been the most expensive dry camping ( $70.00 per night if we had stayed) both at the Sandia Casino.

Dinner was a taco salad at the travel center.

More later.

It's later. We headed into the fiesta & they found an entirely new place for us to park. Too far to walk, but they had shuttles, a combined bus & golf cart ride. Evidently there were still too many vehicles in the regular parking lots to use them. Today was the most crowded of the fiesta - they had to close the roads for parking because all lots were filled (they were still taking walk-ins). Even the evening field was crowded.

They did a "Night Magic Glow", with hundreds of balloons glowing, but not flying. Hard to shoot because of the light contrast between the glowing balloons & the dark areas, but I got a few. I also made a movie or two that I'll post at a later date. After the glow they did the last fireworks show. We watched it from the parking lot. Not an ideal location like our previous fireworks shoots, but again, I posted a few at today's page, more of both the glow & the fireworks at tonight's Lightroom web built page. Lots of wiggles in the fireworks images - All are handheld because I couldn't use a tripod; too many vehicles between me and the field.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, October 12, 2018

Day 69, Friday, October 12, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2

A Collection of Balloons
Friday, October 12, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

As mentioned in yesterday's journal, we went back to the Fiesta for their fireworks after dinner, and I didn't add the images until this afternoon. The first two photos are a combination of sky divers & fireworks, an interesting combination. The rest are standard fireworks, 3 pages of them (I get carried away).

Again, as mentioned, an early start to the day, getting up at 4:00AM & hitting the Fiesta around 5:30. Very calm winds, and only high clouds, so lots of balloon launches, including a morning glow. Most of the "glow" is done in sequence, i.e. one balloon after another. That works well visually, and as a video, but for still cameras it often leaves one or more blanks between balloons. I wish they would do a "photographer's special" of all the balloons lit at the same time for a second or two. In any case, I did get most of them.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the grounds taking photos of balloons. Around 9:30, Don dropped his camera & lens off at the Canon booth. They have a great set up - free cleaning of a body & one lens. They also have free "rental" of many of their cameras & lenses for a day. I wish Nikon did the same!

After Don picked up his camera at 10:00, we headed back to the van, stopping to take pictures of the sky divers, and ask Ford how my new truck lets me know it is time for an oil change. Again, far too many photos, but you don't have to look at them all! Photos are at a Lightroom web generated set of pages.

I'll probably post any photos I take this evening tomorrow, since it is going to be another early morning.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 68, Thursday, October 11, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM

A Balloon Over the Escape
Thursday, October 11, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, 21.2 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

Well, as you can see by our location, we didn't manage to talk the campground staff into letting us stay for the weekend. We didn't really expect to since they were fully booked, but we tried.

So, we are back at the Black Mesa Casino, or is it the San Felipe Casino shown on my credit card receipt, or is it the Hollywood Casino, which is the name at least one of the locals calls it. In any case, we are here, and not at the Black Mesa Golf Course in Santa Fe, which is also on a reservation, and may or may not, depending on who you ask, have a casino.

At 6:30AM, as we were getting ready to leave for the Fiesta, a moving "Glow" went over the campground. I took a bunch of photos, mot of which were useless because I didn't know it was coming, and didn't have a tripod available. In any case, I put a couple on the web page.

Today was the Special Shapes Rodeo, and I took far too many pictures. There are 4 pages of them in a Lightroom web display starting here. (While there are a few at today's LakeshoreImages page, they are also on the previous link.

When we got back to the campground, there were a few balloons still going over my trailer, so I took a few photos of them as well. The lighting was rough - heavy clouds covered the sun much of the day, resulting in dull lighting, with quick breaks of sunshine off & on. All in all, a fun day at the Fiesta. We will be going back tonight for the evening's events.

Dinner was at the Travel Center Cafe. Much better food & selection than at the Kitchen in the Casino, although a bit more expensive. I had a so so country fried steak, but will try one of the Mexican dishes next time.

After dinner we headed back to the Fiesta for the evening Special Shapes "Glow", but it was windy enough that it never happened. After listening to some terrible singing, we headed back to the car and moved it to a part of the parking lot that had a good view of the fireworks. They started with a night time parachute jump, then did the usual show in two locations. I only photographed the one near me. I'm not going to add the fireworks photos until tomorrow because it is already 9:30 and I'll be getting up at 4:00AM for the 22 mile drive to the Fiesta grounds.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 67, Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 3

An Unusual Chase Vehicle
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 5,222.6 Miles for the Trip

We got to sleep in a bit, hitting the bus shuttle stop at 5:30AM, late compared to yesterday. We boarded the school bus heading into the campground, and made the loop around the whole thing. We have been very lucky. Our sites are near the registration tent, which I thought was at the center of the campground. Nope - there is at least 3/4 more campground after it. This place is huge! I hope it is large enough that when we ask for an extension tomorrow morning (the earliest they would let us ask) we can get one. There has been a long line of trailers entering the campground all day, but it still looks like there are plenty of spaces. One is next to Don & Anne, which is much appreciated.  The Class B that was parked there had the loudest built in RV generator I've ever heard, and he ran it almost all the time allowed. The other good thing is we are in a pair of small sites in which most of the arrivals wouldn't fit.

While it was cold & windy, there was no rain this morning. They didn't do the Glow, and the only balloon that inflated before 9:00 was the American Flag one, and they left as soon as inflated. A very fast takeoff.

Around 9:00 the green flag went up and slowly the balloons inflated. Again, it was quite windy. Any inflated balloon that had to hang around waiting for the launch directors to give them permission to launch were rocking quite a bit. A few inflated, then deflated rather than flying. I made a couple of videos of the early launches, starting here: Movie 1.

I also took the usual bunch of photographs which are posted at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After a quick breakfast burrito at 12:00, we headed to the Balloon Museum. $4.00 for Seniors over 65. Unfortunately, I didn't catch that part of the price list and paid $6.00 - the out-of-state charge. I don't mind the donation. An interesting place. I took a few photos, but much of the exhibits consisted of written information. Check out the photo of the Los Angeles Air Ship when hit by strong tail winds on a tall anchor. Almost completely vertical!

Don & Anne went looking for a place for showers while I spent some time with the guy from Action RV set up next to our sites. I have to put in a plug for them - he spent over an hour looking for a 200 amp replacement fuse for my inverter, then, when his suppliers couldn't come up with one, phoned all over Albuquerque looking for a source. He found one at the NAPA distribution center and gave me directions to get there. One of the best RV shops I've dealt with. They are in Bosque Farms, NM at 505 294 1654. If you need something for RVing, I recommend them! If Don & Anne get back in time, we will grill a pork loin, otherwise it is going to be another restaurant meal!

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Day 66, Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 2

Many, Many Balloons in the Air, Including Us!
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,222.6 Miles for the Trip

Another early day, but well worth it, even though I had to put off my morning coffee because my inverter wouldn't start.

We were not sure the balloon ride we had scheduled for this morning would happen. Very little wind, but it was raining. We rode the shuttle from the campground to the main gate, then walked to the sign in area, then had an hour to wait for our "march" to the balloon. By that time the rain had stopped and the clouds started to clear. The pilot was great - Kris Braden flying Dust In The Wind, an 8 passenger balloon. The ride one of the most enjoyable things I've done. After bouncing around in helicopters, I wasn't sure ballooning was for me, but it is a completely different experience. I'm hooked!

We were in the air for a little over an hour, including passing within range (but not really with a 17 - 35mm lens) of our trailers in the campground, seeing hundreds of other balloons in the air, then landed in the back of a school. The kids mobbed us, and the pilot gave them a chance to climb into the balloon basket, even help push it across the field. We had a great time. Lots more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I made a short video of part of the ride & posted it at YouTube: The Balloon Video.

After the balloon ride we dropped off Don & Ann's van at Toyota to have the air conditioning fixed, and we went to do laundry. After returning to the trailer, I put the laundry away, then checked a couple of things with the inverter (no luck) then headed to Walmart for some supplies. I was hoping to get a new trailer tongue lock, but the only one they had had the bar code torn off & no one could price it.

Back at the trailer I dug into the battery connections and discovered the 200 amp fuse to the inverter was cracked. I'll have to find a new one (and a spare) but after fiddling with it (a technical term) it seems to be working. We will see with tomorrow morning's coffee whether it holds up under load.

After that we headed over to some folks we met with an Airstream, sat around & snacked & talked traveling. No actual dinner tonight - we had Subway subs for a late lunch, and with the snacks, no one was hungry.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 8, 2018

Day 65, Monday, October 8, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM

Our Sites at the Balloon Fiesta
Monday, October 8, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, 21.7 Miles and 10', 5,222.6 Miles for the Trip

Finally, a lazy day. Didn't get up until 8:30, made breakfast & coffee & sat around until 11:30. We headed to the Fiesta campground and waited in a very long line to register. After filling the fresh water tanks, we were guided to our sites. We were told there would be no chance of getting 2 sites together, but that is what we got. Only problem is the volunteer that guided us thought our spaces were 3 sites, rather than 2, and parked us way too close together. I thought it was just the fiesta cramming in as many as possible, but Anne complained that she couldn't even get her awning out, and someone in management came over & told us it was 2, not 3 sites. Of course that was after I had set up, so I had to pack up to move 10'. We are next door to the registration booth, a bit of a haul to the balloon launch area, but it is a large area and we could be much further away. There are shuttles, not sure how often they run or if they can get us to our early morning balloon ride tomorrow.

After setting up for the second time, Don & Anne headed to Sam's Club for a set of tires for the van, & I wandered over to the Action RV booth & bought an Anderson Leveler to replace the one I somehow left behind. I got a good recommendation for a Hot Spring in T&C, NM, so I might stop on the way south.

Dinner was pizza from Mario's, along with a salad. While they said they would deliver to the campground, Don & Anne brought it back on the way back from getting tires.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Day 64, Sunday, October 7, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Lots of Ballons
Sunday, October 7, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, 0 Miles, 5,200.9 Miles for the Trip

I didn't post yesterday's page until this morning. I was so wiped by the time we got back from the fireworks, I just hit the sack knowing that today was another 3:45AM morning. So, I'll post this page before tonight, and add some photos of the fireworks if they happen.

They canceled all flights and the organized morning "Glow" because of bad weather. They eventually did a Propane Glow, with hundreds of baskets firing off their propane without a balloon. Later, as the day warmed up, there was a major inflation, but not flying of balloons. If they ever did a mass ascension with the number of balloons on the grounds, it would be impressive. As it stands, that many balloons on the ground was impressive as well. As usual, I used the Lightroom Web Generator to make a couple of pages of this morning's visit. I did add the panoramas I made here since the image size using Lightroom doesn't allow mixing 1000 pixel wide images with 8000 pixel wide, the width I use with large panoramas. Check the The 47th Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta page for updates

We wandered around the grounds taking photos, then headed back to the campground around 8:45.

After returning to the campground, I worked on the morning photos, then we headed out to visit the Petroglyph National Monument. Anne bought her pin, and Don & I, of course, bought "T" shirts. While I started the trip with just enough "T" shirts to get through 2 weeks, I now have a closet full, and enough for a month!

There are a number of trails at the monument, however because of the weather (very windy & light rain) we only did one of them at Boca Negro Canyon. A short, but steep hike up a "paved" trail )while paved, much of it was rocks, including using them as steps). Not too difficult & lots of Petroglyphs along the way.

On the way back to the parking lot Don discovered a Tarantula & I got a couple of photos. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

We also stopped at a Sam's Club, my first. I need a larger freezer! Some interesting frozen stuff that I've never seen before, but packages of 8 - 12 pieces, more than my little 6 cubic foot refrigerator can hold in the freezer.

Back at the campground I took down my Easy Up. It held up well in all the wind over the last two days, but we are leaving tomorrow to camp on the Fiesta grounds, and there isn't any sun to hide from.

Dinner is going to be a sandwich at the Kitchen, the Casino restaurant. After that we will head for the fireworks.

The fireworks were interesting. There was almost no one in the park, if fact no one took our money for parking. We drove to the parking area we were in last night since it had a great view of the fireworks. No one was in the lot. We parked, waited about 5 minutes, and off they went. A great show (afterwards we shouted to the crew thanking them - they were that close to our parking spot). Here is a link to a couple of Lightroom web pages of fireworks photos.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 63, Saturday, October 6, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Pre Dawn Launch
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, 0 Miles, 5,200.9 Miles for the Trip

It was rise & shine at 3:45 this morning for a 4:30AM drive to the Balloon Fiesta site. Traffic on I 25 was backed up almost a mile at the exit for the Fiesta, and it was stop & go all the way to the parking lot. Lots of @%&$(%# (You can insert your own term here) drivers that drove past the mile backup at the exit and forced their way into the waiting traffic just before the off ramp.

The Fiesta in not inexpensive - $15.00 for parking, and $10,00 each to get in. What's more, they consider the morning & evening different "sessions", i.e. you need to buy new parking & entry tickets if you plan to come back at night.

The Fiesta is billed as the largest ballooning event in the US. I believe it. hundreds of balloons taking off in successive groups with new launches occurring all morning. It was ideal ballooning weather - Cool, and light winds in enough layers in different directions that many of the balloons landed back on the field after traveling all over Albuquerque. The "Glow" was interesting, as was the launches before dawn. The lighting got harsh as the sun came over the launch area, particularly when shooting towards it. Quite an experience!

Here are a few examples, more have links posted at a page I started for the Fiesta, or use the link at the bottom of the pictures to get to this morning's photos.

We waited in lines (Anne in a short one for a funnel cake) and Don & I in a very slow moving (45 minute) line to get pins & "T" shirts. After that we headed back to the campground to relax after the early morning.

Dinner was a couple of sandwiches, then back to the Fiesta for the evening fireworks.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, October 5, 2018

Day 62, Friday, October 5, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM

Site 8
Friday, October 5, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM,157.2 Miles, 5,200.9 Miles for the Trip

We stopped on the way out of the campground to dump the tanks & drop off the bathroom keys, then headed east on I 40 to Albuquerque, then north on I 25 to the Black Mesa Casino (also called the San Felipe Casino, the town it is located in). We are in sites B7 & B8, electric only sites for $20.00 per night. No bathrooms, but showers are available at the travel center for $10.00. Our doors face each other, and we set up the EasyUp between the trailers since there is no shade, and it is a bit windy for the awnings. It is both staked & tied down, as well as lowered for the night, so as long as the winds are under hurricane force, it should stay up.

We are about 1/2 hour from the balloon festival site, so we will be able to zip south to catch some of the morning & evening lift offs. The morning flights are early - the suggestion at the website is to arrive at 5:00AM, so we will be leaving the campground at 4:30.

Dinner was at the Casino Kitchen. I had a chicken sandwich, which included bacon, cheese tomato & onions. Lots of French fries. It was OK, and cheap at $7.50, including unlimited soda, but I was hoping for the chicken fried steak meal that was listed for $5.00. Unfortunately, it was only available to those that had player's cards, something that you get after losing money. Since I'm not big on gambling, I didn't have one. One interesting thing - while there is no smoking in any NM buildings (like NY), since the Casino is on a reservation, the rules don't apply. My eyes were burning by the time I finished dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Day 61, Thursday, October 4, 2018 - Red Rock Campground, Gallup, NM, Day 2

The Red Rocks the Park is Named For
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - Red Rock Campground, Gallup, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,043.7 Miles for the Trip

We all slept in this morning. A cool night with the outside temperature getting down to 51°F. It still stayed above 59°F in the trailer so the furnace didn't come on.

Eventually we got started for the day. The plan was to do some shopping for food, beer, and new hooks for Don's trailer chains. Eventually, we found all of it and headed back to the campground by 3:00 or so. I took a couple of photos of the red rocks the park is named for, and one of a formation east of the campground. I used the D800 for the formation picture since it had my 70 - 200mm lens mounted. When I downloaded the photos, I discovered a few from Monument Valley that I forgot to download, so I'm adding a couple to today's LakeshoreImages page.

That was about it for the day. I'm back to reading on the Kindle, and downloaded a couple of new books. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon reading, sitting out in the sun. Still a bit chilly, but OK in the sunshine.

Dinner was shrimp Alfredo & fruit cocktail, with oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Day 60, Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - Red Rock Campground, Gallup, NM

Sites 59 & ^0, Red Rock Campground, Gallup, NM
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - Red Rock Campground, Gallup, NM, 177.7 Miles, 5,043.7 Miles for the Trip

We left Fool Hollow under light rain, and, looking for some red cliffs along the route, followed the suggestions of one of the Toyota drivers that brought Don & Anne back to the campground. I don't know if we went wrong, or his idea of red cliffs was very different from ours, but we never saw them. It did add 30 miles to the trip. In any case, we arrived at Red Pock Campground around 4:40, having lost an hour leaving Arizona.

Red Rock is a sprawling campground, mostly on soft sand (that tracks into everything). Sites have electric & water for $22.00 per night. The bathrooms are locked, but a key arrives with the guy collecting money. We cruised around looking for sites that had shade & would let us park close together, and settled on 59 & 60. The 30 amp receptacle on Don & Anne's site was dead, so we are both plugged into my pedestal, Don & Anne in the 50 amp receptacle with an adapter. Only one water faucet for both sites, but I have a splitter, so it worked out fine.

We continued to look for sites for the next couple of days, concerned with finding anything because of the balloon festival. We have sites in Santa Fe for Friday & Saturday, but it is a long way to go,  and $65.00 per night. There is a Casino about 45 miles west of Albuquerque that has first come sites & they said they have only been half filled, so we will use them for Sunday, and maybe even for Friday & Saturday. Quite a bit cheaper & closer than Santa Fe. In any case, we have reservations during the week at the festival, so we think we are set for the near future. After that, Don & Anne will be heading back to NY, while I hang around NM, eventually heading to Texas, then Arizona.

It was well past dinner time after we finalized our schedule, so we just nuked some chicken patties & pickled beets for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Day 59, Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - Fool Hollow Recreation Area, Show Low, AZ, Day 2

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - Fool Hollow Recreation Area, Show Low, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 4,866 Miles for the Trip

Don called the Toyota dealer here in Show Low to have them look at the van's AC. They dropped him off, and later let him know that there was a hole in the condenser - they might be able to repair it for $900.00 on Thursday. He is checking if his insurance will cover part of it, but will probably have to get it fixed further down the road.

I spent most of the day reading, both books & forums & blogs. It rained off & on throughout the day. I'm hoping it will clear up enough to grill some hamburgers outside for dinner.

Dinner was Bubba Burgers & snap peas.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 1, 2018

Day 58, Monday, October 1, 2018 - Fool Hollow Recreation Area, Show Low, AZ

A Double Site - 4&5

Monday, October 1, 2018 - Fool Hollow Recreation Area, Show Low, AZ, 149.1 Miles, 4,866 Miles for the Trip

A relaxing drive on US 60 from Apache Junction to Show Low. We are in the Fool Hollow Recreation Area. Not sure what the difference between them and a state park, but they are listed as one. We had booked a dual site (24 & 25) for one night since there weren't any two sites that were next to each other available for 2 nights. When we got here we discovered that sites 4&5 were available for 2 nights, so here we are. Water & electric sites for $33.00 per night.

Rain off & on all day, mostly light but a bit heavier as we sat out under Don & Anne's awning.

Dinner was the leftover chicken & artichoke from yesterday.

Until Tomorrow -