Four Corners and Friends

Continuing our catch up posts of our tour last year around the four corners, we could not resist a couple of stops on our way to our next destination just east of Durango to visit our friends, Mike and Linda, and their adorable pup, Lucy.

First on the way was the Four Corners Monument, the only place in the United States where four states – Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah –  intersect at a single point. It had rained recently, so the parking lot and park area, which are not paved, were quite muddy.

Interesting

The monument is a tribal park in the Navajo Nation. There is a granite and brass marker and a Demonstration Center with Navajo artisans and vendors who sell handmade jewelry, crafts and traditional Navajo foods. We managed to take the obligatory touristy photo “touching” all four states.

The next much more interesting side trip was to Mesa Verde National Park. We visited this park years ago, before we became fulltime RVers and knew that we could only make a very brief stop this time around.

So we took the 6-mile driving tour. With short paved trails to views of the Square Tower House, Sun Point Overlook and views of Cliff Palace, it was just enough to wet our appetite to return. Way too short a visit but fine for us at that moment.

There are several breathtaking overlooks of the various groups of ruins along the way.

Of course we ran quite late when arriving at Mike and Linda’s house, but they were completely unfazed (we do appreciate such flexibility!). This was our second experience “moochdocking” –  enjoying the comforts of the RV while parked at a friends’ house.

Linda had cooked a Cuban dish, picadillo, for dinner in honor of Hector and it was delicious. We met these two wonderful people while we were all fulltime RVers. They had sailed around the world prior to that and now they live in a lovely cabin in Colorado. It is a very pretty spot surrounded by big trees and frequented by lots of wildlife. Our kind of place.

We woke up the next morning to a big surprise: SNOW! One of those late spring snows that happens in Colorado. Big, fat, kind of wet snowflakes and just beautiful. Angel particularly appreciated the snow, although she slid around a bit on the wet porch.

If we had to encounter snow while RVing, this was the day to do it. With friends and a warm wood stove to sit by. We had a fun and relaxing time catching up and took a couple of drives including a drive out to dinner in Durango.

Durango is a fabulous town and the area has every possible outdoor activity opportunity (except the ocean). Mining and the railroad made this an important commercial center in the late 1800’s and the discovery and subsequent creation of a National Park at Mesa Verde made it an even more desirable location.

Nowadays, with Purgatory Ski Resort nearby, the town is a combination of a ski town with lots of restaurants and shops and a charming historic town with historic buildings and landmarks. And, nearby, the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a really cool experience to another historic mining town.

But the focus of this trip was spending time with friends.  It was a perfect stop before our next stop in Albuquerque to look for a house once again.

~ Brenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings from Corrales, New Mexico

corrales-1Hi everyone! It has been a long time. Hector, Angel and I send greetings from Corrales, New Mexico. We are doing great and really appreciate those of you who reached out to ask if we were ok, since we sorta did just fall off the face of the earth.

In the previous post we were happily bouncing across parts of the four corners on our way to New Mexico. After Bryce Canyon, we went to Moab, then made a few stops in the four corners area visiting friends along the way and then continued to Albuquerque.Moab-9

We had a nice neat plan to only take a preliminary look at houses and not get serious about buying a place until we sold our Denver house and had cash in hand. But this plan got upended when we went to an open house in Albuquerque and found our dream house. So we bought it! It is a cute little adobe in Corrales, a rural part of Albuquerque, New Mexico.corrales-2

Of course this meant we had a million things to do. Close on the house in Denver, sift through and move our belongings from storage, move out of Island Girl, move into the new house, work on projects around the house etc. Much of it during the hottest part of the summer. More on all that later. Continue reading

The Good People of Albuquerque

When times get tough, the kind of people you have around you matter. Especially when they are mostly strangers. And the good people of Albuquerque provided much needed support during some difficult situations.

A lot has happened after our brief respite in beautiful Taos. Island Girl is fine, but Angel is sick.  I wish it were the reverse.

During our time in Taos, we found out that most of the parts for Island Girl’s repair had arrived at Camping World. And the last and most important part, the fiberglass roof, was scheduled to arrive the following Wednesday. So we developed the perfect plan. We left Taos for Albuquerque on Monday and parked outside Camping World that night.abq  035 (1)

ABQ  012First thing Tuesday morning we delivered Island Girl to the service department. We wanted them to complete the demolition in order to begin the installation work right after the roof arrived on the next day. There was a chance of our getting Island Girl back late Friday, so I booked a bed and breakfast.

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A Taos Respite

taos 30taos 18After Balloon Fiesta ended, Hector and I needed some down time.  So while waiting for parts to arrive for Island Girl’s roof and for additional test results for Angel, we drove to the beautiful town of Taos.  it had been a few years since we spent time there and a Taos respite was just what the doctor ordered.

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Tips for Balloon Fiesta

Balloons 166Major events are usually a learning experience not only for those hosting them, but also for those attending. And the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was no exception. Although as first-timers we are by no means experts, we learned a lot about planning, options for RV camping, getting around the Balloon Fiesta Park and the area around it, and crewing. Below are some tips for Balloon Fiesta that we hope will be helpful to others planning to attend in the future.Balloon 101 015

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Spirit of the Winds

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Balloons  154We had a fabulous time during the first half of the week at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and were looking forward to crewing and participating in the rest of the event.  The theme this year was “Spirit of the Winds”.

Turns out the best was yet to come.Balloons  235

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Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday didn’t have Mass Ascensions scheduled but there were still lots of balloons on the field. The rest of the balloonists were preparing for various competitions, many of which give away prizes, including cash.  The balloons that take off from the field are the ones not competing, and they need to clear the field early so that the staff can set up the targets for the competing balloons to aim for.Balloons  160 Continue reading

Balloons Over Albuquerque

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Since living in Denver, we’ve visited New Mexico many times and grown to love it.   And for many years we saw photos of balloons over Albuquerque and talked about attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but the timing never quite worked.

Then last year while visiting Quartzsite, Arizona, we met some of the Boomers, one of the special interest groups within the Escapees, an RV club, who have traveled to Balloon Fiesta for the past nine years. So I contacted the coordinator of the Boomers’ Balloon Fiesta group for 2014 and signed up.

Balloons  139But I also found out that they don’t just attend the event, a bunch of them volunteer to crew for the balloon pilots, many of whom travel from other cities and countries and need crew to help them set up, chase the balloon and then break down. So we too volunteered to crew.

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Las Cruces and the City of Rocks

Las Cruces  017Las Cruces  002We camped in the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, primarily because we were interested in visiting places both on the west and the east of the city.  Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico.

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White Sands and Missiles

white sands  042white sands  059Once again we encountered more of the contrasts of New Mexico.  White Sands National Monument is a beautiful place with soft white dunes and beautiful vistas.  It happens to be surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range, whose mission is to “provide Army, Navy, Air Force, DoD, and other customers with high quality services for experimentation, test, research, assessment, development, and training in support of the Nation at war”.  In fact, the road leading to White Sands National Monument and between Las Cruces and Alamagordo is regularly closed due to due to testing of missiles and other scary devices.  The Trinity SIte, where the first nuclear bomb was detonated, is located at the far north end of the missile range (closed to the public).

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My … what a Very Large Array you have there …

VLA  010VLA  001VLA  003New Mexico is a study in contrasts.  It offers beauty and culture that enchants; massive landscapes, gorgeous sunsets, diverse wildlife, rich cultural history, interesting architecture and beautiful art, and also science that fascinates and challenges: various types of scientific research facilities, military testing, a space shuttle landing strip and the Very Large Array (VLA).

The VLA is located 50 miles from the nearest town, Socorro, and 20 minutes from the village of Magdalena (population 1,200) at 7,000 feet on the plains of San Agustine.

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