Albuquerque, New Mexico
October, 2002


 
Here I sit, writing this webpage one year later.  Last year we made a loop around the four corners area (Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico), with Cheryl's dad, Joe, and his wife, Shirley.

We started from their house in Sedona, Arizona.

What a view!
 


Lots of skunks in this area.  We stayed at the same RV Park where Cocoa got skunked in 2001.  Three other skunks just ran off.
When we're in Sedona, we always find time to climb Bell Rock.  Today Max and I found a way to the top of the right spire.
Here's Max squeezing between a crevasse. My camera angle is nearly straight up.
The spire we just came up is on the left in this picture.  Can you see our white truck parked on the road below?
Wow!  Grandpa has a cool backyard.
So we're off for a two week journey with Grandpa and Shirley.
Our first stop is Monument Valley. 
We stayed at Gouldings RV Park.  There's also have a hotel, restaurant, gift shop and small museum.  Back in the 1930's, the Goulding family promoted Monument Valley.  Some great old John Wayne movies were made here.
Can you tell it was cold and windy?

A spectacular view from our RV space.  This view can often be seen in movies produced in this area.
On the way between Monument Valley and Cortez, Colorado we decided to stop for lunch at an out-of-the-way state park.  We had no idea of the view we were about to find.

This is the San Juan River, which flows into Lake Powell, i.e. the Colorado River.

We explored Mesa Verde National Park with it's fantastic Indian dwellings.  This was our second visit.
Grandpa and Shirley were impressed.
Mitch was more interested in designing a remote control forklift using his K'nex.

As we drove down the road to Colorado, I saw what looked like a back up of traffic and a few emergency flashing lights.  But it was just a few thousand sheep going down the road, herded mostly by dogs.


The Durango - Silverton Railroad
We had been in Durango, Colorado before.  It's a great little city with very friendly people.  The famous Durango-Silverton Railroad is based in Durango, and is a major tourist attraction.  Though the train tracks run right through the RV park we stay in, we hadn't made the trip before.  This time we took the train ride, and I'm glad we did.

The train runs between Durango and Silverton, Colorado. 

Inside the train.

There's Joe with the white hat with Shirley next to him. Cheryl, Max and Mitch are behind them.
 


About five miles out of Durango we passed through the RV Park we were staying at.  Our RV is in the center and Joe's is on the right 

Taken the next day, this shows the train as it passes through our RV Park.

This is one of the last few narrow gauge railways in the country.  Much of the twenty mile ride is constructed on a narrow cut alongside a canyon.
  And passes over some very narrow bridges.
The scenery is breathtaking.
Here's some old cattle cars in a black an white image.  I think that black and white gives them that old western movie look.

I was inspired to try black and white by this color picture.  It seems to transition from black and white to color.
Downtown Silverton, Colorado. Today this is a tourist town.  When summer ends the tourists head back to work and school and the town folds up. 

We were here in October and many of the shops where having their final sale of the year.  Some were packing up to take their goods to warmer climates for the winter, other simply lock up and head south until next summer.
 

Here's a horseshoe bend that shows how the train hugs the cliffside.
We spent a few days in Santa Fe, New Mexico -- one of our favorite places. We love the food in Santa Fe. We think it's the best in the world.

I didn't take many pictures of our stop in Santa Fe since we've been here before.  (You can see the earlier photos posted on our webpage.)

However, I couldn't resist this picture taken at sunset.
 



Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
We had been to the Balloon Races in Reno and expected something similar.  Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta is a much larger event over ten days.  We arrived mid-week and attended an evening event called Special Shapes Glow-deo, (like rodeo). 

In Reno the public was roped off from the balloons, but here we could walk amongst them.

They don't actually lift off during a Glow-deo.

A spectacular display as they all light up the burners.
 

Early morning "Mass Ascension"

Here's a panoramic picture, but it is a large file (544 Kb) and takes a long time to load if you are connected on a slow phoneline. Click here
 


Here's a bunch of the special shape balloons.

One event is called the Fox and Hound.  A balloon sets off into the winds, sets down across town somewhere and lays out a target.  Then the other balloons try to pass over the target and drop a small sand bag on the target.


Another contest makes use of the "Box".  A weather condition that is almost perfect in Albuquerque.  The low level winds blow to the south, so the balloons sweep across the parking lot. 

Then as they pass by the point where I am standing . . . . . .


. . . . . they drop down just feet above the field.  Some barely clear the chain link fence right next to where I took this picture.

All the time they are traveling about 5 to 10 miles an hour.

There is a fifteen foot pole near the other end of the field with the keys to a brand new car hanging on it. You grab it -- you got it!

As soon as the balloons pass the pole or decide they aren't lined up well enough to grab the key, they ascend to about 300 feet and a northerly wind shoots them back over the parking lot.  The balloons zipped around in this "Box" for over an hour until someone won the car.
And still going, and still going ...
The last morning we avoided the crowded parking lots and parked in a nearby field next to a light industrial and office complex.

We were leaving and about to drive away when we saw the chili pepper coming down and heading for the field we were in. 

They came in just inches over this building.
 

And made a soft landing just behind our truck clearing the bikes by about five feet as they passed over.  Their chase crew had not arrived yet so another fellow and I ran over to help hold down the basket as the pilot released some of the hot air.

The Balloon Fiesta was a great experience.  I highly recommend it.

We also came across this private collection of old cars in Albuquerque.

Here's an old truck like Joe used to have.
 


An impressive collection.
More old cars.

Max's favorite

Driving through New Mexico, heading for Arizona, we stopped for a visit and tour of the V.L.A. -- Very Large Array, in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico.  Do you remember the Jodie Foster movie "Contact"?
It was kind of spooky.  We were walking among the antennas -- it was very quiet, all you could hear was the wind.  Suddenly we heard a grinding, mechanical noise.  We looked up and, all together, the antennas slightly moved in the same direction.  We looked at each other and said "that was weird", and a few minutes later it happened again.
While I kept an eye on Joe and Shirley in my rear view mirror, here's all that they got to look at for two weeks.
 
 

THE END

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