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Old 09-11-2012, 05:07 PM   #239
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"Just got back, so I'm not getting two weeks of anything but cutting firewood, fixing things and thinking about the next trip."

What else is there?
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:39 PM   #240
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The firewood cutting has begun and I cut a pathetically small amount yesterday. But it is a start to add to last year's left overs. Since last year was a warm winter, we have about 2/3 of a cord from the 2+ cords we cut last year. Everyone is expected a colder, snowier winter, trees have begun to change a week or more early and reports are El NiŮo is returning.

It seems like I spend more time sharpening the chain than I do cutting. PiŮon is a very dense wood and some of these trees are hundreds of years old. The recurring drought and the invasion of bark beetles have always given us plenty of dead trees and the forest (about 30 of our 37 acres) still seems pretty dense. Chains wear fast and I might get a new one to save my body from quite as much pain.

Our trip to Grand Mesa was a welcome rest and a preview of fall. It didn't get much above 70 and was in the upper 30's at night, or lower. One morning there was frost on the cars. It was cloudy a lot of the time so that befitted the desire for all of us to rest, catch up on reading and enjoy being together. Trees were turning fastóones across the rod from our campsites were turning yellow when we arrived and 4 days later, they were red. It was a pleasant time and got me rested enough to get back to work. How did I do all this stuff when I was working?

Next trip is to Albuquerque and the balloon fiesta, a few nights in Santa Fe after, and then home and planning for the Pacific coast trip (and fixing things, cutting wood, washing the trailer, washing the truck, fixing more things, cleaning and painting the tongue, making arrangements for the house sale to be suspended for a month, etc., etc.)

Gene

Photos:

1. Young aspen across from our campsites were starting to turn yellow when we arrived the Friday after Labor Day, Sept. 7. By the time we left on Tuesday morning, they were mostly red.

2. Why go through the trouble of pitching a tent and then taking it down every time you go camping? Leave them up and transport them on a utility trailer.

3. Trees changing near the highest point on the highway across Grand Mesa. Grand Mesa is not all that flat as a mesa should be, but from afar it looks like a flattop mountain, thus a table or "mesa" in Spanish. It tops out at around 10,000' and is very big. We live 65 miles from the campground.

4. Another photo from the campground. It was pretty quiet after the weekenders left on Sunday afternoon.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:25 PM   #241
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We're getting ready to go to New Mexico for the Balloon Fiesta. This will be our second time there, so I won't have to take so many photos. We got back from a quick trip to Pueblo 6 days ago to see Barb's family, so we are not too prepared. Today was the pre-birthday party for our friend Steve and me—we share the same birthday, but we are all always out of town during this very important day, so we always have the beginning of this very special event beforehand.

We washed the trailer yesterday, but the loading has just begun. We leave Tuesday for Albuquerque, stopping near Antonito, Colorado the first night. We could make it to Alb., but it is a long drive, some of it pretty slow, so we are trying out a CG just north of the NM state line. Then two nights at Enchanted Trails CG just west of Alb. The two days there will feature a presidential debate and the most important thing, my (and Steve's) actual birthday. Steve will be in Palm Springs, Cal., and I pointed out to him the San Andreas Fault runs through there. I hope he makes it. I'm 14 years older than him, so I guess the real question is whether I'll make it.

A few minor things happen after the happening of the century (did I mention my birthday?), the balloons, and after that, we spend 3 nights in Santa Fe. Once we come home we have about 2 weeks to plan and pack for a trip to the Pacific Northwest. I didn't get to cut much firewood yet—the chain sprocket on the saw broke and I had to wait for the part, so that will have to fit in to mid-October. Last year it was so dry, we could cut into December, but we can't count on that, so I'm hoping winter holds off for the next month. Cutting firewood in mud and snow is not enjoyable and the riding mower with the cart we carry the wood in is likely to get stuck. The old roads through the forest are too overgrown for a pickup.

We did have a showing on the house while we were in Pueblo. A realtor called and asked if the house was still on the market (doesn't he look at the listings?) and we arranged with him to show the house. Turns out we had shown the house to the same women more than a year ago and he knew it then. She wasn't too happy with him about a special trip to see the house. Maybe she should realize if she keeps being brought here, it means she should buy it. I keep reading the real estate market is improving and prices have stabilized, but it is still pretty quiet here. There have been some foreclosures which brings prices down for everyone, but we have to rethink our price next month.

At the Balloon Fiesta, 6 of Barb's relatives are coming too—some are in their 80's—one is 92—so this should be interesting. They are all in good condition for their age, but there are limits to what they can do. They are staying in a motel and one of Barb's cousins has an in with some honcho who will get them into the area through a secret way. How we find each other amongst 100,000 people will be solved through the magic of cellphones I suppose. Barb is looking forward to a shower at their motel and I'm looking forward to wifi (and a shower).

Gene
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:14 PM   #242
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We left home Tuesday and figured to go as far as Antonito, a town just north of the NM border. That would take us about 60% of the way to Albuquerque. We stayed at Mogote Meadows, an older campground. It was mostly grass and some gravel roads. When we arrived we couldn't find anyone. A Class A showed up and we all waited to see whether anyone would show up and started looking for another CG in Woodalls. But the next campground down the road was in Ojo Caliente, a drive we didn't want to make.

The owner finally showed up telling us he had to take a shower after coating himself in chainsaw oil. He was wearing socks since he said his shoes were soaked with oil. I guess he has only one pair of shoes. The grounds had heavy machinery and ramshackle buildings scattered around, but this was fine for an overnight. The wifi worked well.

Wednesday morning was a quick 180 miles, 3 1/2 hour trip to Enchanted Trails RV Park west of Albuquerque. When we arrived there were about 15 or 20 Airstreams and a lot of white boxes. Many more Airstreams are expected today. This CG has a number of older trailers—one Airstream and a number of cousins. Some are hitched to old cars. They are available for overnight rentals. The white boxes are leaving and I guess the spaces will be filled with Airstreams by evening.

Barb had given me a pre-birthday present of a Joe Walsh CD our first night on the road. We rocked out like old people—listening to the CD while dozing off at the dinette. Today I got a solar light and some money so I can spend it on her. And she promises to take me out to a Mexican lunch (dinner at the trailer) in Old Town. Barb gets a lot more excited about birthdays than I do, maybe because she's 10 years younger. I know they are important, but old is not easy. I can still drive though. I discovered that in NM they retest you every year after 75; I guess they can tell if you're not blind and have to be wheeled in on a gurney. I'm not there yet, but I sure do like naps.

Last night we watched a boring debate. Nothing new was said, but we follow this stuff all the time, and already knew what they would say. This morning we got to watch Kathie Lee and Hoda, a program that proves to me TV is amazingly bad. Unfortunately they weren't drinking wine today, so nothing really stupid was said.

Tomorrow we get up unnaturally early to get to the assemblage point for the trip to the Fiesta grounds at Camping World next door. It was in the upper 80's yesterday and is supposed to be 88˚ today. A little cooler Friday and in the 70's for the weekend. There's a cold front coming and it may be windy on the weekend. That's not good for the ascensions, so we'll see how this works out.

Gene
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:18 PM   #243
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Hey Gene:


I was under the impression the 4CU wasn't having a balloon fiesta this year? We sure enjoyed last yeah, & too bad we couldn't make it this year! What an amazing experience it was last year! Words nor pictures cannot even describe what you experience! Enjoy your time there? Wish we could make another trip there, butbwevhave other commitments oh well maybe we can take the kids next time? So many things we want to to, so we figure, at least do it once, then later if time permits we can revisit, enjoy your trip, & have fun.

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:23 PM   #244
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Thanks Terry. I suppose the 4CU honchos considered not having a rally because you couldn't be here, but they decided to press on and hope you would change your mind.

We'll try to enjoy it and it may help that I took a gazillion photos last year, so I won't be looking through a camera at it this year.

Six in-laws arrive tomorrow, so I'm waiting to see what reality that will create for me. There are some things it is best to be quiet about and go along with the flow and this is one of them. Of course, I haven't been all that quiet, so I'll try to follow my own advice from now on.

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Old 10-11-2012, 07:39 PM   #245
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We arrived at the rendezvous point at Camping World before going to the Fiesta grounds. By eating a lot of fruit before we left Enchanted Trails, we ate breakfast a lot faster and had plenty of energy until late morning. Thus, we were able to get to CW very, very early and went over to the Fiesta in the 2nd caravan. The WBCCI and 4CU honchos get to go first I think.

The drive over at rush hour is always interesting. We were 8th in line and the trailer ahead of us was letting people get in front of him and falling back. And he didn’t know the way. It is a balance of staying close to the caravan member in front of you and not getting so close you run into him when traffic stops quickly as it often does during rush hour. Even though we got stuck at 2 traffic lights, we made it.

We were parked in the 2nd row (up from 4th last year) and almost at the east end near the Balloon Museum. The spaces in front of us were empty for a while, but later 2 giant SOB MH’s showed up with some Fiesta honchos, so we couldn’t see directly in front of us, but a walk of 10’ solved that.

More spaces were released to Airstreams at the last moment and there were 116, up from 103 last year. There seemed to be a lot more Airstream MH’s this year and 3 Argosies. They are always easy to pick out.

The weather forecast was dire. High winds were predicted for Sat. evening and night and maybe into Sunday launch time. Predictions changed everyday and at one point the forecast was for 55 mile an hour gusts Sat. night. But nothing worked out that way.

Saturday we got up at some awful hour and dragged ourselves into clothes. Six of Barb’s relatives were coming too and we were to meet them somewhere on the field. Then off to the field to find a good breakfast burrito. We couldn’t find the place we had found last year, so we tried Sadi’s. I didn’t think much of it. Through the magic of cellphones, the relatives found us and we sat down on a picnic table to eat and wait for balloons. It was already past time for the Dawn Patrol, about 10 balloons that go up shortly before dawn to check the winds. Meanwhile the radiation detector plane flew slowly over the field, back and forth, back and forth.

We waited and waited. Sometimes it was breezy, sometimes not. The sun rose on schedule and it started to warm up. Eventually they announced the morning Mass Ascension was cancelled. With the forecast for much more wind, we left with Barb’s family to their motel and got a shower. A clean start.

Back at the Airstream complex, the wind was not picking up. In fact, balloons were being unrolled and at dusk they started blowing them up and did the evening display of balloons tethered to the ground and lit by burning propane. This was cool, but it seemed like a lot of balloons had left, perhaps fearing the weather.

Returning to the trailer, we waited for the windstorm, but it never happened. Later we heard that Barb’s family experienced wind buffeting the motel windows, but we slept through any wind that may have occurred. Up again, even earlier, I prepared breakfast since I didn’t want another burrito like the day before, and we were off to the field again. Today there were balloons everywhere, though not as much as I recall from last year. They flew, but for the most part, not very far with many coming down near the field.

Sunday evening the gas balloons took off, a day late. Actually, everything seemed to happen late. A short evening display followed and no wind appeared. But the family got to see the balloons on Sunday and Barb made dinner for all of them at the trailer.

Because of family responsibilities, we missed some of the Airstream get togethers, but we did meet a lot of Airstream people. SteveH, who had told me to look for a giant Texas flag, was parked right behind us, so he was easy to find. Dk-something (some Forum names are impossible for me to remember) found me. Others I never met—too many trailers, family responsibilities and balloon viewing are distracting. On Sunday evening, after I returned to the trailer and there was a paper bag with a cake in it. Someone named Elizabeth had left it, but I never could find her to thank her.

Monday was warmer and there was a smaller Mass Ascension. It was cool. Photos help show what happened better than I can describe, but without being there, it is difficult to imagine what it is really like with hundreds of balloons everywhere you look. Many Airstreams left Monday.

There were more ascensions Tuesday morning. By then we had found Pablo’s and his chile relleno burritos. They were good. With fewer people on the field, we could walk around easier and watch them fill the balloons and ascend.

Late morning on Tuesday we left for Santa Fe. We are at Trailer Ranch. There were 4 or 5 Airstreams here when we arrived. We have shopped for food and looked at some houses with our realtor here. Prices seem stable, but there are some good deals available for when we sell our house. We also got to see The Master, a strange, but quite good movie about the difficulty of change after being traumatized and the mistake of following a charismatic and authoritarian leader to make fundamental personal change. The best movie I’ve seen this year, though there haven’t been many good movies so far. Food is better at the restaurants here.

It was fun though plagued by uncertainty for the weekend and fewer balloons than last year. Next year? Ask me when it is announced next spring.

We leave Thursday and it appears it will rain most of the way home. It won’t be cold enough for snow, fortunately. Photos when I get home.

Gene
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:39 PM   #246
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We arrived at the rendezvous point at Camping World before going to the Fiesta grounds. By eating a lot of fruit before we left Enchanted Trails, we ate breakfast a lot faster and had plenty of energy until late morning. Thus, we were able to get to CW very, very early and went over to the Fiesta in the 2nd caravan. The WBCCI and 4CU honchos get to go first I think.

The drive over at rush hour is always interesting. We were 8th in line and the trailer ahead of us was letting people get in front of him and falling back. And he didnít know the way. It is a balance of staying close to the caravan member in front of you and not getting so close you run into him when traffic stops quickly as it often does during rush hour. Even though we got stuck at 2 traffic lights, we made it.

We were parked in the 2nd row (up from 4th last year) and almost at the east end near the Balloon Museum. The spaces in front of us were empty for a while, but later 2 giant SOB MHís showed up with some Fiesta honchos, so we couldnít see directly in front of us, but a walk of 10í solved that.

More spaces were released to Airstreams at the last moment and there were 116, up from 103 last year. There seemed to be a lot more Airstream MHís this year and 3 Argosies. They are always easy to pick out.

The weather forecast was dire. High winds were predicted for Sat. evening and night and maybe into Sunday launch time. Predictions changed everyday and at one point the forecast was for 55 mile an hour gusts Sat. night. But nothing worked out that way.

Saturday we got up at some awful hour and dragged ourselves into clothes. Six of Barbís relatives were coming too and we were to meet them somewhere on the field. Then off to the field to find a good breakfast burrito. We couldnít find the place we had found last year, so we tried Sadiís. I didnít think much of it. Through the magic of cellphones, the relatives found us and we sat down on a picnic table to eat and wait for balloons. It was already past time for the Dawn Patrol, about 10 balloons that go up shortly before dawn to check the winds. Meanwhile the radiation detector plane flew slowly over the field, back and forth, back and forth.

We waited and waited. Sometimes it was breezy, sometimes not. The sun rose on schedule and it started to warm up. Eventually they announced the morning Mass Ascension was cancelled. With the forecast for much more wind, we left with Barbís family to their motel and got a shower. A clean start.

Back at the Airstream complex, the wind was not picking up. In fact, balloons were being unrolled and at dusk they started blowing them up and did the evening display of balloons tethered to the ground and lit by burning propane. This was cool, but it seemed like a lot of balloons had left, perhaps fearing the weather.

Returning to the trailer, we waited for the windstorm, but it never happened. Later we heard that Barbís family experienced wind buffeting the motel windows, but we slept through any wind that may have occurred. Up again, even earlier, I prepared breakfast since I didnít want another burrito like the day before, and we were off to the field again. Today there were balloons everywhere, though not as much as I recall from last year. They flew, but for the most part, not very far with many coming down near the field.

Sunday evening the gas balloons took off, a day late. Actually, everything seemed to happen late. A short evening display followed and no wind appeared. But the family got to see the balloons on Sunday and Barb made dinner for all of them at the trailer.

Because of family responsibilities, we missed some of the Airstream get togethers, but we did meet a lot of Airstream people. SteveH, who had told me to look for a giant Texas flag, was parked right behind us, so he was easy to find. Dk-something (some Forum names are impossible for me to remember) found me. Others I never metótoo many trailers, family responsibilities and balloon viewing are distracting. On Sunday evening, after I returned to the trailer and there was a paper bag with a cake in it. Someone named Elizabeth had left it, but I never could find her to thank her.

Monday was warmer and there was a smaller Mass Ascension. It was cool. Photos help show what happened better than I can describe, but without being there, it is difficult to imagine what it is really like with hundreds of balloons everywhere you look. Many Airstreams left Monday.

There were more ascensions Tuesday morning. By then we had found Pabloís and his chile relleno burritos. They were good. With fewer people on the field, we could walk around easier and watch them fill the balloons and ascend.

Late morning on Tuesday we left for Santa Fe. We are at Trailer Ranch. There were 4 or 5 Airstreams here when we arrived. We have shopped for food and looked at some houses with our realtor here. Prices seem stable, but there are some good deals available for when we sell our house. We also got to see The Master, a strange, but quite good movie about the difficulty of change after being traumatized and the mistake of following a charismatic and authoritarian leader to make fundamental personal change. The best movie Iíve seen this year, though there havenít been many good movies so far. Food is better at the restaurants here.

It was fun though plagued by uncertainty for the weekend and fewer balloons than last year. Next year? Ask me when it is announced next spring.

We leave Thursday and it appears it will rain most of the way home. It wonít be cold enough for snow, fortunately. Photos when I get home.

Gene
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:42 PM   #247
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Hey Gene:

Thanks for the recap of the fiesta! Brought back very fond memories of last year. Your right, we found it too hard to try to meet & greet, and still do all you want to do at such a great event also. We stayed a few extra days last year to see the "character" balloons lift off, but as you experienced this year, it was uneventful due to weather! Safe travels!

Regards, Terry
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:23 PM   #248
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Just a point of clarification/explanation... the 4CU Balloon Fiesta Rally was never canceled or even close to being canceled...what was cancelled was another Airstream group's rally that is not held at the Balloon Fiesta field like the 4CU's is.... Unfortunately, the misinformation was propagated by an unclear and incomplete announcement in the Blue Beret that confused a lot of folks. Get ready for next year's 4CU Balloon Fiesta Rally!
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #249
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TB,

That's all news to me. I never heard of a rumored cancellation of the 4CU sponsored event or any of related rally.

We did hear about a rally in Santa Fe afterward, but I don't know where it was. There were about 5 Airstreams at Trailer Ranch when we were there and when we left to go home, a casino north of Santa Fe had at least 20 Airstreams parked there. There was also a WBCCI rally—the region I think—in Cortez, Colo., after the balloon rally.

Terry, yeh, if you are parked near someone you are looking for, you may find them. If they are on the other side of the field, 25 of so Airstreams away, good luck. The people in the unit sponsoring it tend to know each other, but because there are a lot of people who are not members, we are kind of lost. Some 4CU members and members of other WBCCI groups were wearing name tags from their units, but most of us don't have them. If we go back, maybe I'll buy a bunch of cheapo name tags—those ugly "Hello I'm…" things—and maybe people will put them on. It is difficult to know who a Forum member is because we tend to use different names. We're introduced by one name and there's no connection with the Forum name. And a lot of people look alike when you don't know them very well—there's a lot of grey haired guys with jeans and the most distinguished have beards. People look for each other based on their tow vehicles, but there were a lot of white Chevies. Some people have their names in a trailer window, but I didn't see much of that.

There are 2 events—balloons and Airstreamers. Either is worth a trip, but it is the balloons that really attracts a lot of people. Developing relationships with others who they don't know, or only know from the Forum, is what makes them come back. Of course, if everyone came back, it would sell out in seconds. By far the greatest number of attendees were first timers, so for many this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

So, we are home and trying to catch up and plan for the next trip to the northwest. My cold seemed to only last 1 1/2 days and I was praising my immune system for being active and efficient. But a day later, my sinuses started draining and my lungs decided to expel the stuff in there, so driving back I was coughing for hours at a time. This is part of the healing process, but by today my diaphragm hurts and I am afraid to cough. Barb drove most of the way while I felt half dead (or wishing for it). I hope she doesn't get this, but at least she doesn't have asthma and shouldn't have the after effects I do. Today there's lots to do, but I am being counseled to lie on the sofa and rest; I'm am not good at that, even though I have had the worst cold of all time.

Best to get to work or to rest in some random order.

Gene
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:54 PM   #250
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Gene, happy birthday. The drivers test should include driving 100 miles without pissing yourself. If you can do that they should call it good. I love Joe Walsh, especially his pre Eagle days. The man knew how to have fun. I saw him one time in Missoula. Alvin Lee with Ten Years After opened. A very good concert.
I'm back guys, with my very own brand of sophomoric humor.

Adios for now,
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:55 PM   #251
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Sorry to hear about that cold, Gene. But relaxing will give you lots of time to update anything and everything on here, right?

Be well and prosper!
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:22 PM   #252
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I like the idea of a driver's exam requiring you to drive without wetting yourself. How will they check for Depends?

NM requires everyone 75 or over to get an annual exam of some sort. I'm not that old yet, but after a cold feel about 150. I suppose the exam is to see if you are blind or drooling. Drool on the steering wheel makes it slippery and hard to steer. If you see someone in NM driving with a bib, it was probably a drool restriction on his license.

My coughing has pretty much stopped and I'm feeling less worn out. It's time to back the trailer into the space for it and check on a tire that has a slow leak. The TPMS warned me it was low on air and I filled it on the way home. I may have picked up a screw or nail somewhere. I'm glad I didn't have to change a tire yesterday between coughing fits. The sensors on the TPMS aren't working all the time and I don't want to have to buy new ones with new batteries, but a TPMS system is important. I'm not sure whether to get a different brand with replaceable batteries. Either way I'm out $200 to $400, but a new system would be cheaper in the long run. Ours is about 4 years old and the batteries are supposed to last 5.

I need to get out the maps and make some sort of plan for the northwest trip. We've been to all these places before and could probably do the trip without much planning at all, but planning and preparation is what I do. We have about 2 weeks to catch up on stuff, arrange for de-listing and re-listing the house, prepare for the trip, cut some more firewood and then do more things I can't remember.

And Joe Walsh still plays the blues good.

Gene
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