Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Today, Monday, we awoke to steady rain but as yet no winds. Government offices and schools are closed. The television morning news had reports of grocery stores being bare due to people stocking up on food. In Baltimore the news showed a line at a liquor store. The news reports along the coastal areas are showing high tides and winds but at 8am the storm was reported as being 300 miles off the coast. Coastal areas are bein evacuated- Ocean City has a mandatory evacuation in effect. We needed milk so we went out to our local grocery store and found it to be well stocked with food- living in a smaller community does have its benefits. We have filled our bathtub with water to flush toilets if need be and purchased a case of 6 gallons of water for drinking. At this point we are as prepared as we will be for when the storm actually hits late tonight or early tomorrow morning.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
At 8:15am we were on the road going east on I-44 toward St. Louis, Missouri. In the vicinity of St. Louis we took I-255 around the city and then onto I-70 east across the Mississippi River into Illinois.
The weather forecast for last night was that there could be storms during the night in Oklahoma. Knowing the potential for severe weather in the area we were in Tom set up the weather radio to alert us if there was any such weather during the night. Thankfully, we did not get alerted to any thing. But we awoke this morning to the sound of thunder but it wasn’t until we were preparing to leave that it started to rain. As we continued our travels over Route 66 through Oklahoma the rain fell fairly steady. We stopped to eat lunch in Wyandote, Ok. before leaving Route 66 and then getting on I-44/Route 66 in Missouri. After lunch the rain tapered off. We stopped at a rest area along I-44 where the picnic table shelters resembled diners, garages and other businesses along Route 66.
|From Drop Box|
Thursday, October 11, 2012
We had been waiting for a call back from Tiffin today about replacing our windshield and after not getting that call we decided that we would not go toward Red Bay, Alabama but would go straight home. We left I-40 in Oklahoma City and continued our eastward trek on the famous Route 66. In Chandler, Oklahoma, we stopped for the night after 313 miles at Glen Oak Mobil and RV Park, a Passport American park, a nicely maintained park. We did get the call this evening from Tiffin saying that if we were there on Monday they could work us in Monday or Tuesday- so we made the right decision to go home as we need to be home by no later than Wednesday. We will get the crack repaired and deal with replacing the windshield at a later date.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
We quickly got the motorhome and Jeep ready for traveling and by 9:15am we were on the road heading east. It is time to head toward home. Shortly after getting on I-40 east, another motorhome came up a ramp to merge into traffic as Tom moved into the left hand lane. We heard a sharp crack and sure enough that motorhome unknowingly had thrown a stone that hit our windshield and left a sizable star. What a sick feeling. We know that in time the cracks will run and the only place to get the windshield replaced according to Tiffin is at Tiffin in Red Bay, Alabama. We are in the process of trying to find out if the windshield could be replaced on Monday. If we can be assured of that we will go to Red Bay. If no assurance can be given that it will be done on Monday then we will need to find another time to do it.
We have continued on I-40 through New Mexico and into Texas where we lost an hour as we changed from Mountain to Central time. Tonight we are in Amarillo at the Amarillo Ranch RV Park- a very nice, conveniently located campground, 300 miles to the east of Albuquerque.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
By 9am the activities for the morning were coming to an end so we hopped on the bus to return to the Fiesta campground. Since it was warming up we shed some of our outer clothing and then took off in the Jeep for Santa Fe about 40 miles north. In the Plaza area we visited the St. Francis Cathedral Basilica and then the Loretto Chapel. The Loretto Chapel is known for its miraculous stairway. This spiral stairway has two 360 degree turns with no visible means of support. It was built in the 1800's but not known by whom. Originally there was no railing but the railing was added later at the insistence of the nuns. We then walked about area stopping in the shops and outside vending areas. I found a torquoise necklace that I didn't think I could live without. We had lunch at the Burrito Factory before returning to the Albuquerque area.
This morning at the Balloon Fiesta there was a Hard Rock Cafe and Casino booth that we stopped by. A coupon for commemorative pins was given to us. So before returning to the motorhome we went to the Hard Rock Casino to get these pins in honor of the Balloon Fiesta. We also were given $25.00 promotional dollars for signing up for a Player's Card. Tom and I sought out the cheap slots and played on our promotional dollars for a couple hours and then we started cashing out our winnings. We ended up with $17.00 plus in winnings which we spent before getting back to the motorhome when we stopped at Fuddrucker's for supper. What a busy but fun day!
Monday, October 08, 2012
Today, started out being another “iffy'’ day of balloon flying with the wind being the problem. Before we committed to going into the Fiesta we waited to hear through TV reports that the balloons were preparing for flying. A little past 7am we did make our way to the field. There were some balloons in the air and more on the ground getting ready to go up. A flying competition was happening. There is a so-called Albuquerque box that the balloons can fly that takes them one direction at one altitude and the opposite direction at another altitude. It was interesting to see balloons flying in opposing directions. Then at some point the balloons cross the take-off field flying as close to the ground as possible without touching the ground and try to toss out a marker to hit the center of an “x” that is laid out on the field in a given time period. The mornings have been cold here with temperatures in the low 40’s but it does warm up to the upper 60’s/ lower 70’s by late afternoon.
By 11am we were back to the motorhome and the Balloon Fiesta activities were over for today as nothing is scheduled for this evening. Tom then made arrangements to have our waste tanks pumped out.
Sunday, October 07, 2012
This morning we were hesitant in getting to the Fiesta launch sites. The weathermen last night were thinking the wind could again be a factor. We listened to the TV this morning and when we heard that there was movement on the launch sites we made our way over there. A little past 6am we were on the grounds and the Dawn Patrol show was just beginning with about 10 balloons inflated. When these balloons took off for the skies more balloons were inflated and this continued until after 9am. The skies were filled with balloons. Those balloons of unusual shapes were the longest balloons inflating. It was just a wonderful morning.
And this evening was something, also. We went to the Fiesta about 6pm and saw 5 gas balloons inflated. Gas balloons were suppose to have been launched yesterday for a race but the wind prevented that from occurring at that time so they were going tonight. Gas balloons are filled with hydrogen and sand is used as a ballast. Three of the balloons were flown by USA pilots, one by Russian and one by Great Britain. Two of the USA balloons had female co-pilots. The race is to which balloon travels the furthest not the fastest. They will be flying for hours, possibly days. As these balloons were leaving the hot air balloons were getting prepared for Balloon Glow- inflating the balloons but not flying and then lighting with the burners the balloons that they seem to be glowing. Balloons were everywhere. Tom read that there are 584 total balloons. Never have we seen so many balloons at one time and most were one of a kind. We returned to the motorhome to watch fireworks from there.
Today, Saturday, was the opening of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We were up at 4:45am and shortly after 5am we were on a bus to the Fiesta. Ballooning activities were to begin at 5:45am. We got onto the grounds and made our way into the souvenir tent to buy a few things and then were in line for about 30 minutes waiting to purchase breakfast burritos. The line really wasn’t terribly long but the service was extremely slow. There was a gentle wind and about the time for the activities were to begin it was announced that the wind was more than 10mph so the activities were cancelled for this morning. So we paid admission into this fiesta in order to spend money and nothing else- bummer! When we left the motorhome it was 61 degrees but the temperature dropped several degrees and felt much colder. We caught a bus back to the Fiesta campgrounds and snuggled down for a nap. Before noon we got into the Jeep and went down to “Old Town Albuquerque” where we had lunch at “Little Anita’s” and then walked about the shops and by the street vendors. The stores were ready for the Balloon Fiesta crowd and the crowd was there. The Fiesta has sessions in the morning and then on certain days in the evening with each session requiring a new admission of $8.00. We did learn that packets of 5 tickets could be purchased for $35.00 but were unable until this morning to find where to purchase these tickets- the ticket booths did not sell them and said they didn’t know where they were being sold. We did stop to purchase these tickets before going for lunch.
This evening the wind was blowing stronger than this morning. We listened to the local television station to hear about this evenings activities and according to the wind strength we didn’t think it was worth going over to the Fiesta grounds. One activity had been cancelled this morning. At 7:30pm fireworks were set off and we were able to sit outside the motorhome and watch without the loud banging. The wind is to continue through the night and then taper off so it is up in the air what will take place in the morning.
Yesterday when we got into this campground area we noticed a strong aroma of caramel popcorn. We just knew that someone somewhere was making batches of caramel corn. Today we learned that there is a Cocoa Puffs cereal factory nearby that is responsible for that aroma in the air and not caramel corn being made.
This morning Tom filled the water tank and then had the propane and fuel tanks filled in preparation for today’s move to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. Tom had made a reservation to stay on the Balloon Fiesta grounds but we would be dry camping. We left Gallup a little after 9am and after 155 miles a little past 12 noon we arrived at the Fiesta grounds in Albuquerque and were soon parked with hundreds other RV’s. The Fiesta officially starts tomorrow, Saturday. The pads on the nose rests on my sunglasses had come off so we needed to go to a Sam’s Club to get a repair done. But before going to Sam’s we stopped for lunch at brew pub. We then returned to the motorhome. And then Tom remembered that he had forgotten to empty the black tank this morning. We are only 1/3 full and maybe we will be okay-if not, there is a service on the grounds for emptying tanks that we might need to use.
A little about the weather – today it is warm in the mid 80’s with a breeze. The wind is expected to increase tonight and tomorrow and temperatures are to drop into the 60’s by Sunday. The wind could be a negative factor with the balloons tomorrow.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
This morning we drove northwest back to Arizona with the Jeep to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. We had been to this National Monument several years ago but it was wintertime and there was not much activity. We drove around the rim at that time but we wanted to take a tour into the Canyon. To enter the Canyon you must have an Indian guide except in one small area, the white house, where you can hike from the rim. Today we hoped to be able to take that tour into the Canyon. Stopping at the Visitor’s Center we inquired about Canyon tours and were given a list of tour operators but no recommendations and we would need to call the phone numbers provided and arrange the tour. The Thunderbird Lodge Tour, we were told, was a group tour on their vehicles at the cost of $57.22 per person for half day and we would need to go to the Lodge and purchase tickets. So we opted to do the tour through the Lodge. We got our tickets about 11:30am for the tour at 1pm. We did drive up along the rim and ate our lunch we had brought along. Then at 1pm we were back to the Lodge to board the the truck with an extended bed equipped with seats. There were 13 people on the tour. Our tour guide, Dave, drove us through the Canyon on very challenging terrain that consisted of 8-10 inches of sand, 4 wheel drive was needed and used most of the way. We were so glad that we didn’t arrange a tour taking our Jeep with a guide. Petroglyphs and pictographs and cliff ruins were pointed out along the way and an explanation of what the origins and meaning may have been- different Indian tribes living in this area left their markings. This area remains in the Navajo Nation Territory and is still inhabited by these people. In the summertime, people move down into the Canyon from up along the rim and farm the land raising vegetables. At several stops there were vendors selling jewelry, pottery and other Indian wares. After 4 hours and a rather exciting ride (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride??) we returned back to the Lodge and our personal vehicles.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Our Brake Buddy alarm sounded during our travels. Tom stopped and checked the problem and found the 12-volt accessory outlet to be the problem. The braking system was disengaged until Tom could research the problem. Nearing Winslow at noontime we stopped at the La Posada Hotel for lunch in the Turquoise Room. We have had lunch here previously and enjoy this old Santa Fe train hotel. It has a feel of stepping back in time. We were unsure as to how far we would travel today as we plan to be in Gallup, New Mexico on October 3rd. We did stop for the night in Holbrook, Arizona – 249 miles today. Tom was able to fix the problem with the braking system after getting a new accessory outlet from a parts store in Holbrook.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
So after getting set up and eating an early lunch we were off to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which was about 45 miles away. Arriving at the Visitor’s Center/Lodge area we got our first views of the Canyon on this north side. We have been to the south rim twice before. This north rim is a higher altitude than the south rim and has harsher winters necessitating the closing of this section of the Grand Canyon about the middle of October. We took the trail out to the Bright Angel Point. Unfortunately, the smog was fairly heavy hanging in the Canyon. We, then, drove a road eastward that had several areas for viewing the canyon. Much of the drive was through pine and aspen forested regions. The aspen trees are just beautiful at this time of the year with the leaves turning a bright shade of yellow that the sun seems to reflect off. We saw several deer in the meadows along the way.
Returning to Jacob Lake later in the evening we stopped at the only restaurant in the vicinity at the Jacob Lake Lodge. We were pleasantly surprised with our meals. Tom had a breaded pork chop topped with crisp fried onions with baked potato, salad and zucchini. I had a chicken breast topped with a portabella mushroom, walnuts and dried cranberries in a very tasty sauce along with the salad, baked potato and zucchini. Tom and I shared a dessert of a slice of coconut custard pie in which the custard was a homemade cornstarch custard. A really memorable meal in a very positive way.