Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Southwest Skies

We've been working entirely too much: that's the answer.  You can tell that I've had little time to blog in the last month.  I'm going to take a break and get caught up before the news and views get any older.

We were able to take one morning while we were in New Mexico and hit the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta: almost at the end of the Fiesta and almost at the end of the day's flight.

The picture above and below were actually taken from Interstate 25 as we headed north toward the balloon park.  As we drew closer you could see more and more "freckles" in the sky.

Much of our viewing was from the jeep which spent a long time stopped in traffic as balloons were landing around us.

One of my favorites was the Dragon you see below.

The truck two in front of us transporting a gondola back to the park.

A ground crew wrestling the balloon to the ground and walking it to the vehicle.

We also visited the Balloon Museum which was totally worth it.

For our next visit, we will try to stay on the grounds where we can be up early enough to see the ascension.

We had planned to spend longer in New Mexico, but had an appointment to get our slide fixed in Mesa on October 15th.  We made a reservation at Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction for the night before and after the repair was scheduled.  On our way south, Tom thought to call and make sure that the parts had been received.

The answer was, of course, "no".  Yes, they had three weeks.  Let's just say that the person at Thor who was handling it forgot.  The parts were shipped overnight on Wednesday, received on Thursday, and the repair was done on Thursday and Friday, so we were only a couple of days late.

As we were going to need additional (and different) days at Lost Dutchman, our reserved space was not available after the first night.  The hosts and rangers at the park were great: we were given a pull through which is normally a host spot, but was not currently used.

It had a great view of the Superstition Mountains through the windshield.

And this was fine until it was time to come back to the park Friday evening.  We got there and . . . they had accidentally rented our temporarily vacated spot to someone else.  We had paid for it, but being a host site it was not on the normal reservation system.

And the people they had rented it to were not being very nice about choosing another site.

We were offered a refund if we would agree to move to a back-in site the next up the hill (from 18 to 20).   We would have been pleased with a one-night refund for the night we weren't actually using the space (Thursday).  What they gave us was FIVE nights free (!)   

It turns out that 20 was even better than 18 for privacy with the dogs, and for the views.   

We had our own cactus garden, and spent a lot of time taking sunset pictures.

Home sweet (fixed) home.

We decided to stay on at Lost Dutchman for the full two weeks allowed.  Not having reservations, it required a couple of moves, first down to site 58, then back up to 24.

We are scheduled for another two weeks at Lost Dutchman in December. We now know that the back in sites 20 through 30 are our favorites.  We were able to call and change our reservation from site 45 back to our favorite: site 20.  It will be like going home!

We are now at Two Springs in North Palm Springs until the end of November. The dogs and I are staying here while Tom is off on a trip to Northern California to take care of family matters.  He's also going to make an overnight "home" to Southern Oregon to take back extra things we brought and didn't need, bring back a few things which I've decided we did need (dog dryer, fabric crates, more rope lights), and retrieve our quarterly wine selection from Folin Cellars.