Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Chris and I had two main things we "had" to do in 2016. One was visit his Aunt Marilyn in DC and the other was camp at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM.

We had seen some amazing pictures of RVers at the Balloon Fiesta in 2015 and immediately put it on our bucket list. It ended up being as awesome as we hoped it would be. There was also an Xscapers Convergence so we were able to park next to our fellow Xscapers. We are so happy we did because we had a blast hanging out made some great new friends.
Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, people standing
Fun times at La Cumbre Brewing Company with the Xscapers
We were originally planning on staying at the Balloon Fiesta for a week but since we were dry camping newbies we decided to get there on a Friday and leave on a Monday. I mean what could go wrong dry camping for a couple days?

For those of you that don't know what "dry camping" is means we wouldn't be able to hook our rig up to water, sewer or electricity. We decided our tanks were large enough that we should be fine not dumping our waste water tanks(black and gray) and wouldn't need additional fresh water in that short of a time frame. Plus, we have a generator.

Saturday- October 1st (Morning Session)

One cool thing about camping at the Balloon Fiesta RV Park was we were within walking distance of the Balloon Fiesta.

The Morning Glow event started at 6:30 am which is way too early for our liking. I'm so glad we went because it was beautiful seeing all the balloons lit up against the dark sky.

Morning Glow
After watching the Morning Glow we went to stand in line to get some coffee and breakfast( I was a grouchy B). Then we walked to the field to wait for the Mass Ascension.

Balloons were being filled up with hot air and taking off all around us

The sun started coming up and more and more balloons and people were filling up the field.

Chris was enjoying the beautiful view

They said there were over 500 balloons released that day.

We were loving the shape balloons. It was fun to look around and watching them fill balloons up and try to guess what they were.

Yoda and Darth Vader

Chris loved the cop and robber

Saturday October 1st- Night Session

When we went back for the night session we met up with our friends Mike and Kat of Rockin' the Road with Mike & Kat. They are fellow RVers and bloggers.

Once again they were filling the balloons up all over the field. As soon as it got dark the magic started to happen...

All the balloons would glow at the same time. It was awesome.

After this we tried to rush out of the Balloon Fiesta to go watch the fireworks from where Mike & Kat were staying. Unfortunately we didn't make it in time and we ended up pulling over and watching the firework show behind a Hobby Lobby.

My dramatic reinactment below:

When we got home I could already tell we were in trouble with our battery. The refrigerator was beeping but we couldn't run our generator because it was too late. We figured whatever was wrong could be fixed in the morning.

Sunday October 2nd

When we woke up things were worse than we thought. It ended up all 3 batteries were dead.

Chris called Auto Zone and they said they would test the batteries for us but he had to figure out how to take them out. We got advice from a fellow Xscaper who suggested we label everything and take pictures of it. It ended up being great advice. It was about $300 for 3 new batteries but they came with warranties. Chris thinks he left the hot water heater on and it drained our batteries. (doh!)

We decided to watch the mass ascension from our RV and worry about the battery later. The problem would still be there after.

Balloons above our rig
Balloons above the campground
The astronaut was one of my favorites
Enjoying the show from the top of our RV

This mass ascension was actually the last event we were able to watch. We pretty much dealt with our battery issue most of that day and left early on Sunday because our batteries looked like they were continuing to drain.

We would love to go to this again sometime and stay longer. It was everything we hoped it would be even with the stress of the battery problem.

Have you been? If so what is your favorite event? Let us know if the comments below.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Through our travels one of our favorite things has become going to State Parks, National Parks, and National Monuments. While we were staying in Santa Fe, NM my sister Sarah recommended that we go to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. "Kasha-Katuwe" means"White Cliffs" in Keresan which is a language spoken by the Cochiti Tribe. The Cochiti are descendants of the people who occupied Bandelier National Monument. Here is the link to our blog post about Bandelier.

At the end of September we finally made a trip out to the monument. We really didn't do much planning before and kind of on the fly we decided to do the Cave Loop Trail. We would later find out by my sister that the best trail was the Slot Canyon Trail. This resulted in a rushed trip to see the "right trail". Sisters can be so pesty sometimes...but she was right the Slot Canyon Trail was way better.

Cave Loop Trail- Visit I

This thing looks like a little mushroom house

After we did the Cave Loop Trail we drove up to the Veterans Memorial Overlook. It was a super bumpy drive but we thought it was worth it. It was pretty up there.

Slot Canyon Trail- Visit II

The only day we were able to go back before leaving Santa Fe was one day after work. We really had to try and hurry before the park closed.

This time we were on the right going to the Slot Canyon Trail

Ok the slot canyon was WAY cooler hence the ridiculous pose

After I showed my sister these pictures she pointed out we will have to go back again sometime earlier in the day since the sun was setting and casting shadows through out the trail. lol Love you Sarah.

We made it to the top but didn't get to walk around long.
A park ranger told us we needed to start making our way back. Damn
I love when nice people on trails offer to take our picture. Doesn't happen often. 

In all seriousness we really enjoyed our hikes at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. We hope if you are ever in the area you will check it out.

Have you ever been? If so what did you think? Tell us in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bandelier National Monument- Los Alamos, NM

In September of 2016 Chris and I went to Bandelier National Monument. From May- October the monument is only accessible by shuttle. So, since we went in September we drove to the White Rock Visitor Center and took the free shuttle.

 Bandelier protects 33,000 acres of canyon and mesa that used to be home to the Ancestral Pueblo people. It is said to have signs of human presence that date back up to 11,000 years.

Once we arrived at the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center we purchased a map of the trails which had some interesting information on the things we would see during our hike. It was only $1 and  well worth it.

We decided to do the main loop trial which was a 1.2 mile loop through some of the archaeological sites.

The sign to the main loop trail 

Big Kiva- this used to be a communal meeting place 

Our first views of the cliff that used to be home to the ancient Pueblos

Chris ready to see some cliff dwellings

The walls of Tyuonyi Village
The best part was definitely exploring the cavates(cliff dwellings) that were carved into the volcanic tuff.

Rachel being silly while climbing into the first dwelling

I'm not sure that this statue was but I thought it was neat

Chris doing some exploring- this was the only room he could stand in

The ceilings of the cavates were smoke blackened to harden the volcanic tuff  and keep them from crumbling

View of Tyuonyi Village( said to have housed 100 people) 

Some of the dwellings have eroded so you can only enter if there is a ladder. 

It is hard to see but here are some ancient smiley face emojis aka petroglyphs

Beautiful flowers that surrounded the cliff

The hike back to the visitor center

We really enjoyed our visit to Bandelier. Our 1.2 mile hike ended up taking us about 2 hours. It wasn't a strenuous hike by any means but sometimes we had to wait for someone else to leave before climbing the ladders and of course we stopped to take lots of pictures. We  would love to go back sometime and check out some of the other hikes. Thanks for recommending it Sarah & Eric!

Have any of you been? If so what was your favorite part or favorite trail? Let us know in the comments below.