Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Dreamcatcher SKP Park
 The next day, we went to lunch with our friends Ray & Diane, to a little place they knew about. As Diane described it, "We decided to take Ron and Sharon to one of our favorite haunts here in Deming. Just a few miles east of here on an old school road off a farm road called the "Adobe Deli" a converted old school house, featuring a large dining room, a full saloon style bar and oxygen bar and a whole covey of stuffed wild animals and memorabilia. It's kind of like a night out designed by Cabella's, The Black Angus Steakhouse and the bar at The Palace Hotel". It was very eclectic to be sure and we had a great time talking about our travels and just generally catching up. They also had a great food! The pictures I have I took off her blog, because she was the one with the camera.
Diane & I at the Adobe Deli

The bar

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ready for the auction to start

The balloon fiesta ran from Sat., Oct 1st through Sun., Oct 9th. On Sunday morning, all of our bus friends left and we drove over to where our Boomer friends were parked and stayed over one more night with them, where we had a Boomer auction and we bought quite a few good things that were being auctioned off. All the money we raised goes to CARE, which is a day care center, that was started by Kay, one of the founding members of our RV club. It is for whoever needs it, whether they need a place to be while they are recovering from strokes, heart attacks, broken bones or just because of old age problems.

Looking over the auction items

 Everyone came out for the auction, plus we brought appetizers to munch on before it began.

Lots of food and wine to loosen us all up, so we'd buy more stuff....
Here's Chuck & Jan showing items to be auctioned

Our raffle prizes we won
On Monday, all of us had to leave, so we drove over to the casino where we had stayed the week before. Our good friend, Margie, had left us on Saturday afternoon of that final weekend to take a train to Long Beach, CA to attend a funeral and had left her rig with a fellow bus member in town. She came back on Monday morning, so we parked the bus in the casino parking lot and went to pick her up. She had family that lived in Albuquerque and wanted to get together with them for dinner, before she left town, so they came over after work and we all had dinner in the casino. It was so nice getting to know another of Dan's brothers and his wife. We found out after we got back that other Boomer friends had also stayed at that lot overnight, so we went to say our final goodbyes before leaving on Tues morning.
I have no idea what Ron is looking at

We said goodbye to Margie, she was heading back to Cottonwood to stay for awhile and visit Sedona. She had wanted to take the northern route back, but, when she found out how cold it was getting up there, she decided not to. As it turns out, from what we heard from friends, she probably would have been okay.

We, on the other hand, headed for Columbus, NM, south of Deming, down near the border with Mexico, to meet with our good friends, Jack & Jeanne, who were attending a chapter rally down there. We had been kept so busy at the balloon rally, that it was nice to slow down and take it easy. The weather was great and we visited Old Mexico with rally members for lunch. There was even a raffle and we ended up winning a few good prizes.
Walking around town making friends with the statues

 Here we are enjoying some free margaritas, while we browse through all the unique items for sale in the store. After we bought some stuff, we sat down to lunch with other rally members. An American gal who lives in Deming owns this place and helps keep the Mexicans employed.
Downtown Silver City

One of several interesting murals we saw
 After the rally was over, we all decided to drive up to Deming for the weekend. When we got to the park, we met good friends, Ray & Diane, from the Thousand Trails park in San Diego County. It seems we meet friends all the time at the SKP parks...Every time we've been in Deming, I've always wanted to see Silver City, so this time we went up there. It's a nice little town and we walked all over the place, saw a farmer's market, and saw an impromptu gathering of musicians down by the river that runs through town.
Interesting signs such as this were all over town

Reminds me of a street in Mexico

We enjoyed delicious gelato

I'm the only one that ate a healthful lunch

 When I told Ron to take a picture of this dentist sign, I wanted him to get a close up of the words on the tooth, but, that's not how it came out, so this is what it says....
                       purse extractions
                       x-rated rays
                       London bridges
                       British crowns
                       land fillings
                       sports caps
                       not floss
I think this is a dentist I might want to go to, good sense of humor...

We had seen a sign for the Gila Cliff Dwellings, so we decided last minute to drive up there. The first sign we passed said it was only open from 9 to 4 and at that time, it was 1:30. The next sign we saw said it would take us two hours to get up there...we're thinking, it's only 40 miles, why would it take 2 hours to go 40 miles? Well, we found that the road was an extremely winding road, but, with Jack at the wheel, we got there at 3. Plenty of time to see the cliff dwellings...
On the bridge at the beginning of the trail; me, Jack & Jeanne

We found out that it was only a mile walk round trip, of course, part of that walk was was rather warm in the sun, but, starting off on our walk was in the shade and it was nice. We crossed about nine bridges in the shade, before we started up the hill in the sun. It really wasn't a long walk uphill and we saw glimpses of the dwellings all the way up the path. What made this particular site nice was that we were able to walk INTO the cliff dwellings, not like Mesa Verde, where we walk next to them, but, are not allowed inside. It was great, we actually saw where they lived and stored their foodstuffs. Looking outwards, these people had a great view of the surrounding areas. By the time we had walked back to the parking area, it was just a little after four and we were ready to head home, it had been a loooong day.

The first of the bridges

Almost there...

These ruins look just like the ones we saw in Mesa Verde

The great view looking outward

 It was rather warm outside that day and when we went up under the cliff facing, it was very cool in the shade, which would have made it nice in the summer heat.

There were rangers up there to tell us about how the ancient ones lived and it was very interesting.

Taking one last look before heading down the trail
The scarecrow we crewed for
Here's just a few more pics of the balloon fiesta, plus some homemade ice cream that Gerald & Sue made for all of us. The last day the wind was blowing the balloons over to where we were parked in our RV's and quite a few of them landed all around us, so I took some pics of them landing and being packed up.

Cute little thing, isn't it?

Mr Sunshine

A ninja turtle?

What time is it?

This guy looks like he got dropped on the floor a few too many times!!

 This balloon dropped down next to where we were standing, so stopped to watch, they are moving the basket to where they can drop it down without it being in anyone's way.
This balloon is all wrapped up and being folded into the bag

Gerald is serving up the ice cream
 Gerald & Sue, fellow bus members, got their ice cream maker out and made vanilla ice cream for everyone, it was delicious!

Hmmm...what kind of topping do I want?
Our poor old blog, stuck in a time warp back in early October, because I have been procrastinating about updating it and we've had so much going on since then. Well, I can at least continue on from where I left off, because just going to see the balloons fly is not the only thing we did while we were in Albuquerque.

I left off with our visit to Old Town Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon. On Tuesday, really early in the morning, we all left to go take a train trip out of Chama, NM. It was almost a three hour trip and we got there around 9 or so. A cute little town and we all went off to buy coffee and a bit of something to eat, before the train left at 10. It's called the Cumbres-Toltec train and if you ride all the way through, it ends up in Antonitas, CO. We just rode halfway, though, to Cumbres Pass and stopped in Osier, to have a hot lunch.

Cumbres-Toltec Steam Train
The elevation in Chama is 7863 ft and it was a tad cold up there. But, we were all bundled up, because the cars did not have heat in them. It's an old coal burning steam train and our car, the Alamosa, was the one directly in back of the engine.  Some people stood outside in front of the car, but, it was very stinky up there and sooty black stuff was getting all over the place.

Looking from our car back towards the snack bar

Some of our group, waiting for the train to depart

 Just north of the train station, we passed a small RV park, near this little river, it looks like a real nice place to stay and it looked like it had hook ups, too. We're already starting to see some local color as we start climbing up into the mountains. After the conductor told us we could start walking around, we headed back to the observation car to take some pictures, but, found out real quick it was too cold to stand back there.

 So, we stayed long enough to snap off a few pictures, then, went and stood between the cars for awhile. This is a shot as we rode through the aspens that were turning golden. It was a great train ride, always heading up, winding around and through the mountains over trestles of creeks and canyons. We didn't see that much wildlife, although we did catch glimpses, now and then, of deer running just out of sight so fast, we couldn't get pictures of them in time.

 Sometimes, on the steepest parts of the grade, we would slow way down, almost coming to a stop, it seemed. The guy who was shoveling coal must have had big muscles, doing all that work just to keep us going. Once, while I was looking back, I saw a glimpse of a little car in back of us and found out later it was the work car to make sure there were no fires. 

 The higher we went, the foggier it got and then, we couldn't take any pictures for awhile. I almost missed this sign of Cumbres Pass, at over 10,000 ft. None of us were going outside at this point, because it was too cold! We made a stop in Cumbres, because we needed to take on water.
The thermometer says it's 44 degrees!'

Filling the tank with water

 Here we are looking at another train in the distance. We hear there are a bunch of foreign photographers on the train, taking pictures of the scenery for something they are doing in their countries.They will be stopping at the midway point, where we have our hot lunches. Notice the color in the distance, here it is closer to us. Beautiful oranges and yellow, look great against the evergreen of the pines.
 At about the halfway point, we came to a long valley and we saw a bunch of vaction homes out in the middle of nowhere. We also passed quite a few large ranches. As you can see in the above photo, there was a meandering creek going through the valley, as well.

 Looking over at the train that was in front of us, now parked off on a side track. We are almost at our destination, Osier, at the half way point.
 When we get off this train, we take all our stuff, as we will be going back to Chama on the southbound train from Colorado.
Ted & Geri, Jere & Ronnie, me & Margie departing the train to go have lunch

Ron had meat loaf

I had turkey with all the trimmings

Northbound train to Antonito, CO

Southbound train to Chama, NM
This guy is the coal tender
Our train got to Osier first and as we stepped out of the train, the sun was shining and it was nice. Our food was buffet style, hot and inviting after the cold trip up the mountain. We were in the middle of our lunch, when the southbound train came in and even more people Ifiled into the large building.

As we walked out from lunch, it was trying to rain and it was getting colder. We walked around a bit to see what there was to see and I got some good pictures of the engine of the train we were taking back. I didn't get a picture of the engineer or coal man from the other train, but, this guy was standing there, so I got his picture. I tried to get the engineer in the pic too, but, he was lazy and didn't want to get out of his chair. This guy is going to have a relatively easy time of it on the way down the mountain, he won't have to shovel as much as the guy did on the way up....

Don't these pine trees look like they have golden plumes?
On the way back down the mountains, it started raining in earnest and we couldn't take many pictures at all. I felt sorry for the people that had come from Colorado, because they couldn't take any of the nice pictures we took on our way up.

All of us were in agreement that this was a great day to ride an old train!