When last we left you, we were leaving Montana earlier than planned because of the smoky conditions from all the wildfires. Yeah, we would liked to have stayed longer, but we're pretty flexible, so we just kind of go with the flow.
Heading South out of Montana, the 2017 Solar Eclipse was coming up in about a week and we would be passing through Idaho Falls, where it would be 100% totality. We had read all the stories about the traffic and crowds flocking to view the eclipse and the ridiculously inflated prices being charged to camp in a field. We decided to give a place we had been two years ago a shot. We pulled into the Juniper Campground at Ririe Reservoir, just East of Idaho Falls, and they still had a few sites available at a regular, non-inflated price! ($18 a night for full hookups). So we signed up for a week and then on the day of the eclipse, we walked to the best viewing area and watched the show with maybe a dozen other people!
September was a mellow month in Colorado.
We watched the aspens turn from green to gold and saw the mountain peaks progress from bare to dusted to snow capped.
|Fall in Colorado|
|Snow Dusted Mountain Peak|
We went to a few farmers markets as they wound down for the year.
|Remembering John Denver in Serenity|
|Rocky Mountain High|
|In Memory of Dennis Weaver|
And we hung out with good friends....(WHAT??? No pics of James and Mary?!? Sorry!)
|Our Montana Buddies|
Maureen and Bob
In October, we moved South into New Mexico and spent a week in the Taos area checking out the famous plaza with its shops and galleries. There's no shortage of great places to eat in Taos, and we took advantage of a few of them. Taos has some of the best Southwestern architecture, too!
We drove the Enchanted Circle, which is an 85 mile scenic route out of Taos that circles Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in the state. It was pretty much peak fall and the aspens were blazing gold making for outstanding scenery.
|Mural of Enchanted Circle|
At the halfway point of the Enchanted Circle is the town of Red River. We attended their annual Oktoberfest with authentic 'oompah music' and numerous local craft breweries.Oh yeah, they had food and crafts, too.
|Red River Oktoberfest|
|Eurofest Polka Band|
|Now THAT'S a Pretzel!|
|Is this not the CUTEST Brewery Ever?!?|
While in Taos, we discovered the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was coming up, so we looked into it some. This is a huge 9 day event and actually it's the largest balloon festival in the world. And it packs them in, too. They have various levels of RV parking for the event and they start taking reservations for NEXT year 9 hours after THIS years fiesta ends.
We decided to give it a shot anyway, and headed down the road to Albuquerque. We pulled up at the gate to the RV area and they said, "No problem! We have plenty of space!" And there we were for 3 days at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with HUNDREDS of other RV's.
|RV Parking at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta|
Every day the fiesta starts REALLY early. At 5:00 a.m. we walked down to the launch area and soon we are on the field with THOUSANDS of other people watching the balloon crews inflating their balloons and making preparations to take off.
|Almost Ready to Go Up|
At 6:00 a.m. they have something called the Dawn Patrol, which is about a dozen balloons that take off while it's still dark out. Watching these lighted balloons against the dark sky is a beautiful sight!
Then, at 7:00 a.m. is the Mass Ascension and over the next couple of hours, hundreds of hot air balloons in all shapes and sizes take off and fill the sky! And when I say hundreds - it's almost 600 balloons!
Leaving Montana early ended up sending us on a different course than we originally had in mind, but things worked out great by going with the flow....
|A Colorful One|