Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2017. We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2017 🙂

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links … and just an FYI, all votes are anonymous, your name does not show up anywhere.

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2017 …

Sunset, American Girl Mine Road, California. Picture taken 4 January 2017

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Picture taken 21 March 2017.

Duck, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 4 May 2017.

Okanagan Lake, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 5 June 2017.

Pend Oreille River, Montana. Picture taken 25 September 2017.

Butterfly, Denver, Colorado. Picture taken 29 September 2017.

Close-up of Balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Picture taken 14 October 2017.

Balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Picture taken 14 October 2017.

Devil’s Bridge Hike, Sedona, Arizona. Picture taken 27 October 2017.

Snowy Landscape, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 20 December 2017.

Until next time …

Oh Gosh I’m Tired!

A blog I follow, Chapter Three Travels, wrote a few days ago about how exhausted they were. When I read it I thought, I can totally relate! We knew it would be a bit of a whirlwind getting to Albuquerque because we had added some of the central states that we can’t get to when we leave home mid October. By the time we had reached Tishomingo, Oklahoma we were so happy for three down days, and then we hit Albuquerque.

Our view last night as the sun went down.

We had so much fun, and enjoyed the balloon fiesta immensely but it has taken its toll on us. Hubby is getting a cold and I’m just tired. We have had six days of go, go, go and then at the end of each day I have gone through so many pictures and written my blog, and honestly I got to the point at the balloon fiesta that I couldn’t even come up with words to write.

We had to pull out of our balloon fiesta site yesterday and, since we wanted to visit Santa Fe, we decided to park in a casino parking lot along I-25.

I wish we had parked were this Prevost bus was so that I could have taken a picture of Maxx in the sunset … but Maxx doesn’t have this awesome paint job so it may not have turned out as well 🙂

We left a little later this morning and did a short drive to Home Depot (where we have awesome Wi-Fi) in Gallup, New Mexico. We have a few more one nighters and then we hope to find a spot around Prescott, Arizona so we can chill for a few days … recharge our batteries … sleep … do nothing 🙂 In a week we are meeting up with friends in Sedona, and there will probably be a lot of hiking during our stay, so hubby needs to get rid of his cold … and not by giving it to me!

The last of our Albuquerque sunsets.

Pretty views along I-40 on our drive today.

Until next time …

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Once again I have been drawn to a town by a series of books. Stuart Woods writes the Ed Eagle series and it is based in Santa Fe.  Those books, along with pictures and stories from others, added a visit to this town to my bucket list. Unlike Boulder, Colorado Santa Fe was exactly what I expected, an artsy town with mainly adobe houses.

Santa Fe is the oldest and highest altitude (7,000 feet) capital city in the United States.

The main area of town branches out from the typical town square.

Back in the day town squares had very specific building guidelines. They had to be a rectangle, which was 1.5 times wider than it was deep. Over the years Santa Fe’s town square was made smaller and more resembles a square.

Our first stop was the Loretto Chapel, which we had been told was a Catholic Church that housed a staircase with an interesting history.

When we arrived we were surprised that there was an entrance fee of $3.00 each. We both felt it was inappropriate of a Catholic Church to charge an entry fee so we decided against going in. We later found out that the church was no longer a Catholic Church, it had been purchased by a hotel and made into a museum … ahh that makes sense now! Anyway we never did get the time to go in but I did find a picture of the inside on the internet.   The church had a loft area with no staircase and the Sisters thought it would be a good place for the choir, but they were unable to find a carpenter who could build a staircase to the loft. Around 1880 the entire order began to pray to St. Joseph, the patron saints of carpenters, to help come up with a solution to erect stairs to the loft. On the ninth day of prayer a visitor arrived at the church with his mule and some tools. The man told the Sisters he was a carpenter by trade and he believed he could construct a staircase to the loft without it becoming an eyesore. The only condition he placed upon the Sisters was that he would only work in private.

The Sisters were only too happy to agree to his terms and the carpenter would work whenever the chapel was empty. When the spiral staircase was finished the Sisters were so delighted with how it turned out that they organized a banquet in honour of the carpenter. This was when they discovered he had left, and had never identify himself while he was working there. He also never asked for payment for his labour or the supplies he used. The Sisters believe that it must have been St. Joseph who had come to the church and built the stairs for them.

It really does look beautiful and it was made without any nails!

We decided to take an open-air tram tour of the city for $15.00 each and really enjoyed it. We started off with a tour around the town square area.

The Palace of Governors building served as the seat of government for the state of New Mexico for centuries. It is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. The building is now used for artists to display their wares.

There were a lot of churches in the town square area.

We then moved outside of the town square area into the Canyon Road area, which is the art district of Santa Fe. I would have loved to come back and wander around the area but hubby wasn’t feeling it … I think he was scared I would spend money 🙂

I really wanted one of these wind sculptures … they are really pretty when the wind makes them turn!

Rock, paper, scissors!


After the art district we moved into residential neighbourhoods. These are very old homes so they are not overly large and run in price from $400,000 to $700,000.

We also toured newer areas, this house was recently purchased for $3 million.

I think I like the old house better … plus I wonder what kind of view these people have with all the trees!

The museum district is full of various museums and sculptures.

All over Santa Fe, in every neighbourhood, we noticed the fences were the same. These are coyote fences, which consist of spruce/fir posts tied to a steel welded framework. They are called coyote fence because they keep the coyotes out.

We ended back at the town square but not before we passed another old church.

Until next time …

Albuquerque Balloon Festival – Day Four

We have noticed that we are the youngest people on this RV tour, but fortunately, or maybe by design, we are at the edge of the Fantasy RV tour sites. This means we are camped by the general public, which in our case means we are camped next to the Fulltime RV Families. This allows us to hear children running around, playing, laughing, crying, but just generally having fun. We were sitting outside on Thursday night when we heard a loud announcement across the way that “the baby has arrived”!  Earlier in the day we had noticed a very pregnant woman walking around and it was her baby that was born, at 9:00 p.m..  Friday evening, when she was showing off her baby girl, I had to go over for a look. Seriously I was the oldest one there so I think I am the Full Time RV Family grandmother 🙂

Well today was the final day for the balloon fiesta and it was windy this morning, which meant the balloons were not able to go up for a mass ascension. A few balloons did a static display and we did watch it on TV. The few balloons that tried to inflate had trouble staying up in the wind and quickly came back down, so I’m glad we didn’t bother going down to the field. I have more than enough pictures of balloons and I think I have bored you enough with balloon pictures!

But the word “Balloon” is in the title of this blog so there had to be a least one balloon picture 🙂

Part of our package was a trip to Old Town Albuquerque and we really enjoyed it.  Old Town was the first Albuquerque neighborhood in 1706, when a group of Spanish families settled there, not far from the Rio Grande. The settlers organized their new town in the traditional Spanish colonial way, with a central plaza anchored by a church.

The original adobe church collapsed after a long rainy summer in 1792. The families rebuilt the church and in 1793 the San Felipe de Neri church was completed. Today this adobe church, with walls five feet thick, is the oldest in Albuquerque and its white towers mark Old Town from a distance. The church is still a functioning Catholic church and I really wish we had been able to get to Old Town early enough to attend Mass.

The rectory and grounds

Also traditional in Spanish towns is the town square, I would love to be here for Christmas. I can just picture the decorations, music, and everyone attending Christmas Eve Mass 🙂

Fall is arriving in Albuquerque

The rest of Old Town is comprised of stores and restaurants housed in very old adobe buildings.

If you were a fan of the show Breaking Bad, which was based and filmed in Albuquerque, you could tour the Breaking Bad motorhome that was used as a drug lab in earlier episodes of the show.

Tonight we had a farewell happy hour and dinner and tomorrow our time wraps up with a farewell breakfast.

We really enjoyed our time at the Balloon Festival and met so many wonderful people. We are grateful to have won this trip but honestly I don’t think we would do another group RV tour. We may feel differently in another ten years, but right now we have no problems travelling on our own and we believe we could have done this trip much cheaper than the $1,200 Fantasy Tours was charging. However the really funny thing is hubby won the Social Hour prize … a $100.00 gift certificate for another tour! We kinda felt bad about winning that since we had won this trip and have no plans for a future trip so we are hoping to give it to someone else who is going on another trip.

Until next time …


Albuquerque Balloon Festival – Day Three

Here is an interesting fact … Schools in Albuquerque close for the balloon festival period and all the school buses are deployed to the campgrounds and festival grounds to move people around.

So moving on to today, we arrived at the festival grounds at 5:45 a.m. and were able to watch the morning Dawn Patrol. The Dawn Patrol is a choreograph event that is set to music and it’s purpose is to check out the wind speeds and conditions for the mass ascension of balloons.

There was a brief delay in the Mass Ascension ascend due to wind conditions but before long the sky was once again filled with balloons.

Dos Equis, Albuquerque, New Mexico … this one’s for you Tom ☺

Dottie Chicken, Boitva, Sao Paulo, Brazil

There were also some close calls this morning!

True-Lee New Mexico, Gallup, New Mexico

Baby Lente, from Destelbergen, Oost-Vlaaderen, Belgium

Seasons, from Cordele, Georgia

Ham-Let, DeLand, Florida

On the left is Puddles The Penguin from Thatcham, Berkshire, United Kingdom, Tall Steve is in the middle from Breadstone, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, and on the right is Splash from Wasilla, Alaska.

In The Buff, Lubbock, Texas

The Journey, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Les Monarques, Montreal, Quebec

Tom Cat, Oak Island, North Carolina

Gloria Caeli, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hyla The Frog, North Muskham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I love this balloon but I wasn’t able to find any information on it.

Smokey The Bear, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tolfy, Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium

Flying Gator, Boitva, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Nitrofish, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I introduced Joey and Joelly yesterday but I neglected to introduce Lilly Little Bee who is on the right.

Darth Varder, Court-Saint-Etienne, Belguim

Until next time …

Albuquerque Balloon Festival – Day Two

So I could blather on about all the things we did today but other than going through 270 pictures and trying to pick just a few for the blog, and attending the margarita and nacho social this afternoon, there is really not much to say. So once again I will let the pictures tell the story 🙂

Our view as we got off the bus at the festival site

Master Yoda Balloon from Court Space, St. Etienne, Belgium

The cop balloon is Keystone Willy from Collins Ville, Oklahoma and the convict balloon is Con Air from Palm Springs, California.

This vampire is Bill The Vampire from Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

On our left we have Pencil Boy from Reno, Nevada.

Next we have the Armadillo from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The guy with the teeth is Piko from Saint-Jean-sur-Richeliue, Quebec, Canada.

Kermie from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Canada

Simba from Lake George, New York

The scarecrow is Smiley Scarecrow from Westfield, Indiana.

And then we have Baby Car from Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

And last we have Lilly Little Bee from Peoria, Arizona on the right and Joey Little Bee on the left from Jeffersonville, Vermont.

Until next time …

Albuquerque Balloon Festival – Day One

Last year when we were at the Good Sam Rally in Phoenix, AZ I was lucky enough to win the Fantasy Tour grand prize, five nights at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. Our package includes a premium campsite with power, water and one tank pump out, access to a hospitality room, coffee and snacks every morning, two dinners, a tour of Old Albuquerque, and much more! This is something hubby and I have always wanted to attend but the timing doesn’t really work out as it is held this time each year and we usually don’t head south until the middle of October. However this wasn’t something we could pass up so we headed south earlier and hope that weather will allow us to head home earlier. Even if we can’t get home earlier we are still with in our time frame for BC Medical, which allows us to be out of the province for seven months, and since we complete the IRS 8840 form every year we think we will be okay with the US Government as well.

Still in the Walmart parking lot …. It looks like this balloon is going to land on Maxx’s roof 🙂

Our experience didn’t start off great. The directions provided to our parking spot were basically non-existent and there were no signs. There were many volunteers directing traffic to the various lots but they really had no idea where we were suppose to be, so we ended up in several different lots before finally finding the right place, and all of that involved some fancy maneuvering by hubby!

However once we arrived in the right place everything was awesome. The gentlemen that directed us into our site actually knew how to guide an RV and for the first time ever I didn’t have to get out and direct hubby in. The spaces are tight, but we knew that going in and honestly we have more room than we expected.

We have already met our neighbours, whose unit you can see in the above picture. They are a nice couple from Gilbert, Arizona and so considerate that they were not even going to put out their main slide because they thought we wouldn’t have enough room! We quickly told them we had lots of room, and we do.

Once we were all registered we ran a few errands and then headed back for our orientation at 2:30 p.m. Orientation was followed by happy hour with free drinks, dinner, and then finally balloons!

Tonight was the Glowdeo and Fireworks and I will let the pictures tell the rest 🙂

This fellow was from Golden, B.C. so of course we had to stop and have a chat.

Flip flops! This was my favorite balloon.


Until next time …

Hello Albuquerque, New Mexico

Not only did last nights RV Park provide us with a free limo ride to dinner, they also provided us with coffee and pastries for breakfast, which was nice because we wanted an early start today.

We had a long drive today, five hours, and I really don’t have any nice pictures to show for it, but since I read a long time ago that a blog without pictures isn’t very interesting here is what you get 🙂

I didn’t see a single oil pump but I did see field after field of wind turbines, so I’m thinking north Texas has moved from oil to wind power.

New Mexico has the best state entrance signs!

Tonight we are staying at a Walmart near the Balloon Festival grounds. We planned this so that we could be into the grounds early tomorrow as we are only fifteen minutes away.

 Until next time …

Holy Wind Batman … Or Holy Cold Batman!

We spent last night in Vado, New Mexico, which is between Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.  It may not have been the best park we’ve been in but it definitely had the best natural view from Maxx’s front window and it was only $19.00 a night with full hook-up.

It was still really windy when we arrived at the park but with the landing gear down on Maxx we no longer felt like we were on a ship in heavy seas, of course I’ve never been on a ship in heavy seas, but you get the idea!  We woke up to rain this morning and the temperature was down to 48° (9c) but fortunately the winds have died down a bit.

Nice view from Maxx’s window

Even better view from Maxx’s window

Hubby’s pre trip plan had us spending the night in El Paso but for some reason, right from the beginning, I didn’t want to stay there.  Maybe it was because of a TV show I watched based in El Paso that made me wary but I was happy we stayed in Vado.  I was prepared to reconsider my opinion when we drove through El Paso this morning but other than seeing a really nice outlet mall, that hubby wouldn’t let me stop at, we didn’t see much of the city.  Our GPS (hubby has called the GPS Holly from the day our first GPS was installed in our old truck) sent us on a loop road around El Paso and we only saw the city from up high on a mountain pass.  The loop road took us straight up into the Franklin Mountains and then straight down to the outskirts of the city.  The little bit I did see didn’t look too bad.

Climb up Franklin Mountain

Almost at the top, stopped to take pics of El Paso

Where we are heading

It rained all day and there really wasn’t much to see on our morning drive but we did have a little excitement, we went through a US Border Patrol station about 100 miles after we passed into Texas.  They asked if we were US citizens and when we said we were Canadian they asked where we were going and then sent us on our way.  Around noon we stopped at a rest stop for a leisurely lunch but it was so cold, now down to 32° (0c), that we quickly made our lunch and got back in the truck to eat it. We are once again worrying about the water lines freezing … what a difference from a day ago!  The afternoon was spent driving through heavy rain and fog with limited visibility.  The speed on the Interstate in Texas is 80 miles per hour but believe me nobody was driving that fast!  There was slush on the sides of the road and a half-inch of ice covering the front of Maxx by the time we finally arrived in Fort Stockton, now 29° (-2c).

Ice on Maxx … picture doesn’t do it justice

I know -2c doesn’t seem cold to our family and friends back home but remember we are living in an RV, towing an RV, and only have summer clothes … give us some sympathy cause we feel for you back home!  We have had enough driving so we found an RV park for the night so that we could turn on the heat to warm Maxx, and us, up.

Until next time …