This is a follow up video from our New Mexico vacation, but just with photos of the Balloon Fiesta.
October 23, 2013
October 22, 2013
We had been planning a camping vacation to Utah to Arches and Canyonlands National parks, however a few days before leaving we learned of major flooding in Canyonlands and then the government closed all national parks. So last-minute we decided to head to New Mexico instead. We reserved a few places to stay and left some nights open just in case we could still go south to Carlsbad Caverns NP. As we were packing we left all the camping gear realizing that it really would be too cold to camp so we shouldn’t drag all the supplies.
So began our unplanned vacation. . .
Saturday highlights include: arriving in Albuquerque, NM and visited wineries. Casa Rondena, Milagro winery, Corrales Winery, Pasando Tiempo, and Gruet. They all had something different to offer, but what stood out to us was Milagro’s casualness and Pasando Tiempo’s personal touch (served out of a refurbished garage at his house).
Sunday we went to the International Balloon Festival and ate at Sadie‘s after wandering through old town. It was amazing to see hundreds of hot air balloons lift up for a couple of house. We also enjoyed the live music, history and all the adobe buildings we walked through.
Monday we headed to Petroglyphs National Monument (partly city run) and out to Grants, NM to do some off-roading and night photography. The off-roading was on a scenic byway that actually had road signs in the middle of nowhere. We saw two vehicles in the 30 mile drive. We headed back a different way to make a full circle and drove by some fabulous scenery of the Narrows and La Ventana Natural Arch in the El Malpias National Monument area. We tried to hike in to some caves but they were all roped off, the arch was not so we could see it.
Tuesday we went the long route to Santa Fe, though some amazing scenery! Enjoyed wine at Estrella del Norte Vineyard. We checked in with our gracious host and then headed out to explore downtown Santa Fe.
Wednesday we explored downtown Santa Fe and the art at the Capitol building. We also explored along the famous Canyon Road filled with art galleries. We checked out the local historic church buildings. The oldest church building and the oldest home in the US are in Santa Fe. We enjoyed much of the history of the area.
Thursday we tried to go see some Pueblos and tried to hike to a waterfall, crazy wind and rain sent us to Don Quixote Distillery and Winery and TerraCotta Wine Bistro. We ended up at TerraCotta kind of on accident, but then ended up thoroughly enjoying it. We were there early for a glass of wine and figured we would get some New Mexican food for dinner later, however they had a great happy hour deal so we also ordered a cheese platter and enjoyed hanging out with the staff before it got busy.
Friday we headed to Taos. We arrived in Toas and visited the Toas Plaza and at lunch at the Eske‘s Brewery. We toured some art galleries. Nick especially enjoyed a photography one. We then visited the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and off-roaded down into the gorge. Visited Vivac Winery and stayed at the Abominable Snow Mansion. This hostel was one of the first that really felt like a hostel. . . very interesting!
Saturday we took the slow route home, enjoying scenery of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and lunch at Obie’s BBQ near Walsenburg, CO. We then went to Kozy Korner to get frozen yogurt and visit our dear friends Al and Mitzi who own the place in CO Springs before finally driving home!
A video of all our photos for everyone to enjoy! https://vimeo.com/77350370
October 16, 2013
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The past month and a half has been busy with traveling, however the past 4 weekends we have been out of town completely. It started with the Palisade wine festival. On our way to Palisade, we stopped to hike Hanging Lake before driving the rest of the way to Grand Junction. It is unique.
A friend invited us to help pour for Talon Brands Wine and we readily agreed and worked out the details to also stay with her at her brother’s house. Nick and I poured for St. Kathryn‘s which specializes in fruit wine. They are known for their very distinctive Lavender Wine, which is a Riesling based with strong Lavender flavors. We had a fabulous time leaving on Thursday evening and crashing in Glenwood Springs after visiting Glenwood Brewery. We thoroughly enjoyed wine, excellent food, and company all weekend.
On our way back we enjoyed a drive through CO National Monument and due to a terrible accident and construction headed on Highway 9 over Hoosier Pass to get back to Denver on 285. We hit snow flurries, I do not think it was the first mountain snow flurries, but it was early to see it. (9/22/13)
The weekend after the wine fest, Nick and I flew down with his company for the Catapult Systems 20th anniversary party. It was a quick trip, barely gone for 24 hours. It was fun to hang out in Austin with some of his coworkers and spouses. Upon arriving we headed for a late lunch at Salt Lick Barbeque. It was phenomenal!! The company through a huge party held at the Austin Music Hall!
Then the next two weekends we have been in New Mexico on vacation. An unexpected change of events that will be in more detail in posts to follow.
September 25, 2013
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Nick and I were able to again attend and help with the Labor Day Lk10 simple church conference. We had a fabulous time reconnecting with friends and “family” as well as meeting and creating new memories. We all were able to experience church in small groups and learn from others as they facilitated sessions on sacraments, family, leadership and money. We had a great time and already have next year on the calendar.
Check out this video made by our friend Jordan Bunch:
September 15, 2013
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We joked about “Hurricane Girard” yet while Nick’s sister, husband and 4 kids came from Italy to visit for 2 weeks, it was a bit crazy. Nick and I were able to take the two older girls on their first camping in the woods trip. Minus the rain and pinched finger we had a super successful camping trip. We camped near Rocky Mountain National Park and then headed there to hike and see wildlife. The girls had a great time and even passed to become a JR. Ranger.
Nick’s other sister, Abby’s daughter, Alexa turned one during the visit so then in came more family for the big party. It was fun yet exhausting. Overall, we had a blast playing and hanging out with all of the Girards, yet it was also nice to come home to a quiet bed.
July 31, 2013
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On July 20th, 2013 Kara summited her first 14′er (14,278 feet elevation). After the 8 years living in CO it was time. The goal was to train all summer and climb in Aug or September, but the opportunity came earlier than expected. We camped overnight Friday near Keystone and explored some local mines, creeks, and waterfalls. Then on Saturday we met up with Nick’s hiking buddies (Matt & Ben) to ascend Gray’s Peak . . . Crazy hike as we took the least traveled western route. . .
Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.
She can’t say whether she found her dream or not, but she did love the view from the top. . . hopefully you too can enjoy the view in the following video! http://vimeo.com/71463771
July 27, 2013
My garden continues to produce an abundance of yummy vegetables . . . I planned ahead and did plant a larger variety this year than last, so we are enjoying not just zucchini, but getting tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, a few peas still, hot peppers,spinach, broccoli, lettuce, beets, onions and garlic. Things are taking off and really growing. I try to use principles of companion gardening, however this year my garden did some things naturally. For example my green beans are vining up the sunflowers. I love it and because of that is why I enjoy not planting in little rows . . .