October 2013


This is a follow up video from our New Mexico vacation, but just with photos of the Balloon Fiesta.

http://vimeo.com/77501589

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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. . .

IMG_0025Saturday 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).   😉

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0fiestaSunday 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.

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IMG_0405Monday 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.

IMG_0524Tuesday 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.

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IMG_0606Wednesday 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.

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20131010_174439Thursday 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.

IMG_0752Friday 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!

IMG_1049Saturday 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!

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A video of all our photos for everyone to enjoy!  https://vimeo.com/77350370

IMG_0040IMG_0075IMG_0110The 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 as part of our 7th anniversary.  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)

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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.