Wednesday Roam — Balloon Fiesta Week

This has been a busy week. My good friend, Jeanne, arrived last Wednesday and we have been doing all sorts of things. She has some health issues so we were pacing ourselves staying fairly close to home….mostly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe International Balloon Fiesta started this week. I live a few miles north of the fiesta grounds and when the wind is right, I get a lot of balloons at my house. We were watching but the winds mostly blew out of the north so we didn’t have any close encounters. They have about 100,000 people show up on weekend mornings when there is a mass ascension so we opted not to get into the crowds. They usually have about 700,000 people in town during the fiesta’s nine days including two weekends.



The week of Balloon Fiesta is a crazy time with all sorts of extra events scheduled. The Rio Grande Arts and Crafts show is one of the best shows in the country. We spent about 90 minutes browsing the show but only got to see half of the booths in one of the tents.

584_3250The St. Louis Cardinals are playing in the MLB’s National League playoffs and we both are strong Cardinal fans. I put up my Cardinal Nation flag and we (our guys) won the NLCS over the LA Dodgers (Yes!!   Go Cards!!!)  Now they have to play the SF Giants for the pennant.

584_3254We visited several wineries and a couple craft breweries. Albuquerque and the Rio Grande valley are rich in wineries and breweries. Corrales, a little town about a mile away, has five wineries. We visited a couple and then went up to Ponderosa winery up in the Jemez Mountains. We were trying to alternate between wineries and breweries but seem to favor the wineries. 584_3272

We spent the afternoon at my favorite local brewery…Kaktus Brewing, in Bernalillo. It is a small place and very laid back but several days a week they have performers come in. On Saturday they were celebrating their first anniversary and had Flamenco dancers and a good Latin guitarist. I’ve been enjoying this group for about a month and was glad to see them again. Here is a Youtube short video.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we went to the Ponderosa winery we took a side trip to the Gilman Tunnels up in the Guadalupe river canyon. If you saw the movie “3:10 to Yuma” you might remember the tunnel scene that was filmed there. The RR tunnels date to the 1920s but there is a narrow state road that uses them now. The drive up the canyon is very pretty . There are trout in the river if you can get down the steep slope to get to the water.

On Sunday we drove over to the town of Madrid, a one-time mining ghost town that is now an artist colony and collection of shops and galleries.My daughter, Jill, went with us and we had a good time but barely scratched the surface of what they have to see and do. We took advantage of the old soda fountain and walked through several nice galleries.  Jeanne and Jill decided to mimic the local mountain goat sculptures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe old town was discovered by “Hippies” in the 1960-70s and then it grew into the artist  colony.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATuesday morning we had a visit from one of our local hawks. He was hunting for his breakfast but was taking an interest in my cat, Watson. I’m not sure what his intentions were but he was curious about the cat.  I’ve heard stories of cats being carried off by owls and large hawks but Watson is pretty big.


Jeanne had a nice visit…it is always good to see old friends and we have known each other since about 1972.584_3251



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