Thursday, October 16, 2008

The first six days

From the travel journal:

Friday, October 10, 2008, 10:15 pm

Since the theme of this vacation is flexible, we started off from the get-go making adjustments. Having originally talked about departing Aspen at 4 am and then 6 am, we left at 10:38 am. Today being our biggest driving day and having gotten such a late start, we skipped both Abiquiu and Los Alamos and headed straight to Aunt Pat's in Albuquerque. We got here at about 6:15 pm. After drinks and hors d'oeuvres, we had an awesome dinner of spaghetti squash, zucchini and tomato sauce and very nice conversation.

Got up at 4 am today and the alarm's set for 4:30 am for tomorrow so we can get to the Balloon Fiesta before the crowds.

Saturday, October 11, 2008, 10:47 pm

We got up early, had coffee waiting for us, drove to the Balloon Fiesta Park, got a good parking spot, walked around, went to the pilot briefing . . . and learned that the mass ascension was cancelled.

So we left, drove to Old Town, walked around the Plaza, ate breakfast at Little Anita's (just ok), visited the church on the plaza, came back to Aunt Pat's, napped, showered, had lunc, drove around Albuquerque, went to the Hispanic Museum (saw a cool exhibit by the de la Torre brothers), went to Nob Hill, had drinks at Kelly's, dinner at El Patio and walked around Central Street.

Since the weather is iffy for tomorrow am, we've decided to bag trying again with the Fiesta. Don't know where we'll be tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 12, 2008, ??

My hand's cold so my writing is a bit hard to read.

Sitting in front of a camp fire at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. We got up this am in Albuquerque, had breakfast at Aunt Pat's, left Albuquerque at approximately 11 am to drive north. Stopped in Santa Fe for way too long to spend way too much $ shopping at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Albertson's. Met someone who know Pascale & Manon at Trader Joe's. Drove to Abiquiu and got to Ghost Ranch just after 5 pm to find out that they have camping here. So here we are, camping at Ghost Ranck with a view of the Pedernal and an almost full moon. Great salmon dinner and great camp fire. Very cool night.

Monday, October 13, 2008, 8:29 pm

It's not quite as cold out tonight.

Still at Abiquiu, in campsite 55, not the camp site we started inl ast night but the campsite we slept in. Full moon is tomorrow so the sky has been bright.

Had dinner last night of salmon and sauteed yellow squash. Tonight is grilled beef kabobs. Very nice.

Last night was quite cold. We had the tent up with the doors open and everything got covered with frost. My feet never warmed up the whole night.

We slept until the sun hit the tent at a little after 8 am. Then got up, had coffee, and enjoyed our view looking directly at the Pedernal. We walked down to the office and discovered the showers/laundry/place to wash dishes on the way. Steve went out shooting while I washed last night's dishes and took a shower (yay!). We did a little shopping at the Trading Post, then I read while Steve hiked off trail to Chimney Rock. After he came back, we both headed up there, this time on trail (3 miles). Saw the sunset and watched the intense colors pop off the cliff walls.

Now I'm enjoying the campfire and we're discussing our options for our long drive tomorrow. Leaving early, leaving in the middle of the night to drive by moonlight . . . We'll see.

We did figure out that if we had left on time on Friday, we would not have camped here at Ghost Ranch. Serendipity?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 9:37 am

So, yesterday didn't end well. It was the fourth glass of wine that did it. The rest of the day went pretty smoothly except for the part where I got the phone call from our neighbor complaining about Ellie's non-stop barking. That left me feeling stressed, impotent, irresponsible, embarrassed . . .

We got up at 4:10 am, made coffee, finished packing up (Steve had done most of the packing Monday nite), got showers and were on the road by 5:11 am. We made good time, stopping in Farmington for coffee and Page for bicycle tires. We rolled into the North Rim about 10 hours later, too early to check in. We wandered a bit, then sat out on the west veranda for drinks and sunset. 3 glasses of wine later, Steve went to check in and to see if we could have the same room for 2 nights. Successful, he bought another round to celebrate and with my judgment impaired, I drank it down. I barely made it to the room (Cabin 60-65) and basically passed out. We missed our 9 pm dinner reservation (this was at approx. 6:30 pm) and our plans to see the canyon in the full moon.

Demon alcohol!

I did wake up in the middle of the night, thinking that we should go out for a walk but inertia, equilibrium (or the lack thereof) and common sense won out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 9:30 pm

Got up just before sunrise/moonset this morning. Walked to Bright Angel Point, then wandered over to the Lodge for breakfast. Went to the bookstore, then back to the room where Steve got his stuff together for a mountain bike ride. Between doing that, getting dialed in at the visitor's center and driving out to Parriswampit (or something like that) Point, he didn't start riding Rainbow Rim until 1 pm. And it turns out that was too late in the day.

I came back, got some lunch out of the cooler and ate and read on the veranda. I walked out to Bright Angel Point for sunset and waited for Steve.

At 7:30 pm, an hour and a half after sunset and at our appointed dinner time, I reported him overdue. A Park Police officer came out, lectured me and basically told me that given the length of the ride, it was too early for them to do anything and that they basically wouldn't do anything until the morning. He suggested that I drive out and look for him.

So I did. And I found him, freezing, in the dark, having just turned on to the highway. Warmed him up, brought him home and now bed.

Two nights at the North Rim and missed our dinner reservations both nights.

But the nice deputy and the nice lady from the Coconino County sheriff's office did follow up with me so I felt better about that.

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