After Cole and I wrapped up our petsitting gig in Queen Creek, Arizona, we hit the road and headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Due to some sleep issues I’ve been having lately, we got a late start which didn’t allow for time to stop and do much of anything fun along the way so I put the pedal down, turned the music up, and focused on passing the miles as quickly as was safely possible, stopping only for gas and food along the way. Cole and I arrived safely at the motel in Albuquerque after sunset and began to plan out the next two days.
The main draw to Albuquerque was the annual Balloon Fiesta. Since they were not offering any of the night events that I was looking forward to during the time I would be in town, I spent the first full day exploring the Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Old Town areas of the city. Los Poblanos didn’t have their signature lavender field in bloom but the grounds were still beautiful to explore and photograph. It was fun to walk and explore all the little shops tucked into the tight nooks and crannies of the Old Town area as well. The architecture and use of color were beautiful and the shops were full of all sorts of intriguing art, clothing, and collectibles.
The second day, I got up early at 4:00 AM to make it to the festival in time for the Dawn Patrol event and subsequent balloon launch. Being on the field as so many giant balloons filled up and took off all around us was quite a memorable experience. Balloons in all sorts of shapes and colors surrounded the crowd in seemingly every direction and took over the sky high above. After just about every balloon was in the air, I quickly headed out to ride the Sandia Peak Tram which takes passengers 10,679 feet up in the air to the top of a mountain peak in hopes of getting some photos of the balloons from a higher vantage point. Unfortunately, the photographic part didn’t work out as planned for the balloons but the experience was still worth the time as it was a beautiful, albeit scary for this height phobic person, ride. At both places, I met and chatted with nice people who were also from out of town and in the area for a visit.
After the tram ride, I headed back to the motel to pack up and get on the road to Santa Fe. With my sleep issue continuing, I didn’t have the energy to explore anything in Santa Fe other than a couple of roadside photo stops coming into town. After one night in Santa Fe, Cole and I headed out to our next destination of Pueblo, Colorado. We made a few stops along the way. First at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and then at a deserted building compound shortly after crossing the New Mexico/Colorado border. Driving through the Colorado mountains was the first I felt the sense of fall, the foliage colors were bright and the air was crisp. I stopped at a windy scenic overlook shortly before hopping on the I-25 and hightailing it to Pueblo.
The original plan was to spend one night in Pueblo before heading to Denver for two nights but a snowstorm was predicted to drop six inches of snow in Denver so I opted to stay two nights in Pueblo and delay my arrival in Denver to Friday, staying only one night. Today Cole and I have enjoyed lounging in the semi-warm motel room while the snow fell outside most of the day. I did laundry and went through and shared photos from the past week on the road. Tomorrow we’ll hit the road around 11:00 AM and slowly and carefully make our way to Denver. I suspect the roads will be clear so we shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
The upcoming week will be the final week for Cole and me on the road and I am both a bit saddened and happy about that. I’ve seen so many beautiful things so far these past five weeks but six weeks on the road seems to be my limit for this first road trip. I’m looking forward to catching up with family and friends in Wisconsin and getting settled into my own space while I begin to take the next steps in this journey and reflect upon everything I’ve seen and done on this trip. I’m hoping my sleep issue resolves itself soon so I have the energy and stamina to enjoy this final week on the road.