Winter in Paradise

It’s March and hard to believe our time at Pelican Lake Resort in Naples, Florida; is almost over. We went on an airboat ride in the Everglades, spent lots of time at the beach on Marco Island, and have attend lots of functions that the resort provides. I’ve also started a new Instagram account of nature pictures that will be from our travels. Follow me there if you’d like

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If you’d like to follow our blog and get an email each time I post, scroll to the bottom righthand side of the page and hover over the word “follow” and you can add your email address and be notified when I post. Or just check once in a while to see our travels.

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My sister and her husband visited and my niece also spent a few days with us making the family time in Naples that much better!! We painted a fish platter, the guys went fishing, we watch sunsets several evenings, and we enjoyed some much needed family time after the unexpected passing of my mom before Thanksgiving. Nothing brings family closer than time in PARADISE!!

The highlight of our trip was an airboat ride into the Florida Everglades. What a great day we had together enjoying nature.

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More pictures from the Everglades…

Shelling is a passion of mine and I found my first Junonia shell on this trip.

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Now trying to find as many different sizes of horse conchs as I can find.

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A few other shells…

We head west in mid-May and will go as far west as Indio, California. Travel with us through this blog or instagram (campingkonneys4) and see the different aspects of our travel with us! Safe travels to everyone heading home or traveling the country!!

Our 2019 travels…Each red dot is a place we stayed while traveling the country.

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Last Day of Balloons (for this year)

The famous “Albuquerque Box” is a terrain-influence feature that produces a very predictable wind pattern that is helpful in navigating balloons.

During the fall, the prevailing wind direction in the Albuquerque region is from the south. On some mornings, however, the lower winds flow off the Sandia Mountains from  the north. This wind develops in a very shallow layer near the surface, allowing pilots to fly from north to south, Just a few hundred feet above the surface, winds flow in the prevailing direction from the south to the north, allowing pilots to ascend and descend into the different wind layers and fly in a “box”. It’s easy to see the “box” of flight if you watch certain balloons; as you can see then flying in one direction and then notice them flying back in the opposite direction a little while later.

The video below was from the mass ascension, where the balloons all try to go up about the same time. It’s pretty cool to watch and again, the winds were a little high so all of them didn’t get to launch.

A few more of my favorites below…

Proof we were there!

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Balloon Fiesta, Day 4

Day 4 proved to be just as windy as the previous day so many of the special shapes balloons didn’t go up in the air, they just inflated on the ground so people could enjoy their shapes, even though they didn’t fly. These were some of my favorites.

We’ve been home from the fiesta for a couple weeks and I’m just now posting because I took the photographs with high resolution on my camera so I could have some of them blown up. Because of this, uploading them to the cloud used up all of my data in two days! And then after another day or two, I used up all of Greg’s data uploading them, so I had no data left to post. If you’re a camper, you know the wifi at the campgrounds is usually awful, so posting was out of the question until we got back home. Once we got home, we started packing for a move while also renovating our new home. Yesterday and today I found a few extra quiet moments in the early morning hours to post so I can finally be caught up with my blog!!

Many of the special shapes balloons are pop culture icons such as Darth Vader and Yoda. Shapes are also used by corporations as product promotions and outreach. The Creamland Cow-Airabelle is a crowd favorite. It didn’t go up any days that we were there.

If you wonder how these balloons fly it’s because the air or gas inside the balloons is lighter, or less dense than the air surrounding them. They have less molecules per unit of volume than the same unit of volume of air. When the lighter gas fills the balloon envelope, it displaces the air and creates its own buoyancy, which makes the balloon lift.

Day 3, AIBF

Day 3 was the Special Shapes day and because of the high winds on this day, the flag to fly stayed on yellow meaning they could fly, the winds were just dangerous. Green is a go and everyone can fly safely. Because there were several accidents on the first day, many of the special shapes decided to inflate, but remain on the ground. This still gave us a good idea of what the balloons looked like, it’s just so cool to see so many special shapes flying in the sky at the same time. So…we made our camping reservations for next year at the end of the day so we can return next year for more balloons. I’m still trying to get that one perfect picture!!

Day 2, Balloon Fiesta

Day 2 of the balloons was the best of the week. The weather got progressively colder each day and two days, many of the special shapes balloons weren’t able to launch. Those are my favorite balloons and many of them were blown up, but the winds were too high for them to launch as they are larger than the other hot air balloons. Still cool to see them blown up for sure!!

Here are some of the favorites from day 2…

The crowds were pretty unbelievable on this day because the weather was PERFECT! One picture shows the chainsaw carving contest that was also going on during the fiesta!

Here are a few more videos to enjoy!

 

Day 1 Of Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

What started as a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world. Held each year during the first week in October, the Balloon Fiesta now attracts more than 600 balloons and 1,000 pilots.

The AIBF (Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta) is a destination that everyone should participate in at least once. There are hundreds of colorful balloons drifting effortlessly in a crisp blue sky and brilliant fireworks displays in New Mexico’s desert landscape. Because of this, AIBF is one of the most photographed events in the world.

Sante Fe, NM

We have been in Sante Fe, NM for several days and we’ve visited the downtown area several times for some jewelry walks and art gallery walks. We also visited the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rock National Parks. We love the area of Sante Fe because of the elevation (7,000 feet) and because of the amazing landscape throughout the area. We spent a day with a realtor looking at houses in case we end up in the area one day because we do LOVE the western part of the US. We are staying at Sante Fe Skies RV Resort about 9 miles from town. It’s a typical western RV Resort (gravel) but its convenience to the area sites and uptown make it a great resort for camping. We like to visit the Palace of the Governors in downtown Sante Fe, especially on the weekends when the local Native American artisans show their wares.

Below are some pictures of the Sante Fe area.

We visited the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rock National Monument which was designated in 2001 for protection of its unique geologic landscapes. It’s a 4,645 acre Monument known for its light-colored, cone-shaped tent rock formations that are the result of explosive volcanic eruptions that occurred between 6 and 7 million years ago. There were two trails that we walked on; one that took us up a narrow canyon and then a steep climb to the mesa top for breathtaking views and the other took us along a loop trail so we could see a cave built into the rock formations.

The rocks were amazing and the canyon walk was so much fun especially in the tight areas!!

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More pictures of the tent rocks and our amazing day.

More pictures of the rocks.

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Cave dwelling in the side of the rocks. 

Now we are off to Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta.

Desert Museum

Today we visited the Desert Museum outside the Saguaro Park. We were able to view lots of cacti on the outdoor trails surrounding the museum. The cacti were marked with plaques naming each of the cacti and explaining more about desert life.

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This is an interesting picture showing real life Saguaro cacti and how tall they would be at different times in their life. So I’m thinking the saguaro seeds I bought need to be given to our grandchildren…we won’t live long enough for them reach maturity!!

There was a crested saguaro as we entered the museum; similar to the one we had seen in the park yesterday. This unusual young saguaro is just beginning to form a crest, which may eventually grow to more than six feed wide. A crest can develop when the growing point elongates into a line. In time the growing line may become greatly convoluted, like a brain. The cause, as we talked about a few days ago, is generally not known.

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We were also able to learn more about the Sonoran Desert while at the museum. We learned what actually makes a cactus, a cactus. First, to be a cactus, the spines must arise from areoles-which are highly specialized buds that look like rounding bumps, in chollas and prickly pears, each areole bears a cluster of longer spines among a thicket of tiny, fuzzy-looking spines. Spines help protect the cactus from being eaten; they also provide shade and reduce water loss. Below are prickly pear cacti and chollas.

When “teddy bear cholla” are bumped into, their pups fall off and they stick to people, shoes, animals, or just fall into the ground to reproduce. This pup stuck to my shoe…

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If you climb slightly onto rocky slopes of Arizona into the Sonoran Desert, which receives a bit more rainfall, you enter the “succulent desert” of the giant saguaro, the symbol of the Sonoran Desert. The saguaro survives by hoarding rainwater. Its roots radiate close to the surface, soaking up moisture. After a shower, feeder roots proliferate to speed absorption of moisture; when the soil dries, they die back. Saguaro must produce a great many seeds for they are a prized food of insects and birds. In an experiment, seeds were scattered in a saguaro forest, 1,000 to a plot. In less than an hour, harvester ants had carried away every seed in the plot.

Some of the new cacti we learned about today are shown below. Scroll over them or look at the comment below the picture to learn the name of the cacti.

We saw several animals while at the museum as well. Rattlesnakes, Desert Big Horns, and a variety of birds.

A few more pictures for you to enjoy…

Prickly Pear…

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We also visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson. This beautiful Catholic mission; often called White Dove of the Desert, is open to the public and has a museum that talks about the history of the Mission and its restoration. This was a very spiritual and peaceful ending to our trip to Tucson.  Off to Sante Fe, New Mexico tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Tombstone for the Day

Tombstone is a town in southeastern Arizona, known for its Wild West history. On the Main Street, the O.K. Corral outdoor theater re-enacts an 1881 cowboy gunfight. The town was founded in 1879 by prospector Ed Schieffelin and was one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier. The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced millions in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. It’s best known as the site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and most of its revenue currently comes from tourism. There are lots of little shops, some good restaurants and of course an ice cream shop. We had lunch at the Big Nose Kate’s Saloon and the food was good and the entertainment was excellent as well.

One of the most famous entertainment joints in the 1880s in Tombstone was the Bird Cage Theater. It was a “theater” on the front, but inside it was actually a gambling hall, a saloon, and a brothel that drew lusty men from far and wide. It’s stated that the Bird Cage was named for the cages that suspended from its ceilings, where ladies of the night kept their customers entertained 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. If you enter the Bird Cage, you can see the bullet holes that still riddle the flaking ceilings and musty walls. You can take a self-guided tour through the old theater, with mannequins adding a spooky presence to the scene.

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Bird Cage Theater

Greg being entertained at the Big Nose Kate Saloon for lunch.

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Big Nose Kate is believed to have been the first prostitute in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Her biggest claim to fame was the fact that she was also Doc Holliday’s girlfriend. In 1881, Tombstone had a population of around 5,000 inhabitants, and it supported 110 saloons and fourteen 24 hour gambling halls. It is no wonder that “the red light women” or The Shady Ladies, practicing the world’s oldest profession, were among the first to arrive, and the most welcomed, in the mining camp. Some of the women were part-time entertainers, hoping to strike it right; some enjoyed their work, while others did it just for the money, For most, it was the only avenue to survival. Without a man to take care of her, a woman’s choice was often that of scandal or suicide. Though considered by most to be sinful, these women chose survival and were proud, rugged, and independent.

People were dressed in the clothing of the day and there were lots of areas for entertainment such as shooting paint guns, getting thrown in jail and riding a horse and buggy.

The town was quaint and a fun way to spend the afternoon.