Balloon Fiesta 2008

We enjoyed our time in Albuquerque. We found it was more fun to watch the balloons landing than taking off (landings tend to be a little more unpredictable). We joined the balloon chaser teams and hung out where there were a lot of balloons landing. The Special Shapes Rodeo was particularly neat - there were birds, bees, trains, fish, cats, pigs, and even Darth Vader. The Balloon Fiesta is something I would recommend to everyone - at least once in your life, it's worth taking in.

We are now in western Oklahoma, and should arrive in Missouri on Sunday, just in time to beat the storm which is following us across the states.

into New Mexico - Wolf Sanctuary

In Flagstaff, we had a certified Onan technician trouble-shoot our generator which was not running. He found that we had 3 more gas leaks and literally laughed at how bad the installation was (he called over other technicians and they all had a good laugh). Certainly, it is not so funny. The installers had used piping which was much smaller than called for by Onan, and they had not flaired the copper gas piping well; no amount of tightening would have prevented the leaks. The pipes were severely kinked by their attempts to tighten the connection and the technician was amazed that the generator ever ran! After another $400 in repairs, we're in business. Hopefully the installer will reimburse us once again for the problems.

After leaving Flagstaff, we visited the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico and stayed in their RV area. The wolves howled all night (it was fantastic) and strangely, Rex did not howl back. We had a visit in the morning from a tarantula, then took the tour of the sanctuary

We felt sorry for this 12 yr old partially blind wolf who seemed so very lonely in his enclosure. They had tried housing him with others but the others were too rambunctious for this old guy.

This wolf dog is a sad but typical example of a wolf dog - too much to handle for her family, she is now caught in between two worlds, not happy as the high content wolves may be in these enclosures, missing the family connection she once had with humans. Her sadness was clear in her eyes, and makes me cry. We enjoyed our visit but this was not a happy place for us - a holding place for wolves and wolf dogs who have nowhere else to go. The high content animals seem to be happy in their family groups, but low content animals are hurting to be members of a family. Though we have met many folks along the way who had wolf dogs and successfully merged them into their families, it is not something that should be left to amateurs - and many of these animals have to be destroyed.

Sedona - Pine Flat West campground

After leaving the South Rim, we headed towards Sedona and stayed in Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona for 5 nights. Sedona is in a beautiful setting, and we enjoyed visiting the local state parks / nat'l monuments. Unfortunately, the canyon we stayed in had a healthy skunk population, and we found out Rexie really likes to go after skunks. Perhaps he misses his brother Gabie so much, he thought those black & white kitties would make nice friends. He got skunked! Twice! On Saturday night, it was just a slight spraying, and we had to drive all the way to Cottonwood to find a groomer open on Sunday. Then Monday night, he got hit once again, this time a full spray in the face which blanketed his whole front end. We found a groomer in Sedona on Tuesday, but we think they were rough on him; he was extremely sore the next day and really struggled to move around. It took him a day or two to recover; now he is back to his normal happy self; most people comment on how good he looks and acts for his age.

From Sedona, we headed to Mund's Park where we recharged and rested at a full hook-up park for 4 nights. Then we headed up to Flagstaff for repairs on the generator.

Gary had a great time sliding down the "slide" at Slide Rock State Park:

At Montezuma's Castle:

A very sad Rexie sulking about the skunking - though still he has not learned his lesson and wants to hunt down that little kittie to extract his revenge:

Ray leaving our terrific little camping site at Pine Flat, on his way back to Seattle: