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Old 08-15-2015, 10:29 AM   #1
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Balloon Festival Here We Come

Well, I booked tickets for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in Oct. We will be heading from East TN to NM toward the end of September to be at the festival by the 3rd, have 3 nights booked.

Any special places that we need to visit around the balloon festival.

After the festival we will head north through Sante fe and probably go up into Colorado. Any advice on campgrounds or state parks heading up north. Are there any state parks to stay away from, we have a ~40' motorhome and will be pulling a jeep.

What about must see places in the general area of northern NM and southern Colorado.

We are planning to be on the road for ~1 month so we should have time to stop and smell the roses if we can find them.
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:48 AM   #2
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Sign up to help CREW at the AIBF, you will have a blast and maybe even get to fly. Visit old town, the zoo. Many Indian Casinos in the area. Head north to Durango or Chama and ride the narrow gauge railroad.
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:09 PM   #3
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You can visit this from either Albuquerque or Santa Fe but I'd highly recommended it. It's Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

With our 40' motorhome w.We stayed nearby at Cochiti Lake Corp of Engineer campground (some electric) and did our Santa Fe visiting from there.

Your three days at the Balloon Fiesta will fly by so midday will be your best chance to do things such as the tram ride to Sandia Peak or visiting Old Town. If you're staying at the Fiesta site some of the roads will be closed late afternoon for the night festivities so make sure you're back in time.

From Santa Fe you could do a day trip to Taos. Then to get to Colorado I'd recommend you take Hwy 84 into Pagosa Springs. You'll pass by Abiquiu - the fames painter Georgia O'Keefe home. It's a beautiful drive. Abiquiu Lake Corp of Engineer campground would be suitable for your motorhome. We've stayed there.

At Pagosa Springs you'll find awesome hot springs to wind down. There are extremely clean concrete pools of varying temperatures on a hillside overlooking the river. We easily spend three hours or so soaking and relaxing. You can bring a cooler in with you for food and drinks or they do sell some things.

Heading west on 160 to Durango, you might consider a drive up to Silverton. It is absolutely gorgeous. Further west on 160 is Mesa Verde National Park and if you can climb ladders and crawl through a short space, one of the ranger-led tours is fantastic to do.

Lots of neat stuff in that whole area. Have fun.
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
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All the suggestions above are right on target. Highway 84 into Pagosa Springs is easy to do, but be aware that there is a short downhill grade about 15 miles south of town - not meant to scare you - just know that it's there. We drive that highway frequently, since we live in Pagosa Springs. Be on the lookout for wildlife in that area. We've seen elk, deer and bears in that section. And yes, the hot springs are a great way to spend an afternoon! If you'd like to stay in Pagosa, here's a list of RV parks around the town:

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions...pagosa-springs

Not sure which direction you're headed in southern CO, but highway 160 over to Durango is very scenic, and in Durango, there are many things to do. We'd also recommend a trip over to Mesa Verde - a fantastic place to explore. There are two RV parks just outside the main entrance. Our favorite is the Mesa Verde RV Resort:

Mesa Verde RV Resort, Mancos Colorado

Another RV park is the Ancient Cedars at Mesa Verde.

https://www.ancientcedarsmesaverde.com/

The Alpen Rose RV Park is often recommended as a place to stay in Durango.

Alpen Rose RV Park Durango, Colorado - Home

I would suggest a trip up to Silverton, either by the train, or, by use of your Jeep. Driving the RV there, and especially over highway 550 to Ouray (called the Million Dollar Highway) will probably be a bit unnerving if you're not used to mountain driving. With the Jeep, it's easy - be advised there are no barriers on this road to keep you from abruptly visiting the bottom of the canyon, but the speed limits will keep you safe.

If you're headed east from Pagosa Springs, you'll go over Wolf Creek Pass, and through one of the most beautiful canyons in Southwest Colorado. It's a long climb, but not a problem if you simply take your time. Go down the other side in the same gear you climbed the pass, and you will be fine.

You'll end up passing through South Fork, and, if headed east from there, over La Veta Pass, another scenic and easy mountain pass. That will put you back on the high plans on the eastern side of the Rockies, with access to Colorado Springs, and points east.

Hope that helps! Enjoy the trip!
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Old 08-15-2015, 06:28 PM   #5
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One of the Albuquerque tourist adventures is the tram ride on the east side of the city. Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway - Sandia Peak Tramway
I'd think it's worth a couple hours of your time. We enjoyed it.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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All great info,thanks a lot guys.We arrive on the first of Oct.
for six days.This will be our first time there.I have heard nothing
but good things.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
Well, I booked tickets for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in Oct. We will be heading from East TN to NM toward the end of September to be at the festival by the 3rd, have 3 nights booked.

Any special places that we need to visit around the balloon festival.

After the festival we will head north through Sante fe and probably go up into Colorado. Any advice on campgrounds or state parks heading up north. Are there any state parks to stay away from, we have a ~40' motorhome and will be pulling a jeep.

What about must see places in the general area of northern NM and southern Colorado.

We are planning to be on the road for ~1 month so we should have time to stop and smell the roses if we can find them.
We just came through there on our way south from the Black Hills. Lots to do and see around Durango/4 Corners area. We stayed in Dolores at Dolores River Campground and toured the area in our car.
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:04 PM   #8
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X2 on the tram and Old Town. In Old Town there is a historic restaurant that has excellent New Mexican cuisine. Can't remember the name right now but ask a local about the oldest restaurant and they should be able to point you to it.

We also enjoyed Ackima (sp?) Just off 40 west of town. It is a great day trip to an authentic village with a great story.

Make sure you have lots of room on your cards for pictures, you will take a bunch.
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Old 08-15-2015, 11:03 PM   #9
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If you plan to dine on Mexican food you need to know the New Mexico Official State Question, it's Red or Green? I always pick green but I grew up there. While visiting Old Town be sure to dine on Mexican food. They will help you with the answer.

Santa Fe has interesting town square and great Mexican food.

Taos also has an Old Town and lots of art.
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osok View Post
If you plan to dine on Mexican food you need to know the New Mexico Official State Question, it's Red or Green? I always pick green but I grew up there. While visiting Old Town be sure to dine on Mexican food. They will help you with the answer.

Santa Fe has interesting town square and great Mexican food.

Taos also has an Old Town and lots of art.
Or, when asked, the best answer of all: "Christmas"! That will get you both.
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:52 PM   #11
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We were there last year. You're going to love it. First time I'd been up before the sun since I retired, but so worth it.
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Old 08-16-2015, 10:54 PM   #12
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The balloon fiesta is my hometown area, so here are some points.
1) Activities are early mornings and evenings. Middle of the day you will either go out to see stuff or be bored sitting in your MH, not much at the balloon fiesta park.
2) Mornings are when the balloons go up, at sunrise. Evenings are no flying, but they do the inflation and glow events, and sometimes music concerts.
3) Staying at the park area is good idea, traffic really sucks getting in to the area both morning and evening.
4) ABQ has countless good restaurants to eat at, expect many of them to put green chile on almost everything, incl breakfast. Most is not hot spicy, just a nice flavor. Although it might be hot to those not used to it. Green or red is just the color of the chile before roasting and making the sauce, red is usually hotter, but ask the waiter.

As for ideas for daytime, Old Town Albuquerque is one day and you will be done. Tram is good, incredible views up there (peak is approx 10,100 ft, ABQ city about 5300 ft). There is a restaurant up on top and some hiking trails. The Nob Hill area on Central has a lot of restaurants and bars type places, and very walking friendly. ABQ has many very good microbreweries and most have brewpubs around town, some with food service, some with food trucks, some bring your own food. The ABQ national Museum of Nuclear Science is very good to learn about the nuclear weapons development and the role NM played. Located just on eastern side of town.

Santa Fe is only about 45 minutes north up I-25 from the park. Another day trip, there is also an old town area, kind of like ABQ old town with typical tourist stores, but SF has more galleries around.

Madrid (pronounced mad-rid, not ma-drid, by locals) is also a good day trip. Small old mining town that is now mostly galleries and stores along the main street. Nice ride in the mountains to get there, about 1 hour from the park.

About 2 hours form the park is Los Alamos, and the Bradbury Science Museum there is a good visit. Nice town to hang out and another day trip possibility.
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:51 PM   #13
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Anyone been to Durango Co and taken the train ride to Silverton. It's within a days drive, we are thinking of a side trip before or after the festival.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:52 PM   #14
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Durango is not a day trip. Plan to spend some quality time in the area. It's beautiful. We haven't done the train ride but have driven the highway to Silverton many times.

I'd recommend going before Albuquerque, if possible otherwise you'll be getting into mid-October and could get some light snow. The color change on the aspen are around mid-September.
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