Tuesday (Sept 30) - Friday (Oct 3) - We drove to Vail Cascade Conference Center for Diana's Colorado Association of Storm Water and Flood Plain Managers conference and stayed in a quite ritzy place at the base of the ski lifts. Neither of us had spent much time in Vail so took the opportunity to learn about it. It is a very beautiful valley and the hotel personal were very friendly and accommodating. That's the upside. The rest of it is just not our style. Good experience but won't be doing it on our dime. Fortunately Weld County picked up this tab. We left Friday, had a nice dinner in Moab, UT and spent the night in a quaint motel in Mexican Hat, UT.
Saturday (Oct 4) - Early start to a long (fun!)day. Just a half hour drive to Monument Valley Tribal Park. The views are iconic and wonderful, as anyone that's seen a western knows. The 17 mile drive is along a horrendous road. We stopped several times but no hikes and it took about 2 hours because of the slow going.
Three hours away is Canyon De Chelley National Park. Here we took the rim drive a short way and talked with some of the Navajo artists that displayed their wares. At one o'clock we started a jeep tour of the valley. One can only access the valley floor with a Navajo guide. Our guide was a very friendly, very informative guy named Aaron/Chaco/Chuck. He used to give horse guided tours and now great jeep tours.
Along the way we happened upon Hubbell Trading Post and the Navajo weaving.
We then traveled four hours to Bernalillo, NM (stop for dinner in Gallup) and asleep by 930p, preparing for another early morning start.
Sunday (Oct 5) - Up at 415a to sit in traffic to go into Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque to watch the mass balloon ascension of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Unfortunately it was cancelled, due to high winds aloft, though some nice looks at some new balloons that never left the ground.
Mid-morning we drive to Alamosa, CO in time to watch the Broncos win against the Cardinals and prepare for another fun day.
Monday (Oct 6) - Slept in (some - 7a) then off to Great Sand Dune National Park. A wonderful place to wander along the creek and sand. Learned about Col. Pikes contribution to the area as part of the Louisiana Purchase, too! Not needing to hurry home we take the long way up through the mountains instead of I-25. A wonderful day - home safe and sound with kitties waiting.