Tuesday, December 27, 2016


HaHa -- Went to The Local Brewhouse (less than a mile from home) for dinner this evening. Sat at the bar. I was identified as "Table - COWBOY" wearing my boots, 501's, western shirt, and cowboy hat.

OH, I had a pint of amber ale, Philly steak, & fries.

Monday, December 26, 2016


Didn't do much during Christmas Day.  Mostly played n the computer.  Dressed up for dinner (cowboy shirt, belt, Levis), hiking boots)   Weather had been threatening, but most of the day was beautiful, just a little cool.

Photo here is Sandia Peak from Westside Rd, Rio Rancho.

Relaxing and enjoyable Christmas dinner with cousin Don and friends Paul, Margie, and Jay.  Paul & Margie have the rental property where I spend the month last Winter and friends with Dom.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Eve Visitors

Christmas Eve afternoon, I was working in the house (OK, I was playing on the computer) when the door bell rang.  Looking out the hall window, the over-the-street couple were at the door.  I was dressed in a t-shirt, new camo kilt, and socks.  No time to change clothes, so I entered them dressed in the kilt.

No comment made about my dress by any of us. Showed them the house.  They were dressed in their GB Packers gear (cheeseheads are everywhere).  I don’t feel so conscious wearing the kilt.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Electronics Bench

The hobby room (just thought of the name of the room) is taking shape in the New Mexico house.  I got the electronics work bench and shelving assembles and staged into the room.

I am looking forwarding the learning and experimenting with my electronics.  Want to play with, learn, and build devices using Raspberry Pi. Arduino, Microchip, and discreet components.

When I went to work with General Motors, I had to shelve my electronics design interest.  With retirement, health issues under control, and moving into my New Mexico residence, I have been able to finally experiment and rekindle my interest in electronic design.

There is a little more work than needs to be done in this room.  Then, I need to change emphasis to my ham radio hobby - getting antennas up and the station on the air.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Computer Desk

Thanks for help with friends Don & Leland, I got my teak wood desk out of the garage and into the electronics/computer room in the new house.  Getting the desk in the room was the key to settling up this room.

That afternoon, I got right into setting up the computers.  (Notice the computer with open case - typical for computer geeks.)

In this photo are the Linux desktop (currently with Mint 16.1) Lenovo desktop (originally Win 8.1 upgraded to Win 10) and an old Gateway laptop (running Win XP).

Working on the section of the room with the electronics and experimental part of the room. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016


The third Friday of odd numbered months is Adult Night at Explora!  Explora is the Science Center and Children's Museum of Albuquerque.  High Desert Amateur Radio Club sets up a display in a room of the museum for Adult Night. The display shows some of the activities the club.  Members are available to discuss the hobby with Explora patrons.

Central to the High Desert ARC exhibit is an operating had radio station.  

Explora is located in the Old Town district of Albuquerque on 1701 Mountain Rd NW. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tailgate Flea Market

Another function hosted by High Desert ARC - a tailgate flea market .  The function was held in the South of the Intel parking lot in Rio Rancho.  The club hosts this free flea market each year on the Saturday near Veteran's Day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Quiet Las Vegas Weekend

After playing tour-guide Thursday/Fridat, I had a quiet weekend.  Was hoping to visit with relatives, but things did not work out.

Saturday,  I kitted up for a bike ride.  Stopped in a bike shop to get map(s).  Very nice new free maps were available for the Southern Nevada and Henderson, NV.  Grabbed the hybrid out of the van and ready for a bike ride on the Pittman Wash Trail in Henderson.  Alas, I had 2 broken spokes on the rear wheel. 

 Had dinner at the hotel cafe - decent order of spaghetti and meatballs.  Champagne brunch at the hotels Grand buffet. 

Met up with a couple guys from my Army Unit for lunch.  Was a little too much food, but good food at BJ's with a pint of beer. Great to see and visit with Nick and Alex (see photo). 

The afternoon/evening was spend napping and working on photos from the trip.  Headed back towards Albuquerque about daybreak. 

Stopped about 15 miles South of Hoover Dam to take a couple photos of the Colorado River downstream from the dam.  Late lunch in Flagstaff.  Was just getting dark as we got off I-40, heading to my house.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tourist in Las Vegas

Friday was the day to settle in at Las Vegas and cousin Don could get everything ready for the pipe show.  First on the agenda was breakfast at Blueberry Hill.  Having a breakfast there has been a tradition for Don and a couple of hist pipe-making friends - Victor and Nathan.  Pictured here is Don with his order of blueberry pancakes.

After breakfast, we went back to the hotel room.  Needed to gather my cameras for the drive red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  This in a great place to get out and way from the glitz of Las Vegas - and its only about 15 miles from the "Strip".  I have been there many times, but was looking forward to an opportunity to take more photos of the area.

Red Rock Canyon is a fee area managed by the BLM.Your National Park Pass gets you into the area.  A shameless plug - its only costs $10 for us seniors - 62 yo and older.  What a deal!

Drove the scenic road - a one-way road.  Watch out for cyclists, hikes, and (first time I have seen) a tour on Segways).  It was a beautiful day - not a cloud in the sky and a little breeze to freshen the air.  Actually, I would have preferred some more clouds in the sky, they would have added sine interest in the photos.  (Middle photos was taken in Red Rock Canyon)

Back from the room, it was time for a nap for me and Don did some work, pricing his pipes.  The last thing in our agenda for the day was some dinner and downtown Las Vegas' Fremont Street Experience.  Its an awesome way the the city has re-vitalized the downtown area, bringing in business off the "Strip".  For all of the time I have been coming to Las Vegas - must be about 25 years), most visits have included a stop  downtown - even before the "Experience".

First on the agenda for the evening was some food.  Grabbed a burger and beer at Binion.s Cafe. Then, on to the show.

What is the Fremont Experience - its a downtown party.  Fremont Street is now a pedestrian street.  There a 1500 foot section covered with LEDs with a powerful sound system.  Every night, the crowds are treated to a 6 minute LED and sound show.  there are street performers,, and you can walk up, get a beer (plastic cups only, please) and enjoy the experience.

There is even a zip-line for an exciting view of Fremont Street.  Its was a zoo getting in and out of there on a Friday night.  We took a cab from our hotel, so we didn't have to worry about the traffic and a place to park.

Don topped off the night with beer and conversation with his pipe friends, I crashed into bed. (Bottom photos is if Fremont Street Experience)

Friday, November 4, 2016

On the Road Again

A cousin of fine offered a ride with him the the West Coast Pipe Show in Las Vegas.  It had been several moths since I was on an over-night trip, nothing I had to do at home, I accepted the offer.

Was a long day - near 600 miles on the road.  Started from my house in Rio Rancho about 6am.  Stopped in Flagstaff, AZ for late breakfast.

Checked out Hoover Dam to look at the new visitor center.  I had been at the dam several times, and saw the new facilities in 2011, but did not go into the visitor's center.

I shot some stills and video during the drive,  Cousin Don shot some video, too, making a video record of the trip.  I also set up the GoPro camera on the dash.  Sill have to download that card to see what I got.  Don't use the camera much, and may not had captured much.

Got into out hotel (Palace Station) and unloaded the vehicle.  Met some of Don's pipe friends at Jack's Pub in the hotel.  Had a pint of been and ordered a burger & fries.  Service was poor.  Ordered burger MW, and it came MR.  Couldn't get the server to pay any attention to us.  By now, the smoke and noise was getting to much for me.  Don took care of the bill for me, I headed to the room for quiet and sleep.

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's a Wrap

Yesterday was the last morning for the 2015 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  As usual, I stopped at IHOP for breakfast before driving over to the park.  I arrived early for my "Oh-Dark-Thirty" shift.  Opened the tent and turned on the lights.

Was not too long when Dave (N0LVA arrived.  He told me the combo for the trailer and we started setting up the station.

Bands were terrible.  We did tried by calling "CQ"s.  There were a couple QSOs we could here, but seemed like no one heard us.  Wish we had the laptop with JT65 software.  We were able to hear digital traffic.

Winds were a little "iffy" early.  There was no Dawn Patrol. Eventually, we got the green flag for the last mass ascension of the 2016 Balloon Fiesta.

We were wondering where John was, as he was also supposed to be at the tent.  Eventually he called and we found out he had fallen the previous evening and broke a bone.  That left Dave and I (me nearly 69 and Dave 72 yo) to disassemble to ham radio station and our exhibit, and finally packing everything into the club trailer.

Both of us have knee issues, to had to take many breaks.  It was nearly 11am when we walked back to our vehicles.  I needed to do 2 errands on the way home.   Stopped by a FedEx office to return a kilt I had ordered (size exchange).  Finally, Smiths for some groceries.

Home about noon, I crashed into bed.

Brisk Morning at Balloon Fiesta

Was glad I had a couple days off from volunteering.  Gave me some time to rest, recover, and get some other things accomplished.  This morning, I had another early morning shift at the NM5HD tent.

Stopped by IHOP for breakfast. Arrived Balloon Fiesta Park a little before 4am.  Traffic into the park was heavier than Wednesday morning.  Was able to get about the same parking spot.  Had to wait for the gate opening.  Headed over to the tent and opened it up.

Soon, Frank arrived.  Little bit after was our committee chairman walked in.  Set up the station, prepared to be on the air and meet our public.

Winds were just too high for balloon launch until about 8:45. I spent some time tuning through 7 M and 20 , but no much activity.  Was at hoping at least to find some action on the county Hunter's Net.  No luck.  When the sky lightened up, I noticed another antenna (dipole), looking for perhaps 75/80M.  We checked into a local 2M net.

Thinking it would be a short launch window, we packed up the station to beat the traffic leaving the park. There will be another crew at the fiesta this afternoon.  Tomorrow (Sunday) morning I will be back for the last half day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta..

Thanks to an "expert" on the blogger help blog, I was able to re-post the Saturday report.  From the help blog, it looks like a lot of people had problems with blogger.

Pissed at Blogger

This morning I tried to write my blogging post about the last day of the Balloon Fiesta.  First, I could no post a photo.  Next, all photos disappeared from both of my blogs. Nnow, my last posting http://naugabike.blogspot.com/2016/10/brisk-morning-at-balloon-fiesta.html  has disappeared.  Instead, I have 2 copies of  http://naugabike.blogspot.com/2016/10/first-time-at-balloon-fiesta.html.

What gives, blogger?

Friday, October 7, 2016

First Time at Balloon Fiesta

After some false starts, Wednesday, I had my first shift at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  As I expected, I could not sleep
Tuesday night.  Think it was the anticipation and worrying about over-sleeping. Read and tried to sleep/nap.  Got up, dressed, grabbed my cameras and headed to IHOP for breakfast.

Glad I donned a medium weight jacket.  Was a little chilly (mid-40s) when I headed out.  Stopped to gas up the car and arrived at the Balloon Fiesta Park about 4am.  One of the fiesta officials came by and plugged in our tent.

The Wednesday crew started showing up.  Grabbed the electronics out of the trailer and set up the Special Events Station W5B.  One on our club members told me what to look for.  Soon, it was about the time for balloons of the "Dawn Patrol" to take to the skies.  Their function was to check the winds before the mass ascension for the rest of the balloons.

As the sun started rising over the Sandia Mountains, balloons were lifting off.  There was a constant flow of balloons rising into the sky and heading to the north,  As I watched the ascension, the first balloons to lift off seemed to the those of traditional shape.

Later in the ascension came the larger and special balloons.  I captured photos of some of these unusual balloons.  Here is a cow, just for my friends in Wisconsin.

It was a good thing we had a full compliment of volunteers to man the High Desert ARC tent.  Like a kid in a candy store, I was excited watching all of the balloons.  Most of my time was closer to the launch field to take photos.

Band conditions were the pits like they have been all year.  There also were some problems with tent power - kept tripping the breaker.  Don't think we made any contact in HF.  Two nets were conducted during the morning.  I think they were both on 2M.

It was a perfect morning for flying.  One of the things I learned about the Albuquerque air currents often create a "box".  Winds aloft were to the North.  After flying North, they dropped altitude and the surface winds often brought the balloons back to the Balloon Fiesta Park for landing.

Once the mass ascension had been running for over an hour, people started leaving the park. The club shut down the HF station and one of the nets concluded. Two of us members stayed until the second net was over.  By about 11 am, most of the balloons had landed and it was our time to close up for the day.

While I was tired, I also was hungry.  Stopped by a couple stores near Cottonwood Mall killing time until the clubs Wednesday lunch.

Exhausted, I got home and crashed onto my bed.  Slept for a couple hours. got up and transferred photos from the camera to the hard drive.  Processed some of the better photos and posted some on

Photos:  Dawn Patrol,  Specialty Balloon,  Special Events Station W5B and High Desert ARC tent

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

W5B SetUp Redux

Core group of High Desert ARC members returned to Balloon Fiesta Park to (again) set up the Amateur Radio Special Events Station W5B. The station should be on the air starting Tuesday morning.
Confusion between the club and the fiesta organizers cause the club tear down and pack up the station last Thursday. I will leave powers-to-bee in the club to iron out all of this confusion and consideration for 2017.
In this photo. club members Merle, Larry, and Dave are checking out the antenna installation.
My first shift (with the new schedule) is Wednesday morning,  I am to be at the park at Oh-Dark-30 (about 4:30 am).  At that time, we pull the electronics out of the trailer and connect cables, plug in the power and hopefully be on the air. 
We will have literature about amateur radio and the High Desert ARC.  Once again, we are near Gate 3 in the NE corner of Balloon Fiesta Park.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Changed Residency

Once we (HDARC) finished removing us from the balloon fiesta grounds, I was able to continue doing what I had planned to do.  First it was up to Bernallilo to get my new New Mexico driver's license.  Just needed the eye test, and was able to get my new license with motorcycle endorsement. While there, I was also allowed to register for vote in New Mexico.  the problem was I could not to change the car title at this office.  I had to drive down into Albuquerque to accomplish that. 

This was done ant it was about 2pm.  With my day, I decided to treat myself to a brew, burger, & fries at Spinns (see photo).  the had the Bosque Amber Ale - think it was the first time I had that beer. Exhausted when I got back to the house so headed to bed for a nap.

Still have to exchange plate(s) on the car, but I can now call me a resident of New Mexico.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Balloon Fiesta SNAFU

When I got to ham radio club Thursday breakfast/coffee, the group was-a twitter, having to go to the Balloon Fiesta grounds to remove (and supposedly re-assemble) the booth.  I  have heard different problems with what we had set up from the tent was not pretty (is soiled), the test was  blocking a large tent door, we were set up where the fiesta wants to park emergency vehicles. 

Anyway, a few of us went out and disassembled the tent and stored in into the club trailer.  The Fiesta folks were supposed to have a replacement tent for us to use all set up for us in a different location.  Alas. there was no tent for us as far as we could see.  Our chairman called the person we coordinated with from the fiesta.  When we were done packing up, she had not gotten back to us as to what we were to do.  So we exited the park with our equipment until and if we get word where we can operator and take part of the fiesta.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Colors - Enchanted Circle

TV here in the Albuquerque area has been touting the Fall colors,  In the N. New Mexico mountains. the colors were forecast to be peak about the first of October.  Since I would be busy volunteering at the HDARC tent ant Balloon Fiesta, I decided to make a drive today.

Got an early start, was past Santa Fe when the sky started showing some light.  Wanted some breakfast, but saw nothing comcenient until I got to the outskirts of Taos.  Filled up gas in the car.  Next door I saw El Taosena Restaurant.

When on the road, I like to eat at local establishments.  The problem is you may not what you are getting.  There were a lot of cars out front of El Taosena, usually a good sign.  Had a waffle and sausage pattie.  Did not want to trust my stomach on any Mexican dish lest the food come right through me while on the road.  Not impressed, food was just warm.  Was finished with my food before I got a second cup of coffee.

On up the road.  Drive the Enchanted Circle in  clockwise direction.  This was an error, Much of the drive, I was driving into the sun.  The forest in this part of New Mexico is mostly conifersm with a splattering of poplars. Disappointing for someone that has experience the colors of New England hardwoods.

It was a beautiful day for the drive.  Was a little chilly when I stopped for breakfast, but quickly warmed up as the sun rose.  Did not stop on the drive, except to take photos.  No reason to stop and shop for keepsakes, not room in the new house.

When I got to Espanola on the way back home, I needed to use the facilities.  Took the time to pick up a snack, Powerade, and ice cream bar.  Was home in Rio Rancho about 2pm.  Grabbed my cameras out of the car, into the house, took off my boots and jeans, crashed on the bed.

I brought several cameras with me.  The only two I used were the Canon 60D with Tamron 18-200 mm lens and the Canon Rebel T1i with canon 75-300 mm (1.6 cf).  the 60D was set up for shooting bracketed exposures for my HDR software.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Special Event Station W5B

High Desert Amateur Radio Club will be operating Special Events Station W5B during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  The Fiesta opens on Saturday, October 1st and runs through Sunday, October 9th.

At this time, we are planning to operate 40 M or 20 M SSB band conditions permitting.  I understand the first weekend is also the California QSO Party, so we may have some competition on the bands.

If bands are terrible (as they have been) you may find us on 20 M digital JT65.

I am scheduled to work the station/booth/display mornings on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.   If you are at the balloon fiesta, stop by and visit.  You will find us in the NE corner of the grounds near gates 31 and 32.  If you have your license, you may be able to operate the station.  For my friends in Iowa/Nebraska, look for us on the air.

Photo:  Ed (KC2LM), looks on as Club President Jerry (K6LIE) and Dave (N0LVA) check out the antenna.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Mexico State Fair and Wrangler PRCA Rodeo

My cousin Don and I attended the New Mexico State Fair on fair military day.  As veterans, it cost us just $2 each admission to the fair.  This helped take out the sting out of the $20 parking.  I had splurged on the parking to I did not have to walk so far from the car to the fair entrance and back after the rodeo.

We watched a couple dogs jumping from a "dock" ala Dave Letterman.  I had not eaten because of fasting for a physical exam earlier in the day.  Stopped to "feast" on fair food.  On down Main Street and looked at some of the exhibits of Native American and Hispanic handiwork.

By this time, my left knee was giving me problems,  After rest, we headed toward the Tingley Coliseum to wait for the rodeo.

The was a tribute to military and veterans.  There was a special tribute to us Viet Nam Veterans, recognizing the name calling and worse we were subjected to when we got home.

The rodeo was a typical PRCA rodeo.  We determined that the cattle won the rodeo.  Seemed many of the cowboys were not in their groove. Check my photography blog for information of my photo shoot.  I learned lots and ended up taking over 150 photos at the fair.

The rodeo was over about 9 pm.  Don and I took out time exiting the coliseum and walking to the car.  I dropped Don near his home and headed toward Rio Rancho.  Stopped by The Local Brewhouse for a pint of amber ale before heading home and bed,

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Mexico 165

I was debate what to do for Labor Day.  It had been some time since I was on the road to take photos.  Decided to drive the "back road' up to Sandia Peak.

Checked the cameras (60D, T1i, & S95 - Canon) and loaded them into the car.  Stopped into Weck's for breakfast.  I have discovered Weck's "Nana's Value meals".  Smaller meal and good priced.  Had french toast, sausage, and coffee.

From Bernalillo, I crossed I-25 and headed up NM 165.  As I drove through the town of Placitas, I though "another day I will have to take time to scope out this town".  I saw several cyclist climbing the mountain.  Too much for me!

From the photo taken as I climbed out of the valley (see above), I was excpecting the top of the summit would be in the clouds.

At the edge of Placitas, the road pavement ends.  I was taking my time, enjoying the beautiful  day and scenery.  Soon, the road got very rough. At time, I was unable to make more than 5 mph.  The road winds up the Northeast side of Sandia Mountain. As climbing, the road was getting narrower and the brush/trees closer to the road.

I took my time. Stopped many time to shoot photos.  At one time, a cyclist on a cross bike rolled up the road past me as I was stopped to get a shot.

Being the monsoon season, the wild flowers were abundant along the road.  A couple times, the cyclist and I leap-frogged passing each other on the road. At one point, the road came clost to the edge of the mountain and we were rewarded with a view of the valley.  Took the time to get a photo of the cyclist and get his e-mail so that I could send him the photo,  He was visiting from Dallas.

At the end of the gravel, I turned up the mountain to Sandia Peak.  As expected, the peak was socked in with the clouds.  As I headed down the mountain, the cyclist friend and others were continuing climbing to the peak.

Down the mountain, I learned the mountain road I was driving is called "Balsam Glade Scenic Byway". I headed south on NM14 to I-40.  On west to Under and North to Rio Rancho and home. Photos from the drive can be seen on my web site.  http://www.tomwinfield.com/new-mexico/nm165.html

Since I had started at dawn, I was back at the house before noon.  Processed my photos and took a nap.  I was getting thirsty so dressed again and headed out to the local VFW post for a pint or two of Amber Ale.  The beer is good and inexpensive ($2.50) but don't think I will spending a lot of time there for a beer.  Being a private club, the smoke was terrible.  On the packed bar, I was sitting with a guy smoking a cigar, which he had a habit of aiming right at me, 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hamfest Part 2

I was exhausted last night.  Slept off and on from about 6 pm until 8 am.  Headed back to the convention hotel a little after 11 am.  After noon, members if HDARC were holding a soldering class to some of the school students.  (photo here).

Most of the rest of the afternoon, I manned (kept and eye on) the club's display tables.  Took a break to do a little shopping and get instructions for programming my new HT.  Bought a couple USB cables, some clip jumper leads, and the cable to programming my new HT.

Then it was time to attend the Digital Modes Forum.  I am now excited to find my Icom 707 and power supply so I can start assembling a digital mode station.

For dinner, I picked up one of the leftover box lunches for giving a donation.  Checked e-mail back here at the house and then early to bed.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Duke City Ham Fest

Early start today.  At the convention center about 7 am.  Registered for the convention.  Next it was waiting for other club members to finish setting up the club's display.

High Desert ARC has an active program with the Albuquerque schools.  This Spring, they worked with NASA and had a conversation (QSO in ham lingo) with the ISS (International Space Center).  It was a big real with the schools and the club.   Much of the HDARC display was centering around that contact.

Band connections were terrible.  Antenna is only set up for 20 meters.  So, a little change of plans and the station was reconfigured for digital.  I and some others got a little primer on digital communications.  Ed (HDARC member) was running the station.  He has a forum Saturday in the afternoon covering digital modes.  I am very interested in this since it is one way I could run my radios without my speech problems.

A couple times during the day, I wandered through the venor/flea market area.  Was looking for a couple things (bench power supply, specially).  Having problems with the little Yaesu HT - think it was dropped too many times.  Ended up a Chinese HT that covers 2m, 220, and 440 for $120.

By this time, I was exhausted,  It was time to call it a day.  Stopped by Five Guys for a burger.  WOW, while the portions are large, so are the prices!

Early crash into bed.  Got up for a while during the night to do some computer work.  Soon back to bed.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ham Fest Prep

I have been slowly getting unpacked and settled into the new house.  This weekend (August 12-14) I made a break from the routine to attend and help at the Duke City Ham Fest.

Duke City Ham Fest this year also hosts the New Mexico ARRL Section conference.

Went to the normal High Desert ARC Thursday Coffee.  Back home for a little (change cloths and break),  The afternoon was spent the the "Pyramid" hotel and convention center and hotel. Afternoon activity was preparation for the ham fest. 

The club has done this before, so most of my time was spending observing and leaning,  We were setting up 2 tables in the convention center hall, a large display board.  In on of the meeting rooms, we set up the convention special events station.  In this photo, Terry, Bill (and others) are assembling the display board.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Break from Unpacking

By Saturday evening, I was looking forward to a break from the moving activities..  Weather was looking good for most all of the day Sunday, so I decided it was a good day to make a return visit to the Valles Caldera.  I wanted to get an early start si that I could drive the preserve roads and take photos.

Typically, I could not sleep.  Got up early and had a big breakfast at IHOP (more than I could finish).  Gassed up the car,  Stopped in San Ysidro to use the facilities and get some soda.  It was about 8:15 that I pulled into the Valles Caldera National Preserve visitor's Center.  Signed in for driving the roads and headed off to shoot photos of the caldera.

The preserve is now under the National Park Service.  The preserve roads are narrow, gravel roads.  To keep traffic reasonable, the preserve allows 35 personal vehicles per day. 

Visited a little with one of the ranger - talked about my High Dynamic Range Photography/  Was thinking to check some of the spots along the way home, but the road and turn-off were full.  Think lots of people had the same idea.  Back home, I processed photos taken during the trip.

Photos I took at Valles Caldera are posted on my web site.   http://tomwinfield.com/new-mexico/valles-caldera.html

Friday, July 29, 2016

Moving In

On Saturday, July 23, the PODS was delivered to my new residence.  It was on the driveway early enough that I was able to head over to the High Desert ARC Social Breakfast.

not in a big hurry to start unloading the POD.   Breakfast was at Mimi's near Jefferson, not the normal monthly breakfast.  Its a good place to avoid.  Breakfast about $16 including tip.  We were asking/looking for coffee refills. 

After breakfast, I did a couple other errands, returning home about noon.   My that time, it was a little too hot to start moving stuff into the house.  Thermometers hit 101 that day in Rio Rancho.

Once the evening was cooling off, I started moving stuff from the PODS into the garage and house.  Took a break for sleep and back to moving out of the 'pods until the temperature was too high.  Closed the garage door and worked in the house, moving goods from garage into closets and cabinets in the house.

Sunday evening was the same thing.  Moved what I could grab by myself out of the PODS and into the garage.  Was back at it Monday morning when cousin Don came to help me.

We were able to get everything moved out of the PODS and at least into the garage.  It was time for food and a well earned pints of micro-brew at "The Local Brewhouse".  Thanks to cousin Don for all of his help (and push) to get the move accomplished.

Now, I have been slowly moving my possessions from the garage into the house.  The dish and clothes washers have been busy.  The PODS was removed from my drive - they were happy to get it back.  It was swepts out, loaded onto the truck and taken directly to the next customer's property.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Loaded up and Gone

After breakfast Saturday morning, Don and I tackled loading the rest of my stuff into the POD,  We gave ourselves the goal of being pack and on the road Thursday morning.  As I would pack a box, Don was loading in into the POD.  We was also looking at other things I may want to load and thigs he might like to take off my hands.

We put in some long days and were exhausted after dinner time.  We took time off for making the usual Sunday and Tuesday coffees at Panera Bread.  Thursday early morning, we were packed up and the POD was locked.

Said my "good-bye" to my house for the last 30 years.  Was an emotional "farewell".  Off to Panera for coffee.  Spent about 1 1/2 hour there visiting and saying "good-bye". 

Then, it was on the road heading southwest.  We decided to take it easy on the way back, spending the night in Dodge City.

Made Dodge City in planty time to tour the old Boot Hill museum.  Had a pint of beer at the Long Branch Saloon.  Checked into the hotel.  Walked across Wyatt Earp Blvd to Bad Habits for brew and burger.  All the times I had been in this bar, never seen it so busy.

We were exhausted and crashed into bed.  On the road about 6:30 in the morning.  Drove to Liberal where we had breakfast.  When we got Don's place in Albuquerque, my nerves let loose - my stomach rebelled from the nerves.  Got my car out of Don's lot and drove to my Rio Rancho house.Saturday morning, Don came up and we unloaded his van.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Holiday and Final Move Plans

Dodge City, KS became the regular overnight stop for me.  The desk clerk at the hotel knew me when I drove up.  I was looking forward to the burger and brew across the the street from the hotel.  For your information - my favorite hotel was the Rodeway Inn and food was at Bad Habits Sports Bar & Grill.

For a little variety, I would drive either US 56 or US 54 out of Dodge City area to I-25 or I-40.  I still have not found out what this structure (pictured here) is in Hooker, OK.

In Albuquerque, I picked up a desk and file cabinet from Office Max.  Started assembling the file cabinet. 

I was invited to a 4th of July cook-out.  Hosts were the owners of the house I rented in January and friends of cousin Don.  Was and enjoyable evening.  We were treated to a personal/family fireworks show.

Cousin Don offered to come to Iowa with me to help me finish packing the POD for the move.  We made plans to head to Iowa, driving through - 900 miles in one day.  Made it for Saturday breakfast. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Iowa and Packing

Before leaving New Mexico, I stopped by Boot Barn for some summer season western dud.

I made in back to Iowa just before Memorial Day.  Spent nearly a month sorting and deciding things I wanted to move to New Mexico.  One of my Omaha friends came out a couple times to help me sort, pack, and load the moving POD.

The packing was slow going.  As the weather heated up and the humidity came up, I found it difficult to keep motivated. Kept up my routine of Saturday breakfast at Super Saver and coffees Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at Panera Bread.

The month was also filled with final visits to my health care providers in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area.  I had become friends with many of them, having been with them for many years.  

Soon enough, it was getting close to a month where I needed back to New Mexico to pick up mail, pay bills, and see my new family doctor.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ready to Head Back to Iowa

Sat most if the day Tuesday waiting for the office furniture delivery.  Opened the box of the file cabinet.  Decide it was too much to start on with my pending return to Iowa.

Had a relaxing evening with 2 pints of amber ale, a chili cheese dog, and fries.  Was a beautiful evening to "dine" alfresco on the brewhouse patio!

Getting into the mood for heading to Iowa, I spent the day Wednesday packing a couple things I need for the drive back.  Worked on my list of things i want to pack out of Iowa house.

The week at the new house in Rio Rancho was very beneficial.  It helped me finalize what things I wanted to move and others I will leave for sale in Iowa.  Late lunch at the Flying Star Cafe.  There was supposedly High Desert ARC members there for lunch/coffee.  Did not see any .  Had a good (but expensive) burger, fries, and soda.

Ready for a early (hopefully) start tomorrow on the road.,, Reservations back in Dodge City tomorrow night.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Skipping the Festivals

I decided it was better to settle into the new house rather than running out to Santa Fe for the Bike & Brew fest.  I also skipped the Celtic Festival at the Balloon Festival Park.  I had a big burger and a pint of Amber Ale at a local establishment "The Local Brewhouse".

Spent the weekend settling into the new house and picking up a few more supplies (lamps), new TV for the living room, vacuum, et al.

Arranging the bedroom, I saw that I really wanted a second night stand.  Called the salesman at the furniture store.  Ended up picking it up and setting in the bedroom.

Bought a desk and file cabinet for the living room.  This would mostly used with the laptop and All-in-One printer.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Closing and Sleeping in the New House

Closing was not without problems and conserns.  Late last Friday I received a message that the closing numbers were wrong and I would need more money.  The bank loan officer said I would be able to write a personal check for the difference.  When I got to the title company, the closing agent showed me a DIFFERENT amount.  Thankfully, my real estate agent and the bank load officer arrived and we could discuss this problem.

Apparently, the discrepancies were errors that the bank made problems, crediting costs to my account where they should have been credited the seller's account.  We were able to close.  Unfortunately, the seller was not closing until that afternoon in Arizona.  That delayed recording of the sale until the next day.

My cousin and I celebrated the closing with a meal and brews at Billy's Long Bar.

Bought bedding, phone connections, some food, and other supplies for the new house.  Moved to the Rio Rancho Comfort Inn using points for a free night room.

Friday, my furniture arrived.  Washed the bedding and made the bed.  Ready to spend the first night sleeping in the new house.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Final Inspection Before Closing

Early start out of Dodge City.  Took US 56 to Tucumcari.  In the area of the Oklahoma/Texas state line, I saw this unusual structure along the highway.  Almost looks like some type of antenna.

Took a couple other photos on the drive.  Early arrival in Albuquerque.  Settled into the motel and contacted my cousin.

Monday, I did some errands in the area in preparations for the move.  Met the real estate agent for the final inspection of the new house before closing on Wednesday.

Did some furniture shopping.  Ended up ordering a bedroom set, sofa, and entertainment center.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

House Closing Trip

As usual, I was out of the house early this morning for my drive to Albuquerque.  Reason for this trip is closing on the new house.

Chilly morning.  Was in the upper 30s as the sun came uo.  Nothing exciting on the first day drive.  Got a little tired in Kansas and pulled in at a rest area for rest and walk around. 

Early arrival in Dodge City.  Checked into my hotel room and crashed into bed.  Ended up with about a 3 hour nap.  There is a sports bar & gtill across the street from my hotel.  Walked over for a pint of Amber Bock, bacon cheeseburger, with chips.  Great beer and food.  Long time since I have been serve a burger with such a large, think slice of onion!  Check out Bad Habit Sports Bar & Grill on W. Wyatt Earp Blvd

Filled my water cup at the hotel when back.  Think i am sated and in for the night.  Another day on the road (probably early start) to Albuquerque.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bike & Brew Festival AND Big Mountain Enduro

The weekend of May 19022 will be a big one for bicycle enthusiasts.  There will be the 3rd annual Outside Santa Fe Bike & Brew Festival.  Add in the season opening of the Big Mountain Enduro race series. 

I have been able to attend part of both of the first 3 festivals.  In 2014, I tried riding a couple of the group rides, but the 10 miles and the altitude, were just too much for me.  Had a nice time at the opener with the brew and hand-made bike show.

Last year, it was cold and rainy.  Braved the rain to attend the brew tasting & bike show, but skipped most of the other events - played "tourist" instead. 

I have been debating if I should attend this year's festival or go to the Celtic Festival in Albuquerque.  If any of my Omaha friends are racing in Santa Fe, I would probable opt to the bike & brew festival.

Mortgage Approved

Got the word yesterday that my mortgage for the new house in Rio Rancho has been approved.  Now, if I could just get the energy to finish packing the Iowa belongings.  Lots of space yet in the POD.

Will be bringing 2 of my bikes with me on the trip to closing (road bike & hard tail).  Internet & phone are ready to be installed on the 19th.

Buying some furniture (bedroom set, sofa, etc) while down there.  Over the weekend there is either Bike & Brew festival in Santa Fe or Celtic festival in Albuquerque to attend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mortgage Frustration

I am getting frustrated with the paperwork and problems getting my mortgage in New Mexico.  I had a mortgage banker that I liked working with,   For some reason, he is no longer with the bank.  The repacement and the others in the office are having problems accessing all of the files that I sent to the original mortgage office. 

Now, it has been unending requests for re-sending files.  That, and answering more question - all which I answered when I initially met with Lou (back in March). 

Meanwhile, the home inspection was accomplished yesterday.  There are some minor (GFCI outlets, etc) and major (furnace and water heater are old and should be replaced). 

All of this does not help me get motivated to pack boxes and tubs, then get them into the PODS. 

Monday, April 11, 2016


I got on the road back to Iowa very early Thursday morning. My route took me up I-24 to Springer, NM.  From there, it was US 56 to the Dodge City, KS area.  Crashed that night at the Rodeway Inn. 

Another early start, taking the diagonal toward Salinas.  Next up to York, NE, and finally I-80 to Council Bluffs.  Stommed in at the bike shop to pick up the two bikes which were prepping for the move.  Post office for mail, and finally back home.

The moving PODS was delivered today.  Now, the real work can begin.

Packing is going slow.  Masking a mess in the house pulling out stuff I want to pack to move.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tram Flight

Worked with my loan officer.  He got the mortgage papers ready for me and e-mailed me the link to review the application and electronically sign them.  Thaw was accomplished.

Since I was basically packed and the afternoon free, I decided to play tourist and ride (fly) the tram up to Sandia Peak.  Was a beautiful day for the "flight".  Brought my jacket because I knew it would be chilly on top of the mountain.

Took photos on the way up the mountain.  Shot some HDR photos on top of the mountain.  Since I had not eaten, I opted to have a late lunch in the restaurant on the top of the mountain.  Was a bit pricey but the food and scenery were great.  More photos on the way down the mountain.  Another time taking the tram flight, I need to remember to bring my polarizing filter (to cut glare and reflection from the windows).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Photos, Frustration, and Paperwork

Monday, my real estate agent took me to the house.  Agenda was to check out a few items about the house, take photos for my use, and identify what I might want in the house.  That went well.  Got some good photos to post online and send prints to relatives that do not have internet.

Next was how to pay earnest money for the purchase.  Problems because I had lost my checkbook.  All were a pain - I called the title company representative saying I would be bringing cash the next day.  That day, I had problems.  They did not want to accept cash.  Guess the title company representative was not able to act on my phone call the previous day.  Did get the situation partially rectified.  Left me in a foul mood.

Started packing the room to get on the road home Thursday.  Met cousin Don for dinner and pints (my treat).  A couple pints of Alaskan Amber Ale and a enchilada dinner did wonders for my mood.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bosque and Brat

Had problems sleeping last night.  Went to the breakfast room and had some cereal, coffee, and apple juice.  Bach to bed and nap.  About noon, it was time for me to grab my cycling kit and prepare for a bike ride.

This would be my first ride if the year and it was 5000 foot altitude.  Was not sure how far I could/should ride.  I knew the best place to ride was the Bosque from the Montano trailhead.

Ended up with just over 4.5 miles.  Did not want to over-do this first ride.  Treated myself to a pint of amber ale, a brat, and fries at Spinn's (about 2 blocks from the trailhead).  My the time I was back at the room, unloaded the bike, and shed the cycling kit, I was exhausted.

Back to preparations for moving tomorrow - visit insurance agent to give him information about the difference property.  Selled of Wyoming Autumn property has until 5pm Monday to respond to my offer.