It’s a balloon kind of morning!

WOW! This morning when I took Roxie out, I saw 4 hot air balloons; always a really cool sight, and it happens almost daily here. A little while later I heard that distinctive sound of the propane burner and I looked out…..there was a balloon landing about 50′ from the camper! How cool is that! The sun of course was coming from the wrong direction but I snapped a bunch of photos out the door of the camper. I have never seen a hot air balloon up that close…..they are massive!! I wondered if it would collapse onto the camper but there’s a rope hanging down so someone can direct where it falls.  About five minutes later, another balloon landed right next to the first! WOW!


Wow, compare the size of the people to the size of the balloon! That thing is humungous! 



He’s walking the rope out to guide where the balloon falls.
TWO balloons!


Yesterday I had a not-so-nice experience so today’s balloons were extra uplifting. The little red battery icon was lit up on my car’s dashboard, so I took the car to a repair place that my friend Donna recommended (she lives here in Cottonwood). They said it’s the alternator. You may remember that just last May I broke down in Gallup, NM and had to get an alternator and battery……yeah. The guy at this place said that they don’t use that brand of rebuilt alternator because they don’t hold up well. He’s quoted $427 to put in a new alternator. That’s bad news but what makes me feel worse is that obviously Pep Boys in Gallup ripped me off…I paid around $800 for a rebuilt alternator and battery that only lasted nine months!!  Grrrrr.  I am stuck here at camp until my Wednesday afternoon appointment. I checked the battery this morning and it’s pretty dead; so glad I have the solar panel to charge it up!

Ahhh…breathe in, breathe out, shake it off…’s the sunrise from a couple days ago.


The sunsets have not been really great because there haven’t been many clouds in the evenings. It’s been very pleasant, near 70 degrees during the day, but with enough of a breeze that it’s not quite warm enough to sit outside for very long.   Last night the low here was 35 and Thursday and Friday’s highs are supposed to be 80. What a huge difference a few days make! I’m going to be miserable in 80 degrees, but I have to hang around here until Friday when I take the camper back to get the brakes checked again.Something is still wrong; they’re still not working. Boy this month is sure a big money pit! $250 for the camper repairs already, plus $427 for the alternator, and who knows how much more to get the brakes fixed! Ouch. I seem destined to not ever have any savings.

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12 replies on “It’s a balloon kind of morning!”

Neat! Years ago, here in Atlanta, we were eating in a restaurant along the Chattahoochee River, and one ditched right next to us. When I was in Albuquerque last year the balloon festival was in full swing. So colorful.

Sorry about the alternator. I would think an alternator would last longer than that. I had the same thing happen to me last year when I had my truck A/C fixed for 1250 and it broke again in Arkansas–another 400.

Is anything $100 any more?

I thought Deb was with you, but she’s in Nevada. Are you guys going to hook up, again?


I would call the Pep Boys main number and mention that you have a blog and would like to tell your story that Pep Boys really is a good co. and helped u with your bad regulator failure (or blast the crap out of them every chance that you get!) I know that I will never buy from them at this point


I checked and it was covered by a warranty…a crappy one, but I guess I had the option to check this our beforehand, and didn’t. It’s 4000 miles or 4 mos. It’s been more than twice that long, and probably 3x as many miles. I also saw on the bill that it was not as expensive as I thought…it was $700 and they also replaced a $75 belt and air filter….still think the price was high, but what’s done is done.


Balloon rides are the best! They hit the ground harder than you would think, though. Goats bend those knees.
I agree with Baemerguy03 that it is worth a call to Pep Boys.I too won’t use that company based on your experience. People read your blog and word gets around when a company does bad work and doesn’t make it good.
So you are in Cottonwood, Arizona? That’s where I’m thinking of heading next. How are the roads there? Safe for an oversized, heavy vehicle? Lots of decent places to camp? I’m curious about your thoughts on that area.
Give the princess a pat for me.


There are lots of places to boondock near Cottonwood…my favorites are “North of 1000 Trails” and FR 525 (see both on If there is rain in the forecast, don’t camp anywhere you see the big ruts! (Duhh, I ignored them) I think the 1000 Trails is really nice, not as much dust & traffic as FR 525 and closer to pavement, closer to town. Gee you’ll get here just as I’m leaving! Forecast is for 80+ degrees here so I’m scooting over to Clints Well area. Come over! It’s just about 45 min. from here.


Parker, Here are coordinates to FR 525 and the first road to the left, FR761B. There are 3 good sites (1 is a small back-in) on the left side of FR761B and plenty of room to turn around. Don’t go past the RC airfield. If you stay on FR525, the very next left after this would be a huge area where I’m camped…space for 7 or 8 campers easily. If it’s going to rain, stay on the main part, don’t go back by the nice shade tree. If you are coming from I-40, be aware the road from Flag down to Sedona is very steep, twisty-turny. An easier way but a little more miles is to take I-17 south to Camp Verde; 260 over to Cottonwood, then 89A to the right for about 8 miles to FR525.
34.82080 -111.90466


Yep! It’s pretty high altitude…around 8000′. Very pretty!! It is about 30 mi N. of Payson (SE. of Sedona, sort of) Lots of free camping around there and Clints Well Campground is a good place to start (free) and find a good spot from there. Google Maps knows how to find Clints Well Campground….says it’s in Flagstaff but it’s nowhere near there! Their directions are good.


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