Sunday, September 1, 2013

Creede, Colorado --- Balloon Invasion

Bandido here...  It is 7:00 a.m. on a gloomy morning.  Dad is brewing a pot of coffee.  The early morning mountain stillness is disturbed by an intermittent whooshing sound.  Tequila and I jump out of the bed and onto the couch to assume our protective stance.  The whooshing continues.  A couple of hundred yards in front of us, a dragon appears.

Despite its size, it has a friendly smile.  It does not appear to have the capability for breathing fire, but  alarmingly, it does seem to be farting fire.  Fire farting dragons could be more threatening than fire breathing dragons!  Then.... more whooshing.  More dragon farts?  Next to the RV park, at the airport across the road, more of these creatures are rising out of the earth.  A whooshing cacophony! 

I decide not to bark.  After all, these are not poodles walking down the street.  These are fire-farting dragons.  Yes.  A low profile is best.

They have Dad's attention.  He quickly throws on a pair of jeans and runs outside, leaving Tequila and me to guard Mom and Big Chuck (my cat).  Dad stealthily exits the motor home armed with a camera and a cup of coffee.  He hugs the side of the motor home to avoid detection.  He peeks around the corner and sees what I see.  The entire RV park is swarming with these voluminous creatures.  The others are not really dragons, but they are every bit as large, and all of them can fly.

They are everywhere.

There are few places for Dad to hide.  Several of our neighbors (humans and dogs) gather to discuss what should be done.  I notice that the creatures all have baskets full of people underneath their massive girth.  Are the creatures plucking retirees from the ground and spiriting them over the mountains?   Dad and I are on the same page.  We stay in hiding.

Dad manages to get a few reconnaissance photos.

They seem to be moving away.  Have they found another conclave of retirees and puppies further down the valley?  It looks like they are going to leave us alone. 

Dad must feel safer, too.  He steps out into the open.  OH NO!  He has been spotted.

A blurry man (must be some kind of high tech camouflage) in the basket underneath the pink creature wants some of Dad's coffee!  Is that what this is all about?  Giant floating creatures raiding poor innocent retirees in search of caffeine?

Covering his coffee cup, Dad retreats back into the motor home where I can better protect him.  

Quite the morning.  I sure hope they don't come back.

Roger here...  Bandido is actually a pretty good writer, don't ya think?  And, what an imagination!  Actually, the balloons did come back the next day, and the next, as part of Creede, Colorado's annual Labor Day Weekend Festival.

The sky was clearer and the balloons more vibrant the second and third days.  However, the scenario was much the same.  The thirteen balloons launched a few hundred yards from us, then drifted directly in front of us.  So fun and so easy for us to enjoy.  Dianne actually watched every morning wearing her pajamas (inside the motor home, of course).

The guy floating underneath the pink balloon in Bandido's story actually did ask me if the coffee pot was on.  There was lots of smiling, waving and verbal hellos as the balloons floated by.

The balloon festival is only one of many Labor Day activities in this amazing little town.  Yesterday was Salsa Fest Day.  Dianne and  I bought an $8 ticket which allowed us to enjoy about 30 samples of homemade salsa provided by the local merchants.  The sampling stations were set up inside and outside the businesses along the main street.

We actually took notes and filled out a ballot indicating our favorite green, red and fruit salsa.  

Spicy red salsas are usually my favorite, but this one made from mangoes was pretty tasty.

The main street was closed to all but pedestrian traffic (except for a couple of kamakazi kids on bicycles).  Live music from the town gazebo added to the atmosphere.

One of the stops (the "Rare Things Shop") actually served free sangria (or beer) with their salsa.  We both enjoyed the delicious homemade sangria.  Is free sangria really fair during a competition?  Kind of seems like a bribe.  I have no problem with it :-).

The merchant at our first stop (who also sold us a candle for our place in Texas) told us that everyone in town was gunning to beat out Kip's Grill in this year's competition.  Evidently, Kip's has won the overall prize for the last three years.  We had a great meal there last year, which we intend to duplicate before we leave town.

In future posts Dianne is planning to tell you about some of the other cool Labor Day activities in Creede, but since we are already in town, she wants to tell you about her favorite places to spend money.

Dianne here...  We did our bit to help the local economy here in Creede.  I'm not much of a shopper, but here are my favs:
I love hardware stores.  This True Value hardware store is in an old building and is stocked with all kinds of cool stuff not easily found elsewhere.  Old wooden floors and a renovated second floor with a big opening to the outside (I assume for loading and restocking the second floor).
 It might be a franchise True Value store, but I found a few items there that I'd been hunting for for months in other stores, even much larger stores in much larger towns.

 One of the salsa stops was at the Blue Yak salon, where I'd had my hair cut the Sunday before.  One of the downsides to traveling six months of the year is that you are at the mercy of whatever hair salon is available -- sometimes out in the boondocks.  I've had pretty good luck over the past five years, but the haircut I got on July 2 in Oregon was probably the worst haircut I've ever had.  I looked like a rooster half the time, and complained about my hair from that day forward. (R: Yes, she did.)  When we arrived in Creede I was desperate.  I looked on the computer, and the only hair salon listed in town was the Blue Yak, a new salon since last year.  I made an appointment with Mary Jean.  Interestingly, one of our faithful blog readers e-mailed me to say that she loved Creede after visiting there, and if I need a haircut to go to the Blue Yak.  That made me feel much better about my appointment, since I was still shell-shocked from the time before.
 Mary Jean was a personable young gal, and after she worked her magic I went from the worst haircut ever to one of the best ever.  She agreed my hair was a mess, and even seven weeks later the top was too short to even trim up.  Now all's well and I'm a happy camper.

A return visit was made to the Creede Olive Oil company.  Much damage (monetary) was done in this store!  (R:  Dianne asked me to hold our new toilet seat that we got at the hardware store while she picked out olive oil.  I was already a comic figure when I noticed how many bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar she had stacked by the register.  My loud gasp and admonition brought me even more unwanted attention.)  Dianne again:  Don't mind him -- I'm all set for months, and my friend Nancy is going to receive a very nice hostess gift when we see her in Indiana in October.  (Spoiler alert -- sorry, Nancy).

In addition to being at the mercy of hair salons as we travel, we're also at the mercy of small-town grocery stores.

Some of them, especially out in the boonies, are pretty limited, plain-Jane and bland.  I rate them by seeing whether or not they stock hummus and pita chips.  The small Kentucky Belle grocery in Creede not only stocks hummus, they had locally-made hummus in trendy, yummy-sounding flavors.  
They also carry the famous Colorado Palisade peaches and Olathe sweet corn.  If you're in Colorado in the late summer, do not pass up these delicacies!  We've been gorging on them since we got here.

One of my very fond memories of Creede from last summer were the incredibly fragrant old-fashioned sweet peas growing along fences around town.  I once again got my sweet-pea fix by sticking my nose in these flowers every time we walked past them.

To sum my part of this blog entry up, Creede may be a very small town, but to me it has a "cool vibe."

Tequila here...  The pet picture of the day features me gazing at the balloons.  Bandido and I were not afraid of them.  We knew they were not pesky dogs trying to take over our turf.  However, they were something very new to us and we were fascinated by them.  We did not stop staring at them until they flew completely away, or in a couple cases hit the ground in front of us and melted.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great fun! Love watching the balloons.

Unknown said...

I have just discovered your blog and in the future will be a frequent "stalker!" You two (maybe I should say four!) have a great and fun writing style. I will be going back to the beginning so I can catch up. I hope to be out there joining you all as a single rving female, but family medical issues keep me here for the time being.

Bill and Nancy said...

What a wonderful post!! Creede, Colorado at Labor Day is definitely on our bucket list. I LOVE salsa;o)) Would love to see the ballons and the town just seems to sparkle:o))

Margie and Roger said...

Have never been to Creede but it looks like a great place to visit. We love hot air balloons and next year we plan to head back to Albuquere for Balloon Fiesta.

Unknown said...

Ohhh, you make me long to return to Creede ! It was truly my favorite place along our journeys this past July ! I'm happy you loved your haircut at the Blue Yak ! Mary Jean did my hair too, I just loved her ! I am already going to plan a return trip next year, and on Labor Day for sure ! How fun !!!!