Fabulous Fiesta!

Albuquerque Travel Blog

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Balloons, glowsticks, potlucks, fun with friends!  We are having a blast at the Balloon Fiesta!


Yesterday, the kids got to go up in a hot air balloon!  A kind Texan landed in our RV lot and let the kids hop in while he took them up about 40 feet while tethered.  Very cool!  I was going to claim to be a big kid, but since I’ve already been up before, I abstained. 


I walked nearby to an even bigger field where many balloons were landing and played like I was their “chase crew”.  They needed people to jump on the baskets as they came in for a landing, in order to play “ballast” and keep the balloon on the ground until they could get the air out of it.  My ribs are sore today, but it was great fun at the time!  While they won’t ask for the help, they’re very grateful since the crews might arrive a few minutes after landing.


On Monday we went to crew as scheduled, getting up at 5 am, which was not quite as difficult as Saturday.  But sadly it was too windy for our pilot of “Afternoon Delight” to fly.  Our friends Terry & Karen, Debbie, and Charlie and Marti also were to crew that morning and their balloons' pilots also decided not to risk the wind (I read that 8 mph ground wind is about the maximum for hot air balloon inflation).  However, hundreds of other balloons did go up and we had a magnificent time wandering amongst them!  Monday’s crowd was very small compared to Saturday’s, which was delightful.


Today the balloons again flew right over our RVs!  We can enjoy them from the roof, from outside, or sitting snug in the RV with coffee in hand and the brilliant blue sky overhead.  We’ve had perfect weather so far for our Fiesta.


Fireworks at night have been spectacular, enjoyed from our panoramic windows of our RV.  Sunsets from the RV roof.  Old and new friends arrive daily. 


Friends from our Texas South Central group arrived tonight and we’re excited to see them.  Everyone is relaxed and happy.  Many people know each other from previous gatherings and from our internet Yahoo Group.  We have 34 rigs in the Lazy Daze group this year, our largest ever! 


Here's what fills our day- fun with friends:  Today, I helped Virginia and Marti with their new GPS devices, along with Armando (who knew what he was doing).  Friend Charlie came over to work on Lia’s bike- he’d bought inner tubes for her bike!  So nice!  Karen shared a nice glass of Riesling with me.  Beth shared wonderful places to visit- she’s the friend I met in Anchorage who comes across as mild-mannered and quiet, but is very couragous and adventurous.  Charlie cooked potatoes in his solar cooker for the potluck which my Charles checked on throughout the day. Friend Charlie later gave the very successful solar cooker to Beth, who is going to try to bake bread in it.  Marial and Armando bought ice cream for all from the Schwann's truck that drove by after the potluck.  Everyone is very entertaining, energetic, kind, and fun!


Yesterday we wandered down to the Bluegrass concert put on by a professional group.  A former Lazy Dazer (Penny, who runs group 2 with Lazy Dazes at the Fiesta), helped schedule the free concerts- they were VERY good and we really enjoyed the music.  Dina, from our TX South Central LD group, had come around earlier in the day to visit and invite everyone to the concert.


Marti and Charlie have now both gotten to fly in the balloon with Marti's Cousin Luke!  When Charlie was flying yesterday, they landed the Veteran's/MIA balloon in the yard of a retired Air Force veteran.  Unfortunately, the Air Force man had just run out to buy camera batteries in case a balloon came his direction, so he could take a picture of it.  Imagine his surprise when he returned to see a balloon *honoring our military personnel* had landed in his very yard! 


Well, Cousin Luke invited Mr. Air Force to visit his B-3 launch site the next morning - he showed up today to cheer them on.  He was so shocked when Cousin Luke invited him into the balloon (at Luke's wife's suggestion), that he almost didn't make it before the launch.  But he was thrilled! 


And don't you know that Cousin Luke was honored with the Pilot-of-the-Day Award at the Pilot's Briefing this morning!  He has visited Veterans' Hospitals, talked with Girl Scout troups, and volunteered in wonderful ways since arriving in Albuquerque from Minnesota.  We all feel a personal connection with Cousin Luke through Marti and think this is all very thrilling!  Here's an article about the wonderful work of "Freedom Flight":  http://www.freedomflight.org/legion.html  and here's a great short video:  http://www.revver.com/video/688113/freedom-flight-hot-air-balloon-in-hudson-wi/


It is so nice to be among friends and have time to just relax.  We went twice to Old Town Albuquerque with friends, bought jewelry from the Palace of the Governors, had a Mexican lunch, ate delicious bakery pastries, and enjoyed the square.  It was easy to park Ciao Baby beside the Atomic Museum, although I did get a wee bit close to the curb and bent the generator muffler a little- oops!


With Virginia today we visited a large, clean laundromat to wash all our bedding and sleeping bags, towels, clothes, etc in the timeframe of just one load, so we won’t have 12 loads to do when we get home.  We also took care of all our RV needs:  empty tanks, fill water, fill propane, get gas, etc.  There is a difference between being on vacation all the time and being on the road full time, as we do have to take care of business.  There are many people here who fulltime - they sure do love their life!


We are looking forward to seeing Ned in a few days.  We call him all the time.  I’m sure he is like, ‘How can I miss you when you won’t go away?” but we do like to keep in touch. 


Meanwhile we know that this time is special, that friendships are what it is all about, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is like summer camp for adults (and the kids think it is a blast too).  This really *is* the good life!

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photo by: vances