Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Up, Up, and Away

f you ever get the chance to travel to New Mexico in October, be sure to check out the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque.  It's a 90 minute drive from my campsite at the bosque, but so worth it.  The festival lasts 10 days and I tried to content myself with watching live coverage on the local news show each morning.  Finally I couldn't stand it, so I drove up to the big city on the day of the shape balloon contests.  I arrived about 2 hours before dusk and walked around the field seeing all the signs and talking with the crews.  That's the great thing about the festival.  Not only do you get up close and personal with the balloons, but you also get to talk directly with the crews.
Just as light was fading the aprons started rolling out.  That's the term for large tarps spread out on the bare ground to protect the balloons as they are unfurled and inflated.  Soon crews were scrambling around with fans and tethers and all sorts of ballooning gear.  The red, white, and blue rocket ship was first up and joined quickly by Peg Leg Pete and then Chica.
All the while guests walked in and around the aprons watching and taking pix.  By the time I left there were somewhere in the number of 60 shape balloons in the "glodeo".  That's what they call when all these balloons are tethered on the ground but glowing with the flames of their firing hot gases to keep the shape open.  I left before the fireworks show thinking I would be able to see that from the r
emote parking area and be ahead of the traffic to start my drive back home.  It was a beautiful night and I'm glad I got to see it.  Next step?  Ride in one of those babies over the city.  Why not?!

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