international balloon fiesta 2014

Heading To The Fiesta

It was Thursday afternoon and with Molly as my trusty sidekick and navigator headed out towards New Mexico. We thought that leaving at 3:30 would save us from the notoriously bad Austin rush hour traffic…… but we were wrong. So we put on the Tina Fey audio book “Bossy Pants” as we cruised towards Lubbock Texas.

We got there around midnight and were able to stay with a friend of Molly’s for the night. The couple we stayed with was the Thiels, an older farming couple with a giant framed photo of the pope on their wall and the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  We actually arrived at their home before they did because they were at the Paul Mc Cartney concert. Which we heard them rave about until one in the morning and then went to bed.

We woke up in the morning and Mrs. Thiel was kind enough to make us breakfast and told us tales of her running the farm. We then headed out and drove the rest of the way to Albuquerque.  We finished up the Bossy Pants audible book and started a new book called “The Maze Runner”.

Checking Out Albuquerque

We got to Albuquerque around lunch time and grabbed some quick Mexican food at Anita’s which had bomb chimichangas! After lunch we dropped our stuff off at a friends house and headed over to the Sandia Peak Tramway, which is the longest tram in North America.

The goal was to take the tram to the top to watch the sunset and then come back down. It seems that everyone had the same idea because when we got there it was a 2 hour wait! So we waited and watched the sun go down while waiting in line and then took the tram to the top. It was a beautiful view but when the sun went down it was really cold. So we only walked around for a few minutes and then waited in another really long line to get back down.

Balloon Fiesta Time

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The fiesta was scheduled to start at 6:45 so we awoke at 6 am and headed out to the balloon fiesta. The traffic was RIDICULOUS! I’ve never seen a highway backed up for so many miles. I was able to wiggle my way through a lot of traffic, but it still took us like an hour until we could finally park. Despite getting there later than expected we were able to make it in time for the mass ascension. Which is when hundreds of balloons take off!

It was a crisp cold morning so we grabbed some hot chocolate and walked around while balloon after balloon would fill up and take off. It was so amazing to be able to get up close to the balloons and even talk to the people operating them. After a couple of hours all of the balloons had taken off and were flying over down town Albuquerque.

When all the balloons were gone there was not much to do until later in the day when they all come back. So we spent some time going through the souvenir tents & eating a collection of carnival food. Also to fill time they had a wood carving competition going on. It was amazing to watch them take these massive tree stumps and transform them into beautiful pieces of art.

After all this I wasn’t feeling too well so we headed back to the apartment we were crashing at for the night, but decided that we would go back again the next day. 6am Sunday morning came and we knew the drill. We got up and headed back towards the Balloon Fiesta, but knowing how bad the traffic was we took the frontage roads and were able to bypass 80% of the traffic!

The 2nd day the balloons were delayed to take off because it was too windy. After a couple of hours they were cleared to take off and all of the balloons rushed to fill up and take off. This was a big difference from the day before where each balloon took their time getting ready to take off. Sadly the although the balloons all got ready to take off none of them did, but it was still a completely worth going.

We then loaded up in the car and made the long road trip back to Austin.