We departed Colorado Springs in convoy with Bill and Linda on the morning of Oct 5 for the 316 mile transit to Santa Fe NM where we pulled in and quickly got setup for the night in site W2 at Santa Fe Skies RV. We needed to be at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque on Friday Oct 6 at 1000…so we stopped 45 miles short of the Fiesta grounds. While there…we dumped and flushed our tanks and filled our fresh water tank to it’s 100 gallon capacity…there are no hookups at the Fiesta (well, no hookups unless you pay well over 100 bucks a night) and we would be boondocking the next 5 nights. We had a nice dinner out with Bill and Linda at a local BBQ place…it was OK but not great.
Next morning…we pulled out about 0835 with a scheduled arrival time at the Fiesta of 0930…we figured the traffic checking in would take the rest of the time until 1000. We were wrong and basically pulled right in to attend the Escapees HOP…this is sort of a mini rally. Our fee for the 5 days of about $1000 included parking, tickets to the Fiesta, 4 dinners, and breakfast every day.
The routine at the Fiesta was dictated by the weather…basically we started with breakfast every day at 0500 so that we could be at the field a mile away for the Morning Glow where the first balloons go off at 0600 to check the winds aloft…these use a special burner that lights up the envelope with a nice orange glow. Following that…there was a mass ascension scheduled every day for 0700 and by 0930 or so the day’s activities were pretty much over until the evening. There were some chainsaw carving demonstrations and some balloon competitions that we didn’t go over to watch. Evening activities were an Evening Glow which is like the Morning Glow except the balloons are tethered since they can’t really fly at night…followed by a fireworks display. We watched these from the campground about a mile south of the launch field.
Due to the early mornings…evenings socializing with Bill and Linda…and a severe lack of internet connectivity…not to mention the almost 2,000 photos Neil has to process…then add in that Connie was sick with a cold the first 3 days and Neil had it the last day…well, I just ain’t got round tuit on processing those photos. I’ll put them up in a few days once I get caught up and he is feeling better.
Here’s a sample to wet your appetites though. This balloon came in from the launch field a mile to the left, almost touched down right behind our rig, and then took off again. It was participating in the competition where you try to drop a streamer in a rowboat on the ground at the launch field and had to start a mile away…I guess he figured that if he came down to ground level a mile away that counted. That’s the window frame of our rear windows around the sides of the shot.
We spent 4 or so hours every morning recharging our batteries to about the 85% level with our portable Honda 2000 watt generator then let our solar panels top us off the remainder of the day. Temps were in the mid 30s to mid 40s over night with daily highs from 60 to about 75. No clouds, no rain, and abundant sunshine which makes your solar controller happy.
After 5 days though…we had enough and were all ballooned out…so we set out early on Wed Oct 11 to start our travels eastward. We have 4 transit days from 290 to 360 miles scheduled with stops in Amarillo TX, Choctaw OK, and North Little Rock AR before arriving in Jackson MS where we’ll spend 2 nights so that we can go visit the Civil War battlefield in Vicksburg MS. Then we’ll do about a week in Gulf Shores AL and another 10 days in Cedar Key FL before arriving back at North Fort Myers on Nov 1 for the winter.
Interesting Stuff from the Net.
The winning dad.
Taken at the Olympic Bathroom Competition venue.