"" Writer's Wanderings: The National Park Road Trip - Evening Balloon Fiesta

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The National Park Road Trip - Evening Balloon Fiesta

Somewhat rested after a short nap and good college football game, we once again gathered our gear and headed for the International Balloon Fiesta. The Gondola Club was due to open at 5 p.m. and it was suggested we get there around 4:30. There was no traffic to speak of until shortly before the Park so we arrived even earlier and decided to walk the rest of Main Street that we had missed in the morning.

The sun was pretty warm. Don't believe anything you hear about a "dry heat." Heat is heat and the only part of dry heat is the part that makes your nasal cavities dry creating a stuffy feeling and often a slightly bloody nose. We'd been fighting that all along our Southwestern trip. I countered it somewhat with Vaseline swabbed in my nose but it only helped a little.

After a day and a half in Albuquerque we were getting the idea that these people really like their green chiles. Every food we saw had green chile worked into it--stew, sauce, in hamburgers, scrambled eggs. You name, they added green chile to it. Heartburn heaven.

It was getting on to five so we headed back to the Gondola Club and found a long line of people waiting to get in. Tables filled up fast but we found our morning table still available and joined two couples who had also made a National Park Road Trip--different parks though.

The evening after dinner was to be one of Twilight Twinkle Glow where balloons inflate and they glow but don't fly and the start of  America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race, a race to see who can stay up the longest and travel the farthest after their balloon is inflated with hydrogen.

While we finished our desert and coffee, we watched a couple of balloons trying to inflate near our view point. There was a slight breeze and inflation looked a bit dangerous as the balloons would sway in the breeze. In the end, for the Twilight Twinkle Glow only a handful of balloons inflated and twinkled a couple of times before it was called off completely.

So too was the start of the America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race. It was postponed until midnight or later when the wind would die down. (Later we learned that the balloons did not launch until early Tuesday morning.) The year before the winning balloonists had traveled all the way to Ontario, Canada. (The winning 2014 team made it to Findlay, Kentucky in 53 hours 27 minutes.) There are no rest stops along the way. 'Nuff said.

While the balloons couldn't do much for the evening show all was not lost and we enjoyed a wonderful fireworks display at the end of the evening before going back to our hotel. Exhausted, we fell into bed and I don't think either of us heard the noisy A/C kick on and off once our eyes closed.

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