Monday, October 8, 2012


October 6-8, 2012
Albuquerque, NM
Friday afternoon:
     We are on our way by 3:45 or so, having showered and packed after working until 2:30 at the job site for Habitat!  Tired from a six day work week, but the anticipation of a last weekend with Rick's family, a chance to see Jed again, and the balloons drives us northward!  Plus a stop for cold drinks at the Mickey D's upon leaving!  
     Ging drives the stretch from Las Cruces up to Socorro to give Rick a much needed break.  (He has spent much of the past three days up on the roof!)  The interstate from Las Cruces north to Hatch -all 34 miles of it - was new highway for us!  We didn't realize how much green there was along the Rio Grande in this area - groves and groves of nut trees - mostly pecans and pistachos we think.  A stop in TorC to find a bathroom, and on in to Socorro by 6 pm.  Jed has suggested we meet at El Sombrero, right along the north exit from the freeway in Socorro.  
    El Sombrero is a fun place, especially the back room which is an enclosed patio area with windows, a central fountain, and lots of plants, decorations, etc.  The food was excellent, a bit on the spicy side, but I asked for sour cream, so it was great!  I had a Grilled Chicken Taco Salad, which ended up being totally spinach in a spinach flour tortilla shell!  Included cukes, crookneck squash, onions, etc.  Good, but very different!  Rick enjoyed his meal.  Jed often eats here rather than at Sofia's now.  Jed transferred our mail to us - hopefully this is the last of it.  It should all be being held now in Baker City.  
     Rick drives the last stretch into Albuquerque to Mom's - darkening skies and windy!  Mom had called earlier to say the Balloon festival was cancelled Saturday morning - did we still want to come?  We definitely were coming anyway we said!  Arrive at Mom's at 8:30 - ready for bed by 10!!!  

     I get up at 5:30 to check the computer for the wind speeds, etc. in ABQ.  Looks like all is a go!  The TV confirms it when Rick turns it on around 6:15 as we get up.  Out the door by 6:45 to pick up coffees and breakfast burritos at McD's enroute up Wyoming.  We find a spot on Louisiana east of the Fiesta Park - balloons are going up.  
Elvis on the left!  He's from Brazil. 
Rick and Mom enjoy the show

     Basically, only about a third to half of the 600 balloons go up - the wind is fickle this morning and it seems many of the balloons had trouble staying up. I read that when the wind is too calm, the balloons just hover above the field and the pilots have trouble sometimes finding a good spot to land.  That seemed to be the problem at times today.  
Pig - from Germany!
        We did see several of the special shapes: Elvis (actually a balloon titled Aaron from Brazil), flying pigs, ladybug, zebra head, tictoc the clock, Zebra, bulls, Humpty Dumpty, and more.  We didn't see Darth Vader!!  :(  Watch for over an hour and then had to run back to a different McD's for a potty run and more coffee!  Then out San Pedro Drive to see a few up close and land.  One American flag balloon landed right in the field we were parked in early in the morning, but then was able to get airborn again.  So many beautiful colors and designs.  When the eastern sun shone on the balloons, their colors glowed.  Otherwise, it was hard to see some of the beauty with the gray clouds and darker skies.  So pretty!!!  

     Back to Mom's around 10 to relax, snooze, write, and read the paper.  We are meeting Randy's family at Chiles to celebrate Rachael's birthday at 3.  Quick (?) call to Mom Mac and Liz in Bandon before we take off for Chiles.  
     Great group to gather for the final celebration of Rachael's birthday - Ryan, Regan, and Rachael, Randy and Patty, Jed, Grandma R, Rick and I.  This is our first visit to Chile's.  Rick has a Habernero Chicken dish and I try the Chicken Explosion Quesadilla, which is excellent!  Lots of chips and salsa while waiting for Jed to arrive (he was only 10 minutes late, and he did have to come from Socorro, 75 miles away, after all!)  
Jed watches firewords with me from
back of the truck. 
     Back to Mom's for abit where Jed helped with some computer issues, I picked up mirrors at Joann's, and Mom R filled out a Medical Power of Attorney form!  Exciting stuff!  
Around 7 we take off to return to the fiesta area for a possible glimpse of the glow and then the fireworks.  We got a little twisted around on a few streets, and it became apparent you didn't see the glow unless you actually went into the fiesta grounds.  So we returned to San Pedro and our second spot of the morning.  Rick backed the truck up to the barbed wire fence - he and Mom watched from the front seat - Jed and I from the bed of the truck standing and leaning against the cab.  The fireworks lasted for nearly 20 minutes - both in the air and some ground displays.  We could see both well!  Nice show!    
Rick suggests ICE CREAM!  He doesn't hear any complaints, so we stop at Wendy's on the way back to the apartment!  Jed leaves to return to Socorro shortly after.

M Mt. in Socorro!  We said "Good
Morning, Jed" as we passed by! 
Organ Mts. and other ridges as you approach Las Cruces. 
Short and sweet for today!  We leave Mom's around 10, stop for gas.  Rick drives to Truth or Consequences, stop for lunch at MacDonald's and I drive the final 75 miles into Las Cruces.  Grocery shopping, happy hour, and evening of planning our trip home, drawing and posting!  Back to work tomorrow!!  

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