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Albuquerque Balloon Festival 2010

    Leaving Oklahoma City at 6:30 a.m. Laurie and I arrived in Albuquerque at 4:30 p.m. for the Balloon Festival October 2010.  We had stopped in Tucumcari for lunch, having our first taste of green chili stew.
    Locating the Coronado Mall, where we would catch a bus to the air park at 4:00 a.m., was a top priority since we would be driving in the dark.  We found the mall and got a game plan together, had dinner and got our cameras and backpacks together for morning. 
    After a good night’s sleep at the Club House Inn and a smooth ride on the shuttle bus, we arrived at the park gates around 4:45 AM and walked into the park.  It seemed just like the Oklahoma State fair as far as the food court area... we walked around, got something to eat and I had my coffee. Laurie got a burrito that was filled with eggs, hash browns and onions.  It was good, but she couldn't eat it all.  I had the cinnamon rolls in a paper cup.  It started to mist rain for a few minutes and we thought the day was over.  Well, it wasn't.  The balloons started to light up the dark, so we walked towards them.  The sun started to come up and the “Shape” balloons started to launch.  We had never seen anything like it...  We took pictures the whole time.
About 9 a.m. we left for the shuttle buses and the ride back to our van.  We showered and left for lunch at El Pinto, a Mexican place, Man, the food there was good. Did I mention we each had 2 Patron Margarita’s during lunch ;-). After leaving there, we went back to old town for some sight seeing until we had to leave for dinner and the tram ride up Sandia Mountain.  This was a true experience.  We had a reservation for 7:00, so we figured if we got to the Tram by 4:30 we could go up and look around at the top. Well, we finally got to the top a little after 6:00 and our reservation at 7:00 was coming up.  We roamed around the top of the mountain, taking pictures and looking at the ski run that ran down the backside.  When the wind and cold drove us inside, we were directed to the bar area.  It was shoulder to shoulder.  It was Balloon Fest week and yes, they were busy.  We finally got seated and within 5 minutes of ordering we had our food.  I enjoyed the BEST chicken Florentine that I ever had.  I’d go back in a minute to have that meal over again.
Saturday, we were up at 4 a.m.  The early morning was worth it to see the Mass Ascension.  As we watched 2 balloons launch in the dark, we turned around and 11 other balloons were getting ready for takeoff.  Once they were aloft, you could only see them when they turned their burners on.  Waves of balloons took off as the morning progressed.  Over 500 balloons were able to launch but by 8 a.m., balloons were no longer able to get the loft they needed to launch.
We spent the rest of Saturday visiting local wineries and seeing the sights of Albuquerque.
Sunday morning, we enjoyed the hotel buffet and then headed for home.  Many balloons were seen as they landed near I-40 and others disappeared over the horizon.  It was a fitting farewell to a wonderful weekend.  We will be back again.  Balloon Fest rocks!


These picture galleries start driving to Albuquerque on Thursday thru Sunday
Links to Gallery A
Links to Gallery B
Links to Gallery C
Links to Gallery D

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last modified March 07, 2013