10 October 2010
If you have spent any time in Albuquerque this past week you have no doubt pulled off to the side of the road and stared skyward -- the behemoths have returned:
It also marks my third year attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta -- now in its 39th year!
It also means an early rise:
The last three years I've arrived at the park and ride by 04:30 which seems just about right. It truly is the only way to get to the balloon fiesta. I would never recommend driving to it, especially on a weekend.
Once you get there, there is not a whole lot to do that early...except look for souvenirs and eat. Legend has it that the 'breakfast' burrito variation was created at the balloon fiesta by Tia Sophias out of Santa Fe. I don't know for sure, I do know it is delicious at five am!!
Even this early in the morning the grounds have a state fair feel about them.
Of course the main reason for being here is about to begin...
The previous few years, the early morning has been bone cold, this year every day has been perfect, in the low 50s. Of course the day I decide to go it is more like 45.
It is all worth it when you see these giants begin to inflate and surround you.
What other sporting event can you get up this close to the participants?
The colors in the morning light are amazing!
For the first time in several years every morning was picture perfect and mass ascensions were able to take place. Winds postponed all but one evening 'glow'.
The week ended on a sad note; however, when news arrived that Italian search and rescue had called off the search for Albuquerque ballooning legend Richard Abruzzo and his ballooning partner Carol Rymer Davis who disappeared over the Adriatic Sea while participating in the Gordon-Bennet Gas Balloon race, the oldest balloon race.
Reports indicate the gondola plunged 50 miles an hour over the Adriatic Sea. No wreckage has been found.
As this season of Land of the Zia comes to an end, I will take one last planned adventure next weekend. There is a chance of rain but I am hoping the weather holds out.
UP NEXT: Balloon vids, whooo hoooo!