Sunday, October 30, 2011

Balloon Fiesta

At the beginning of October, Little Sister and I went to the 40th Annual Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was amazingly fun! It is about a 10 hour drive from Salt Lake to Albuquerque, so we left as soon as Little Sister got off of her early shift, loaded up the car, dropped of her dog, and started the long trek on Friday around noon.

We both absolutely love road trips, so even though the hours in the car were many, they flew by pretty quickly. We stopped in Durango, Colorado, for dinner. After stretching our legs, window shopping, and waiting for the biggest slice of pizza I've ever seen, we got back on the road. We finally arrived at our hotel at about 2:00 in the morning. We made excellent time, actually, but we spent about 2 hours in Durango, and then got a little lost just over the border in New Mexico. Needless to say, we didn't make the 5:00 AM Mass Ascension the next day.

The first event we attended was the evening Twinkle Glow. It is a magical evening show where the balloons gather and at certain times, simultaneously light up.

Little Sister had the idea of coming to the Balloon Fiesta about six months ago. Even though it was a quick trip, I am so glad that we went! Little Sister has a fascination with hot air balloons. Her face looked like this pretty much the whole weekend:

The next morning, we made the Mass Ascension, where hundreds, and I mean literally hundreds, of balloons take off and fill the morning sky. The line up in big long rows, one after another, and one by one they lift off into the air.

We returned later that evening to catch the next Twinkle Glow and fireworks show. While we were there, we found the balloon that Little Sister rode in a few years ago with our grandma. (As a gift for graduating from high school, my grandma took both of us on a hot air balloon ride. It was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had!)

The last morning we got up early to see the Dawn Patrol. This group of five balloons flies just before dawn. They do this to test the wind currants before the Mass Ascension starts after sun-up so the balloon pilots know where the winds are blowing, where to land, and so they don't crash into each other.

There was a giant Darth Vader balloon, accompanied by friendly bodyguards. 

It was a wonderful trip! After all of the balloons had taken off and we had our fill of morning sunshine, we got back in the car and started the long drive home. It was a fabulous way to spend a long weekend with my sister.

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