Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Arrived on the Grounds of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!

Ken and I had a relaxing morning at the KOA North about 10 miles from the Balloon Fiesta.  We actually saw 2 hot air balloons fly over the CG.

We stopped at the dump station before leaving the CG and I followed Ken in the CRV to the Fiesta Park area arriving around 10:30.  All we had to do was show our HOP Escapees pass and we were directed to our sites for boondocking.  We are very close to the box area where the balloons often land trying to hit targets.  

When we were set-up (which didn't take very long since we don't have any hook-ups) we went to the HOPS tent to receive our packet of information.  We met the 2 couples behind us (brothers) and the single lady beside us who is full-timing on her own.  All were extremely friendly and helpful especially regarding the use of our generator.

After lunch Ken and I decided to take a walk to get the "lay of the land".  We talked to several folks along the way one of them being Cool Judy (she lives in Cool, CA) and she is in charge of one of the many sub-groups under the Escapees "umbrella" called Boomers!  They have about 50 rigs here and she has been in charge of this event for them for about 15 years.  Judy mentioned that their group is asked by balloon pilots to assist on the field with their balloons. She said there were still a few spaces available for needed crew members and asked if we had any interest - YES! So, we signed waivers, got passes to the field for any of the launches, and tomorrow evening and maybe Friday, we will be crew members for the Ladybug Balloon.  How exciting! 

We walked to the launch area and nothing more was going to take place today because of windy conditions.  We were told by many of the attendees that this morning's launch was incredible - perfect conditions.  Over 400 balloons launched today and it was a breathtaking site.

Our HOPS group met at 4 for a time of introduction, fellowship, and then a catered Mexican meal.  Then we took another short walk and ended up talking for about a half hour with another couple that is here with the Boomers.  We had a great time chatting and getting helpful suggestions of other places to see while on this 3 month adventure.  

We started the generator at 7:45 and ran it for about 1 1/2 hours.  Amazing how everything works when that is on, even the TV and microwave!

We are getting up around 4:30 AM to be at the launch field (about a mile from our site) by 5:30.  A shuttle bus goes by this area every 30 minutes! We are hoping that one of the pilots might need some help in the morning.  After the launch many of the balloons will fly right over the area where Waldo is parked and land nearby.  It will be exciting.

We should have plenty of pictures in tomorrow's blog.  Stay tuned!

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