Arriving in Albuquerque late afternoon, we threw our bags in the motel room and made our way to Old Town for authentic Mexican food. Darkness descends early in the west. Did you know that it gets dark a little after 6? I didn’t.

I didn’t take any pictures because of that, but these give you an idea if you’ve not been there. old-town-shops


imagesBright and early, very early Wednesday morning, we threw on our clothes and drove in the dark to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. My pictures will not do this event justice. In fact, we almost missed the launch of these gorgeous balloons because of weather. Something about surface winds and upper atmosphere winds had to be minimal. New Mexico was feeling the remnants of a Pacific Ocean hurricane. We weren’t disappointed when they finally made their way across the dawning sky.

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unnamed (36)It was freezing that morning. Did you know it gets cold in the desert? Now I do. We filled up on Dunkin Donuts coffee. I have many more pictures of the fascinating event, just ask and I will be happy to share them with you, but didn’t want to bore you with so many here.

After pulling ourselves away from this fiesta, we got back in the car for our final day of travel, landing in Arizona that night. If you get the opportunity to attend this balloon festival, I would highly recommend it. And if you live near Jamesville, NY or Indianola, Iowa, they have smaller versions of hot air balloon festivals.

The ride across New Mexico and into Arizona was uneventful, except for stopping at two shops on the indian reservations. Not realizing we were going up, although we had been warned, we got to Flagstaff, AZ which is at 7000′. The story of how we came down the mountain will have to wait until Monday.

Part 1

Part 2