Welcome back to our weekly blog! The adventure continues in Albuquerque.
When we left off last week, we were getting acclimated to our “accommodations” at the, so called, RV parking area. It has been a challenge. We are parked on dirt and rocks, which causes a lot of dust and constant cleaning in the RV. This is what I call “camping” and NOT GLAMPING. (Princess much?) As you are reading this, we are on our way to Austin, so we are done with the boondocking portion of our trip. Honestly, aside from the lot itself, we had a blast! Though if we decide to do this again we are definitely booking an RV camp WAY in advance!
Which brings me to the adventures during the Balloon Fiesta. We were able learn so much about crewing for a pilot and all that goes into being a part of the chase vehicle. Richard, our pilot, has been very patient teaching all the crew what needs to be done to get him up in the air and down safely. I will say, I had no idea how much work this takes, and it is physical labor! Also, we did not realize that when we signed up to crew that we would be doing it every day. That meant getting up at 5:00 am to get to the field. Even though we were done by 10:30 most days, we became good friends with the process of taking naps. As Jerry says, let’s go back to what we learned in kindergarten… NAPS!!! We did have a break this past Wednesday as it rained. We were so excited to sleep in, You have no idea. To be honest, I was pretty much done with crewing after 3 days. Chasing a balloon around Albuquerque was not my idea of a good time, but all in all it was an amazing adventure.
We learned all about how to set up the basket, how the balloon is called an envelope, how you must wear gloves when touching the envelope, and so on. Jerry was the rope holder at the top of the balloon as it was filling up to make sure it didn’t fly away. That took a lot of strength. My job was different each day. I oversaw the fan that blew the air into the balloon one day and then held the opening of the balloon on one side a different day as it filled up. Who knew there was so much to this ballooning thing!!!
Of course, the highlight was our first day when Richard took us up in the balloon. It was magical!!! To answer our most common question, no we were not afraid! It was beautiful and so quiet. To see all the balloons around us and all the people below us was incredible (We teared up a bit). We had the smoothest landing. Richard always does a “ceremony” after the first flight with his passengers. We were tricked into believing we had to bow our heads in a balloon prayer. You guessed it, we had champagne poured on our heads. One of our bucket lists was checked off!!!
The entire experience was so incredible to be down on the field during the different events with all the balloons and pilots. It is so hard to explain the magnitude of these experiences. The pictures and videos just do not do it justice.
We have also met some amazing people here! Our friends, Terri and Dave, who we met our very first night, June 30th, in our RV in Salt Lake City came to join us here. We were so excited to see them after exactly 90 days of full-time RVing. We will see them in AZ during our time there this winter. We have also become friends with Jean and Paul, who live in Lake Havasu, and have invited us to visit them when we are in AZ this January as well.
One of the highlights for us was visiting Mike and Sarah who live in Albuquerque. We met Mike and Sarah when I was working at Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Mike was a patient who was able to take advantage of clinical trials through the help of Lazarex, and he is still with us today because of those trials. Sarah cooked an amazing dinner for us and we were able to catch up and just enjoy spending time together. Please take the time to check out the amazing work that Lazarex does for end-stage cancer patients.
We are so blessed to be able to live this lifestyle which enables us to visit people all over the country. This is one of the main reasons we are on this adventure. So, don’t be surprised if we show up at your home one of these days!!
Just One More….friend (you can’t have too many)!
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