Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 – Home Sweet Home

I left Tulsa this morning about 11:00am.  It was warming up and much less windy than the previous few days.  Nice sunny drive.

I stopped in Joplin for a little lunch.  I saw the sign for Chick-Fil-A so I must have my favorite chicken sandwich.  I am always impressed with their customer service but wow on what I saw today.

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I have seen them taking orders in the drive thru lanes before with Ipads but now they have actually put up carport covers and they had propane heaters out there.

They were running two lanes under the covers and third just beside the covers.  The first two lanes merged in to the drive thru pick up window and the third lane pulls to a designated stop in the parking lot.

At the pick up window, there were three employees taking completed orders from the window and handing them to the cars.  If the food belonged to the third lane in the parking lot, they “ran” the food to the car.  Then once people got their food order, they pulled up a few feet to another employee with a five shelf cart filled with all the condiments, sauces, etc that one might need and asked for whatever they might want.

I finished my nice sunny 207 mile drive by stopping at Mom’s before heading home and unloading the trailer.  Last trip for 2018.

Sunday, Oct. 15, 2018 – Heading for home

Woke this morning to the sound of raindrops on the roof.  I knew that there would be no balloons flying today.  Today is the last day of nine days and many balloonists had already left early.  I am sure the pilots were in no mood to deal with light rain.  So it was officially announced that the morning flight was cancelled and the fiesta was done for 2018.

So the last couple of days the weather forecasters here have been warning about the weather coming on Sunday and Monday to eastern NM, northern TX and Oklahoma.

I decided that based on the predictions I could get to Amarillo before the freezing rain started.  I made a reservation yesterday afternoon for a spot in Amarillo RV Ranch.  I could not get in the park I stayed in on the way out.

I hooked up and pulled out at 9:00am in 53 degree weather.  I made it about 90 minutes before light rain started.  The rest of the trip was light rain, sometimes fog, increasing winds and colder weather.

I arrived at the RV park about 3:30 or so.  I drove 292 miles today.  Time change back from Mountain time so I lost an hour.  It was 34 degrees and windy when I arrived.  I was happy I had a reservation as they were full and turning away people.

When I parked and went in the trailer it was 44 degrees inside the trailer.   As I write this at 10:00pm, it is 29 degrees outside with 24 mph winds.  Gusts rock the trailer every few minutes.  With the wind, it is brutally cold tonight especially for mid-October.

This rv park is owned by “The Big Texan”, a Texas themed steakhouse/brewery/gift shop that also owns a motel, a zipline, etc, etc. that advertises a lot in and around Amarillo.  One of their hooks is that they provide free shuttles between the local motels, hotels and rv parks.  Between 4-9pm each evening they have old limos that shuttle you back and forth.  So I scheduled for a 6 pm pick up.

So at 6:20pm my limo arrived…..

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So the food was good and the service was good.  Things bogged down when it came time to leave.  There were about 15 people ready to leave and no limos.  Once you get in a limo, all the people are not going to the same area, so you get to ride along to other stops.  I would consider the experience one and done and would probably just stop for some take out on the way to the park if I were to visit Amarillo again.

 

 

 

Friday, Oct. 12, 2018

The event has both a facebook page and a phone app to keep you updated.  This morning the app was showing that the balloons were on hold due to some upper winds.  I hung out in the trailer waiting to see if they were going to fly.

At 7:57am they put out the green flag.  It took me 10 minutes to get ready and walk out the door.  When I did, I was amazed to already see dozens of balloons drifting over the RV park.  I took the following photos while still in the park:

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I decided to walk towards the park.

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The strange looking building you see in the distance is the Balloon Museum.  The closer I got to the museum the more amusing it became.  The balloon field is below the museum so it just looked like a jack in the box…..balloon after balloon just appeared to pop up.

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I arrived at the museum grounds and stopped.

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As I was sitting and enjoying the experience, I hear someone blowing a whistle over and over and realize it is coming from the basket below this giant Christ the Redeemer balloon.  Then they start yelling “Help us stop, Help us stop”.  This is common for people on the ground to help catch the baskets and slow/stop them.  So people started piling on and got it stopped.  It was the most amazing landing I have seen considering the size of the balloon and the small, small space they had to land.  They stayed inflated with people holding on to them until their chase crew arrived and put down a giant tarp and then they deflated.  It was textbook.  They could have filmed a how to video on deflating a balloon.   I heard two different employees from the museum come out and tell them that was the best landing on the lawn they have ever had.  The balloon height is equal to a 15 story building.  The pilot and his balloon are from Brazil.

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I walked back to the RV park to see balloons still flying over the RV’s.

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Back at the trailer at 10:00am.

More photos to be added later.

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018

I was up at 6:00am.  I rode the shuttle (school bus) from the RV park to the balloon field.  It is about 1/2 mile.    It was a lovely morning with a great mass ascension.  Row after row of balloons lifting off.

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The wind had picked up in the afternoon.  I went back to the field at 6:00pm for the Balloon Glow.  Canon camera company is the major sponsor for the event.  They were doing free camera & lens inspections on Canon cameras.  I took advantage of that ($110 value) and had mine checked while waiting on the wind to die down.  The wind never did and the Balloon Glow was cancelled.

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 – Happy Birthday, Mom!

The “Cadillac Ranch” art project is located 1/2 mile from the RV park I stayed in last night so I decided to stop and take a closer look.  It is in the middle of a field right alongside 40 highway.  There are 10 half-buried Cadillacs.  They were buried in 1974 and people are encouraged to bring spray paint and paint all over them.  So I can say I have seen them now.

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I left Amarillo about 11:00 and had a nice drive into Albuquerque (285 miles).  I arrived at Balloon Fiesta Park just before 5:00pm Mountain Time (Time Zone changes when you cross into New Mexico).

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STANDARD: $40.00 per night (dry camping) (South RV Lot)

BOX VIEW: $50.00 per night (dry camping) (South RV Lot)

PREMIUM: $95.00 per night (30Amp and water connection)  (South RV Lot)

VIP West/East: $100.00 per night (dry camping, adjacent to the Launch Field with 2 general admission passes included valid during your stay.)

PRESIDENT’S COMPOUND :$250.00 per night (Sites on a bluff overlooking the Launch Field with city water pressure and 30-50 Amp RV Hook-up, this site also includes 4 general admission passes to the Launch Field valid during your stay.)


 

I checked in my South RV dry camping lot and a volunteer guide found a small site to put me in.  Below are views from my site:

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I settled in and went out for some dinner.  My generator worked great.  I can only run the generator until 10:00pm.