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. 14, 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.

 

 

 

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 – Balloons AM & PM

This morning when I went out I saw that the balloons were drifting north so I decided to drive and follow them.

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They have to drift along until they see someplace safe to land while not landing in the The Pueblo of Sandia Indian Reservation.

 

Went back for the evening session.

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So I like that I experienced the fiesta from many different perspectives this trip.  I watched from the RV Park, I watched from the museum grounds, I drove and watched them float over the city.  I watched from the field among the balloons and I saw them from the bluff as well.

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.