Today was our favorite day to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta since it was special shapes day. These balloons are quite large and are very interesting. They don't fly as well due to the appendages and how large they are. Some are over 120ft tall when inflated. It is always amazing to see what they can come up with on these balloons.
The Fiesta actually pays the owners of these balloons to participate in the Fiesta, while the standard balloons have an entrance fee. I did learn that they are limiting the number of balloons the past few years since the number of open space to land them has been shrinking due to the expansion of the Albuquerque area. There are a couple Indian reservations in the area and they are off limits for the balloons to land. It always struck me odd that they treat the balloonists that way since the Fiesta brings in a huge amount of money into the Indian Casinos which they all share in.
We got there early for the mass ascension and almost froze to death. It wasn't that cold but there was a steady wind out of the north that swept down the field. I grabbed a spot on a picnic bench and rested my sore knees, but still was able to get some great photos. Gerry walked around and came with even better photos and I have combined the two groups. In addition, I am using Picasa to reduce the size of the photos. Let me know if you think the quality is too low.
After the Fiesta we stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast and then hit the wineries. The first winery was a small one in Placitas was quite eclectic. The wines are fruit based and I didn't care for any of them. Judy & Herb bought a bottle that they liked and we hit the road for the next one. There were three wineries open in the area and we hit all of them.
Most of the grapes for the local wineries come from the Deming, NM area since they do have freezes around here. Two years ago they lost the grape crop due to cold weather in the Albuquerque area.
We had an early dinner at the El Pinto restaurant and enjoyed the food very much. They serve huge portions and two doggy bags came home with us. El Pinto is a huge restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. We chose to eat outdoors on the patio since it was such a nice day and it was early.
After dinner we went to the Sandia Casino so Judy & Herb could get their free plays on the slots. When all was said and done, they came out $21 ahead playing with their money. Gerry won $44 to add to her savings and we had to drag her out of there kicking and screaming. Only a promise of bringing her back again allowed us to get her to leave. No, she doesn't have an addiction.
Our friends Gloria & Doug are back in the campground after spending four days at the Cummins repair center. They finally completed all the tasks that needed to be done and will be here until Monday. Hopefully they will be able to get down to the Fiesta grounds on Saturday morning and see the mass ascension. Welcome back guys.