Tuesday, October 05, 2021
We decide not to get up super early as we are both exhausted. But we are restless and find ourselves both awake at 7AM. “Want to throw our clothes on and take a ride?” I ask Elee. “Sure”, comes the reply.
So we do and within one quarter mile of driving, we see hundreds of balloons on the air! Our GPS tells us to turn but we follow the balloons. When we finally listen to the GPS, it takes us close to the balloon fields. We find a place to pull the car off the road and, cameras in hand, we head onto the Fiesta grounds. The sky is ablaze with hundreds of Hot Air Balloons, every one unique (we find this is a regulation of the Festival).
After shooting dozens of photos, we come across a couple of entertaining ladies driving a Complimentary Shuttle and they take us for a ride into the Fairgrounds and give us a tour! We ask about several aspects of the Festival and they show us where we’ll need to be for different things. They drop us off next to the fields where balloons are beginning to land and we bid them adeau! They have agreed that we will call them Thelma and Louise!
We walk onto the lawns and watch the balloons soar, some of them overhead and some of them coming in to land. Our cameras are in their happy place and we work their shutters with abandon!
Once we get back to our car, we head along the road and come to a security point where a lady, we’ll call her “Amanda Brady” because that is her name! She is a wealth of information and helps us with where we need to be as the week moves along.
We drive back to our condo (Sonesta ES Suites) that we have rented and proceed to shower and do the things we didn’t take for time for in the morning. Then we go to “Millie’s” for a great breakfast and get ready for the afternoon. A lady in the restaurant gives us tips for an afternoon excursion.
We drive just a bit over an hour north to Jerez Hot Springs where we find most of the town closed, unfortunately. So they close on Tuesdays, oh wait, it’s Tuesday! Just our luck! The Hotsprings we want is called “Giggling” Hot Springs and it is closed also. So we do the next best thing and visit Ponderosa Winery for a tasting! We like a couple of the offerings and bring two bottles back to our condo.
Now it is time for dinner as we want to go to bed early and we walk one block to Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q where they sell smoked meat by the pound and it turns out it rivals the BBQ joint we visited in Kansas City back in April! The meat was sooo good! We brought the dinner back to our condo, enjoyed it and got ready to retire for the night early.
We plan on getting up at 3:30AM to make it to the Festival Grounds shortly after 4AM to watch the Dawn Patrol Show followed by the Krispy Kreme Morning Glow (Balloons lit up by the burners in the dark) followed by the “Flight of Nations Mass Ascension”, Remote controlled balloons and a Chainsaw Carving Exhibition! A tall order for the morning!