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New Mexico - Day 4 - Hot Air Balloon Flight & Old Town Albuquerque
6 April 2015
The highlight of the New Mexico trip occurred early Monday morning when we took off in a hot air balloon! We got up early to be shuttled out to the launch site before a flight over the Rio Grande. Our pilot even managed to land us squarely at Balloon Fiesta Park. The other balloons flying that morning landed in the desert and on Indian land. I wish the flight was longer than just an hour. Once we were back on solid ground, we took a walking tour of Old Town Albuquerque. In the evening we checked out Route 66 after dark.

(click any photo for a larger version)

DAY 3 | NEW MEXICO INDEX | DAY 5
4-001 Balloon Baskets 4-004 Moon 4-005 Unloading Balloon
Waiting to head out to the launch site
We had to get out there early for our sunrise flight
Getting the basket ready
4-007 Tipping Basket 4-008 Basket 4-009 Unloading Balloon
Getting the basket ready
Getting the basket ready
Unpacking the hot air balloon
4-010 Unloading Balloon 4-011 Unloading Balloon 4-013 Inflating Balloon
Unpacking the hot air balloon
Attaching the hot air balloon to the basket
Getting the balloon inflated
4-015 Inflating Balloon 4-017 Inflating Balloon 4-021 Inflating Balloon
Getting the balloon inflated
Our pilot checks out the inside of the balloon
Getting the balloon inflated
4-022 Inflating Balloon 4-023 Inflating Balloon 4-025 Heating Balloon
Inflating one of the other balloons launching with us
Heating up the hot air balloon
Heating up the hot air balloon
4-026 Heating Balloon 4-027 Inflating Balloon 4-029 Balloon
Heating up the hot air balloon
It's lifting up!
Our hot air balloon is filling up!
4-030 Balloons 4-031 Michael & Mom 4-032 Mom
These two balloons took off with us
My mother and I are aboard
My mother was really excited about our flight. So was I!
4-033 Balloon Interior 4-034 Balloons 4-035 Heating Balloon
Looking up into the balloon just before launch
These two balloons took off with us
The burner's on. We're taking off!
4-037 Balloons 4-038 Balloons 4-040 Balloons
We took off first. We win!
These balloons belong to another local balloon comapny
Gaining altitude pretty quick
4-041 Balloons over City 4-042 Balloons 4-043 Sun & River
The view looking north up I-25
Wow, look how high up we are!
Looking east across the Rio Grande River
4-044 Balloon 4-045 Balloons & River 4-046 Balloons & River
Another competing balloon company
Balloons over the Rio Grande River
The rising sun and the Rio Grande River make for amazing photo opportunities
4-047 City & Desert 4-048 Balloon 4-050 Rio Grande River
The city of Albuquerque and the surrounding desert
The other balloon caught up with us
The mighty Rio Grande River
4-052 Balloon 4-053 Rio Rancho 4-054 Balloon
We were as high as that balloon a few minutes ago
You can tell Rio Rancho is a upper class area because they can afford fancy green grass.
Our flying companion
4-056 Michael & Mom in Balloon 4-059 Rio Grande River 4-062 Rio Grande River
High above Albuquerque (taken by the pilot's GoPro camera)
Desceding over the Rio Grande River
Flying low over the Rio Grande River
4-063 Michael & Mom in Balloon over River 4-065 Rio Grande River Park 4-070 Horses
Almost touching the surface of the Rio Grande River (taken by the pilot's GoPro camera)
Flying low over Rio Grande State Park
I guess these horse are used to hot air balloons checking them out by now
4-071 Balloon over River 4-072 Balloon over River 4-073 Army Corps Jacks
The other balloon descends to the Rio Grande River
THe other balloon descends to the Rio Grande River
The army Corps of Engineers placed these jacks to grab debris that comes off the river. Unfortunately, they also prevented firefighters from putting out a large brush fire.
4-074 Mansion 4-075 Coyote 4-077 Balloons and Canal
Not all dessert homes are small
A hot air balloon is probably the best place to be with coyotes roaming around
Hot air balloons are a common sight in the skies of Albuquerque
4-080 Balloon 4-082 Rio Grande River 4-083 Mansion
Looking down at one the balloons flying with us
Looking out north over the Albuquerque and the Rio Grande River
If you're going to own a mansion in the desert, why not put a bright blue roof on it
4-084 View from Balloon 4-085 Balloon Fiesta Park 4-087 Balloon
Looking west
The giant green patch down there is Balloon Fiesta Park
Glad we're not in that balloon, they're headed to Indian territory and can't land
4-088 Balloon Fiesta Park 4-089 Balloon Fiesta Park 4-092 Balloon Shadow
Approaching Balloon Fiesta Park
Ready to land at Balloon Fiesta Park
Our shadow on Balloon Fiesta Park
4-093 Balloons 4-096 Balloon Fiesta Park 4-097 Balloon Museum
Glad we're not in that balloon, they're headed to Indian territory and can't land
On final approach to Balloon Fiesta Park
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum at Balloon Fiesta Park
4-098 Chase Team 4-099 Balloon Fiesta Park 4-100 Venting Balloon
Our chase vehicle is ready to pick us up
Touching down at Balloon Fiesta Park
The top of the balloon opens to let the hot air out
4-101 Venting Balloon 4-103 Stowing Balloon 4-104 Balloon
The top of the balloon opens to let the hot air out
The crew stows the hot air balloon
The hot air balloon deflates
4-106 Stowing Balloon 4-107 Stowing Balloon 4-108 Basket
The crew stows the hot air balloon
The crew stows the hot air balloon
A few moments ago we were 3000 feet above the ground in that basket
4-109 Champagne Glasses 4-110 Drinks 4-111 Champagne
Preparing for a post flight toast
A variety of beverage choices
Post balloon flight champagne
4-112 Balloon Fiesta Park Sign 4-118 Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe 4-119 Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe
We landed at Balloon Fiesta Park
Inside the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Old Town Albuquerque
Inside the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Old Town Albuquerque
4-121 Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe 4-123 Plaza 4-126 Covered Wagon Store
Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Old Town Albuquerque
One of many plazas in Old Town Albuquerque
No matter where you look there are ristras hanging from buildings
4-127 La Placita Staircase 4-128 La Placita Chairs 4-129 Cacti
This beautiful old staircase is inside La Placita Dining Rooms in Old Town Albuquerque
These unique antique chairs are inside La Placita Dining Rooms in Old Town Albuquerque
Flowering cactus
4-132 Sandia Mountains at Sunset 4-133 Sandia Mountains at Sunset 4-136 Mac's La Sierra Sign
The Sandia Mountains are named because sandia means watermelon in Spanish and, as seen from our hotel room, they turn a deep pink color each night at sunset.
The Sandia Mountains are named because Sandia means watermelon in Spanish and, as seen from our hotel room, they turn a deep pink color each night at sunset.
Mac's La Sierra is a Route 66 classic. Very liitle has changed at this place since the heyday of Route 66.
4-137 Enchiladas & Steak Fingers 4-138 Sopaipillas 4-139 Route 66 Arch
Mac's La Sierra is a Route 66 classic. The enchiladas and steak fingers with red and green chile are served exactly as they always have been.
No New Mexican meal is complete without some fresh made sopaipillas. These are at Mac's La Sierra.
Route 66 in Albuquerque takes you back in time to an era when cruising the open road was the way to travel the country.
4-140 Route 66 Arch
Route 66 in Albuquerque takes you back in time to an era when cruising the open road was the way to travel the country.

GO TO DAY 5

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