Sorry folks, after spending a week in the desert, I just had to use the title of my favorite Clint Eastwood movie ;) And yes, the name Arch Stanton did come up while we were there (TGTBTU fans will totally get that!) For the moment I'm just going to give a little rundown on our trip, more posts to follow later with pics!
The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is just a WOW thing, Lee and I likened it to going to the Indy 500. Watching a Mass Ascension is just unbelievable, just when you think there can't possibly be anymore hot air balloons in the sky, more are inflated and go up. Truly worth going to, and the main reason for our trip.
Canyon Road in Santa Fe is home to a bazillion art galleries, and well worth checking out if you like art. What I loved about it was it wasn't just southwestern art, the galleries there represent artists from all over the world, and the variety there is just unbelievable. I likened it to going to Art Expo in NYC, just on a smaller scale. Probably not everyone's bag, but I thought it was cool, and I didn't buy a thing! A visual feast for sure.
Tinkertown Museum--pull it up in a websearch, words can't even describe how unusual this place is. Not quite as unusual as House On The Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin, but definitely up there.
Homewood Suites--had never stayed at one of these before, but if they are all like the one we stayed at in ABQ, we will definitely be staying at one again. Reasonably priced, immaculately clean, good food (and included!)--I'm ranking it right under the Grand Floridian at WDW, and at nowhere near the same price.
Dry air and my poor sinuses! About a week and a half before we were to leave I got a horrible head cold, one of the worst I've had in ages, and it wasn't quite totally cleared up when we left. I should have been on a first name basis with the clerks at the CVS near our hotel, I think we were there almost every day getting something else for my poor sinuses. I won't go in to detail, but let's just say that if it hasn't cleared up by Wednesday, I am probably headed for the doctor.
Budget car rental--beside the fact that it was expensive (where they get the name Budget is beyond me?!), our car smelled like stale cigarette smoke. That odor about gags me and I'm sure that it didn't help my poor sinuses either :( I got an e-mail survey and told them what I thought!
Wind--I didn't realize how serious wind was as far as hot air balloons until this trip. I'm not talking 30-50 MPH winds either--12MPH is too much. And when it is too windy, balloons don't go in the air. Saturday morning we got up early to catch a hotel shuttle to the nearby mall to catch a bus to Balloon Fiesta Park--after waiting in line for an hour and a half, we finally boarded the bus, only to find out on the way there that all the events for the morning had been cancelled!!! Since it was officially cancelled, our tickets were at least good for another session, and fortunately for us we had several days, but every day can be hit or miss. I'll admit I was a little nervous after spending all that money trying to see balloons and just keeping my fingers crossed that the wind would cooperate (it did the next day).
The words "CANCELLED" beside your flight home don't do anything for you, especially after you've already checked out of your hotel room, turned in your rental car, and you are in a town the week of one of the biggest events of the entire year! American Airlines is now right up there with USAir for airlines I will try and avoid when possible, their pilots have a bug up their asses right now about something and the customers are paying the price. We ended up spending an entire extra day in ABQ, but couldn't do anything because we couldn't get our car back--so we spent the day in our hotel room watching bad daytime TV. At least AA was paying for the room, but we still lost a whole day since we couldn't get another flight out until the following day. GRRRRR!
Check back soon, I will post some pictures and more detailed tales of our trip!