Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fiesta Fireworks

October 4, 2008
When we last wrote, the girls and I were lounging at our hotel, taking full advantage of the pool, the WiFi, the freshly baked cookies and the giant checkerboard in the lobby as we watched what appeared to be a storm blow in. Would the Balloon Fiesta carry on with its evening hot air ballooning event? Would we finish our stay in Albuquerque with the bright lights of fireworks or would we be simply soaked out of town?

Late in the afternoon, the Fiesta folks finally announced that the gusty winds eliminated any chance of the evening Twinkle Twilight glow event, but fireworks were still on the docket. So while I’d considered simply moving on west toward our camp some 100 miles to the west, I didn’t want to go out like that. The girls were still interested in seeing the fireworks, and, to be fair, so was I. So we walked back down the hill to the field, enjoyed the junk food Fiesta offered, checked out the booths and stood around in the intermittent light drizzles as Fiesta information staff closed down, then booth after booth. Would fireworks REALLY happen?

Then at 8 p.m., just as promised, the show began, first with a few wind-direction test works, then a growing cacophony that didn’t disappoint. Perhaps the best part was that so many people stayed away presumably because of the foul weather. So we were able to get closer to the works than the girls have ever been before. And the light rain let up during the event so my glasses didn’t get screwy in the attempt to take in the sights.

After the show, we spotted the chainsaw artists madly working away at their blocks of wood, making the most of their time before their 9 p.m. shutdown deadline. More than half a dozen artists from throughout the U.S. and Japan had made good time in their efforts which will be judged tomorrow at 4 p.m., then auctioned off at the end of the week with proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. V voted for the dolphin sculpture, E for the princess throne complete with peacocks, and I vote for the king-size bedstead featuring wolves and a dreamcatcher on the headboard and owls resting in carved wooden snags above the bed.

By 9:10 p.m. we were headed back up the hill, walking, in the dark and another heavier drizzle. One of the golf cart drivers who was supposed to be transporting challenged folks to their cars lacked business, so picked us up for a ride about a block. Then we headed toward the Big Road when one of the 156 shuttle busses pulled up next to us and asked if we needed a lift. While the shuttle wasn’t going by our hotel, it was headed generally in that direction, so he gave us a ride. Little did we know THIS was the driver who leads his passengers in singing, “The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round.” What a fun way to cap off a completely family-friendly day!

Though it was a little late, drizzly and certainly dark, it had always been my plan to put in a few miles before turning in for the night. I figured (correctly, as it turned out) that there would be no place to lay our weary heads anywhere near Albuquerque anyhow, so Red Rock State Park is our goal. I’m charged up, the girls have their PJs and we’re headed out.

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