Starting to work on your Bucket List is a little scary and exciting at the same time. After all, this is a list of things you hope to accomplish before you expire. Making that decision to start to chip away at it puts a momentary trepidation in the back of your mind that somehow we are coming down the home stretch. But then the excitement of seeing life-long dreams come true takes over and we are running full speed ahead.
This collision of feelings happened recently when a 35 year old dream finally came true. We fell in love with hot air balloons when we saw our first ones back in the 70’s. We sought them out whenever we could and what a treat when there were 10 balloons launching together! Then one day, Lori was browsing in a book store in Boston and came across one all about hot air balloons. It was in that book that we learned of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. At the time they had around 100 balloons launching, which was completely unfathomable to us. 100 Balloons!!! Can you imagine??? We made the vow that we would go someday, but Albuquerque seemed like a world away at the time and we settled into our jobs and raising a family and tucked it away in the back corners of our mind.
Fast forward 35 years (35 years???) and we find ourselves living in Arizona; just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Albuquerque. We tried hard to go, but year after year something would always come up that would prevent us from going. We finally decided that 2017 would be the year and we weren’t going to let anything get in the way. The 8-hour drive seemed like an eternity, but we finally made it. Alarm set for 4:00 a.m. so we could get to the field for 5:00 a.m. Unfortunately, about 10,000 other people thought the same thing, putting us in the middle of a 45 minute traffic jam. Just another hiccup….deep breath…we’ll get there.
The Dawn Patrol balloons were just starting to inflate when we got on to the field, glowing like giant light bulbs in the predawn darkness. They lifted off with quiet beauty and ease, dotting the sky like fireflies. They gave the thumbs up and the remaining 550 balloons began inflating. The sight, sounds, smells, and excitement is indescribable. 550 Balloons! In the Air. All at once. OMG!!! Here is a small sampling of our photos and for those interested, a link to our extensive photo album can be found at the bottom. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.