Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Albuquerque Balloon Fest and Wickenburg AZ Winter 2016 - 2017

We arrived in Wickenburg AZ on the 25 August to temperatures running around 112 degrees, Yikes!!!  Of course it was to soon to be in AZ but we had an annual lease on the lot and we were flying home in a few weeks.  Sun City is 30 minutes south east of us which is on the outskirts of Phoenix.  There is all kinds of shopping and they have a bowling alley.  Since we are bowling in the Nationals in Las Vegas we joined a league.  Mid September it started to cool down so we took a motorcycle ride to Prescott which is a higher elevation then Wickenburg making it cooler.  On the 19th Mark flew home and I flew to Maryland for Peep Week.  As always the Sistahs had a wonderful time together.  Mark drove his work van back from the east coast getting ready for another busy season.

The first of October he hitched up the rig and headed to Albuquerque NM for the Balloon Festival. This has been on our bucket list for years.  All I can say is make reservations early because the city is packed.  We booked at the Stagecoach Stop RV Park on our way through to CO.  This Park is about ten miles from the balloon field, there are many camping options out there, you just have to do your research.


We paid $500 for the week and got one of the last spots.  It is a pricey adventure but soooo worth it.  The first day we arrived that night they had the Glow going on, this is where they light up the balloons after dark and some of them lift off.  You are on the field right where all the action is which is pretty cool.


The night sky lights up with balloons.  



A few days later was the mass ascension which is done in the morning and all the balloons participating are launched in waves. We were on the field at 6:30 and it was definitely chilly.


The balloons start arriving and getting setup, then they launch in waves.  It is just an amazing sight!!!


You can volunteer to help the balloonists doing things such as holding the lines as the balloons inflate getting them ready for take off.  Note the guy at the top of my hat doing this and the size of the balloon, gives you perspective as to how large they are.








Pictures just don't do justice to the amazing event.

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The town of Carefree which is north of Phoenix has a pumpkin display with the most incredible craved pumpkins that we have ever seen, will worth a visit if you are in the area.


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Mark got his business up and running and we settled in for what we hoped would be a good winter.  As it turned out it was the worst winter in 16 years with lots of rain and below normal temperatures, but we made the best of it.  
  
I joined the Gem and Mineral club in Wickenburg and met some wonderful guys that were lapidary artists.  They wanted to learn how to do silversmithing and I wanted to learn lapidary.  Once a week I would go to their house learning how to cab and gaining great knowledge about gemstones.  They were vendors at Quartzite for the annual gem show and let me setup my jewelry.  What a great experience!



Once the Quartzite show was over with the club planned some fun rock digs in the desert.


I always enjoy a good day in the desert.


The first of February I went to the Tucson Gem Show and scored some great slabs for making cabochons.  I have been to this show before but it is still overwhelming every time I attend it.  I really think I like Quartzite better but if you have never been it is an experience every silversmith/lapidary artist should attend once.
  
In March we took a road trip to San Marcos, CA to meet our great nephew Rowan Ray Williamson.  It was nice to see our family on the west coast and welcome this precious boy to the family.



It was a good winter learning new things and meeting new people.  
Time to move on to new adventures.

Check out my jewelry on Etsy at Wandering Designs.




Thanks for following our travels.











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