The whole reason we left on Friday and split our drive over two days was for the sole purpose of attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, which is an annual event celebrating hot air balloons. Each year they have 700 balloons all take off at once, every morning, in what is called a mass ascension. It happens at dawn, so you have to be there at like 5:30 to watch, and that is frankly a ridiculous time of day. I don't care who you are, no one can be in a fiesta mood at 5:30 in the morning.
The also do this thing called a Night Glow, where all of the balloons are in the sky at night, and they all light their flames at the same time. It's compared to lit christmas lights, all over the sky, and it is supposedly gorgeous. They had that scheduled for tonight, Saturday evening, at the much more reasonable hour of 5:30 pm.
Until, of course, it rained. And was windy. And had severe thunderstorm warnings, hail the size of nickels, and possibly a tornado warning. So our whole Saturday evening plan was canceled.
I'm completely bummed by that, because it means two things. One, we all of a sudden don't have plans for tonight, and Two, if I want to see the stupid balloons, I'd have to get up at like 5 a.m.! And if I want to see them, I have to get up that early just to check to see if it's been canceled or not. I'm still hurting from last night's bedtime fiasco, do I want to follow that with an intentional early morning? But I came all the way here, can I really miss the balloons just because I'm tired? It's a frustrating question, mostly because I didn't think I'd have to answer it. I want to see the balloons, so I'll get up tomorrow, but I won't be happy about it!
Instead of tonight's balloon event, I ended up taking the boys to a children's science museum called Explora, while Ryan and Darcey napped. The boys loved this place - it's very similar in concept and size to the Discovery Gateway museum in SLC, but somehow crammed way more exhibits into the same square footage. Or maybe it just seemed that way. It wasn't a mammoth building, but the kids were constantly going from one activity to the next. It was a good introduction to our vacationing fun.
This should show just how windy it is here - I guess it's valid to cancel the night launch. My kids were ready to launch themselves with the wind so strong!
You won't even believe what I attempted to do while we were there - they had a high-wire bike across the second floor of the building, and I rode it! Okay, to be fair, I only rode it part of the way before I had to turn back, because after all, I am a gigantic chicken when it comes to anything stupidly death-defying. Who in their right mind rides a bike on a wire over nothing but some science attractions to break their fall? But if you know me, and my level of chickenness, the fact that I tried at all is fairly impressive. This picture that Brad took doesn't show how far up the wire is, but it's two stories.
This is how many Zacks there are when he is whining in the car, or late at night in a hotel room when everyone else is sleeping.
Afterwards, we went into Old Town for some dinner. Most of the shops were closed, so we'll have to go back there, but Brad loved the area so he's excited to go back. We ended up eating at the Quesadilla Grill, which served overpriced but tasty gourmet quesadillas. It won't be around too long, in my opinion. The place was dead - it was just us for a long time, then one other couple came in. A group of people showed up and then left when they realized that the place doesn't have a liquor license. There's an issue that doesn't seem to plague Orem restaurants! But the kids seemed to like it, and since the hotel serves breakfast AND dinner during the week, it's okay to splurge on the weekend. (I have to keep telling myself that, so the cheapskate in me doesn't hyperventilate. It's hard taking my inner cheapskate on vacation, I'll tell you that much.)
I'm trying out a new theory on this trip - play it by ear. I did our Europe trip as scheduled as I could get it, and I didn't have a single minute to do much more than check out Albuquerque on tripadvisor.com before we left for this trip. It's about as radical a change as I could make, but so far I'm enjoying it. There's not a ton of pressure to see certain things, and it's not a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so it's okay to take it slower. We'll see how I do - I'm not known as a laid-back traveler. But maybe I'll surprise myself. Hey, I rode a high-wire bike today, I know I'll surprise myself!