Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Hot Air Balloon Champagne Ride

June 20, 2010

While in Albuquerque, we had the opportunity to go on a hot air balloon.  Albuquerque is known for it’s HUGE hot air balloon festival and is the mecca of ballooning in the United States.  Knowing this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, we welcomed the chance with open arms and eagerly awaited Saturday morning to set off to the skies.

We awoke around 5:45 A.M. to be ready for a 6:45 departure. In the hot summer months, ballooning must be done before it gets too hot.  The weather was perfect and barely any wind, perfect ballooning conditions.

Ty and Travis on the way to the departure site with the family.

We made our way to the departure area and worked with the crew to set the hot air balloon up.  Even though we were the only four going up (not including our pilot), there was a large support team out there helping set everything up and to chase the balloon.

The Pink Pedal with our pilot Elaine on the balloon.

Ty and Travis were the first to set off to the sky and left the ground to a cheering crowd of the balloon crew and Pink Pedal supporters.

Ty and Travis about to set off.

And we’re off…

After a half hour ride, we set down in a small commercial plaza and after getting out of the basket we couldn’t stop smiling.  It was truly an amazing experience.  Next it was John and Nick’s turn.  

Nick and John in the skies above Albuquerque.

The view from above

Sharing the skies!

After what only seemed liked a few moments, they were back on the ground and our ballooning adventure was over.  All that was left was to pack up the balloon.

The crew squeezing and packing the balloon up.

Folding it into the bag.

The Pink Pedal compresses the balloon for a snug fit.

After the ride and packing up, the group went to a nice park near Rio Ranchero and had a breakfast.  Here we were officially sworn in as honorary members of the balloon crew.  Now, they don’t call it a “Champagne Ride” for nothing.  Our great pilot pulled out a bottle of Champagne to celebrate our first ever hot air balloon ride.  We thought you are supposed to drink it to celebrate…

First we had to try and catch the cork

Then we were told to drink from the cup with no hands as tradition states!

THEN THIS…Our first ride, our champagne ride!

The crew soaked us with champagne to our surprise and we officially became members of the I am Banana’s II hot air balloon crew with balloon pins to show it!

Travis receiving a congratulatory hug.

Nick receiving his pin.

Expect videos from the balloon soon!

New Mexico has amazing sunsets.


Albuquerque, New Mexico

June 19, 2010

The short ride from Moriarty to Albuquerque turned out to be a little more difficult than expected. The first half was plagued with probably the worst head wind we’ve experienced yet. Despite the rough start we managed to make up time on the descent into Albuquerque.  About 3 miles away from Lisa Hornberger Edmonds’ and Amy Hornberger Susan’s neighborhood we were surprised by a motorcycle escort from a kind friend of theirs, who at the time was sporting a Pink Pedal shirt.

The excitement was high as we came closer, nearing the house we came across some cheering fans.

Upon our arrival.

Great support from Albuquerque, we can’t thank you all enough for everything you’re doing for us.

Shortly after our arrival we had to hop in the car to get downtown where we were set to meet the mayor. Although our time with him was short, it was great to see the city was beyond us all the way up to the mayor. While with the mayor we received personal congratulatory letters and pins from the city.

Travis introducing himself to Mayor Richard Berry

The Pink Pedal posing with the mayor.

After meeting the mayor our weekend of relaxation hit full force.  We enjoyed a beautiful day with Lisa, Amy and their friends and family filled with LOTS of food and an amazing pool.  At the end of the day we retired to the much needed beds that we were provided, they were just a tad more comfortable than sleeping four in our support van as we did the previous 2 nights.

Friday morning we woke up bright and early to support our nations soccer team, only to watch the refs take the winning goal away from them. Thanks to England’s poor performance in the following game, we are still alive in the world cup. GO USA!

Following the game we made our way back to the pool for the day. Oh how good it was. Now that we had a chance to even those biker tans out, we were ready to experience the sites, sounds, and tastes of Albuquerque.

Great photo op with a local mariachi band.

With Lisa and Amy in Old Town Albuquerque.

Ty and his #1 fan Julia.

Hanging out with Julia and Ryan. Someday they’ll be riding across the country just like us.

It was a great start to our stay here in Albuquerque with much more to come. Saturday morning we’ll be going up in a hot air balloon and in the afternoon we’ll be recording a story with Albuquerque’s ABC network to air on the Saturday evening news. Check back for more updates…

New Mexico

June 17, 2010

The Pink Pedal has been through Oklahoma and Texas in the last few days and now we are in beautiful, but desolate, New Mexico.  It is a welcomed change in landscape from the grazing-land and farms of the midwest.  Signs of civilization here are few and far between, which means finding any internet at all can be a chore (it can be nearly impossible to find a GOOD connection).

Route 66 is a shell of its former self.  Every other building we see is abandoned.   I can only wonder what it looked like in its heyday.  The surroundings here have been weathered by wind and time in what can even seem like artwork from god.  At one point John forgot he left his boat shoes on the roof of the van and realized 30 minutes later.  He found his shoes flat as pancakes on historic Route 66 and is actually wearing them right now!

We spent our first night in New Mexico camped out at a truck stop.  John and Travis slept under the New Mexico stars, while Ty and Nick slept in the van.  At the worst time possible, 3:48 A.M. to be exact, the sprinkler systems turned on and chaos ensued. Travis and John were soaked with what they thought was rain. Only to realize it wasn’t, but not before they had ran for cover. With no other choice they had to put their cots in the middle of the parking lot.  At about 7 a.m. security woke John and Travis from their sleep to inform them they don’t allow people to sleep on cots in the middle of the parking lot.  At this point it didn’t much matter, we already got our decent nights sleep.  Thanks to our early wake up we were able to cook up some breakfast in the parking lot. We enjoyed a meal of pancakes with syrup and water to drink.  Life on the road can sure be luxurious!  John even snuck into a hotel’s spa for some much needed rest and relaxation.

At the end of riding that day, we arrived in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and found a local swimming hole.   After riding through the desert all day a quick swimming session was just what we needed and counted as our bath for the day.

We even came across a fellow Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania resident traveling west like us (but by car of course) and another cross country bike rider.

Yesterday we battled a strong headwind for much of the day, but at the end of the day we were averaging over 24 miles per hour with a very strong tailwind that helped us end our day strong.  Today, we will be arriving in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the largest city in the state!  Hopefully we can do some fundraising here and get in touch with some of the local media.