This week was rather dull, but what an adventure I had this weekend! Aside from the devastating fact that the Yankees lost in Game 5, not much else is worth nothing about the actual week itself. Work was good. I played around with some awesome drawing changes and all that fun stuff. OH! And we went to a Greek Festival! That was pretty awesome. Then Friday, I decided I was going to try to go to Albuquerque. What’s in Albuquerque, you ask? A Balloon Fiesta! Apparently the largest hot air balloon festival in the country. And on the list of 1000 Things to See Before You Die. Which is how I found out about it during the week. And a lucky thing too because it’s only the first two weeks of October! I figured that was a sign that I should definitely go. So I put myself on the standby list for a 5:30 flight, got a ride from a co-worker to the airport, and waited.
The flight I wanted had 2 seats open when I had left work. It was overbooked the night before, so I was thinking it was progress, but when I got to the airport, I realized my hope was pointless. There were way too many people trying to get to ABQ! I waited by the gate regardless and discovered they still had revenue passengers that were on standby who did not get on the flight. Boo. I checked with the gate agent about the next flight’s list, chatted with some other non rev passengers who had been there since 9AM, and then headed to the next gate with them. While we waited for the next flight, we talked about the Balloon Fiesta. Two of the women I was speaking with had gone every year and two of them had never been there. It was exciting! I had had my doubts about going alone this weekend. If I couldn’t get there, I wasn’t going to be too upset, I figured. I was tempted to just get on a plane to go home, but after speaking with them, I was really hoping I could get on the flight.
Somehow, we ALL managed to get seats on the aircraft. We were going to Albuquerque! The flight was a bit turbulent, but went by pretty quickly. I was happy I had my kindle back after it had been stolen in New Zealand and then returned! Once we got there, I hoped I could rent a car, but being the age I am made it a bit difficult. All the companies who would let me rent a car said they didn’t have anymore. Luckily, the people I had met earlier in Houston were still at the rental area, so they offered me a ride to the hotel they were staying at so I could at least get a room for the night and go from there. I reluctantly took advantage of the offer as I had no clue what I was supposed to do from there. Once we got to the hotel, however, I reached another problem. Not only was that hotel overbooked, but ALL the hotels in Albuquerque were booked. See what you get for not confirming any plans?
Frustrated, and starting to panic a little, I tried calling a few places to see if there was anything they could do. After that failed, I went online with the hotel’s computers to see how “overbooked” a certain car company was. Somehow, I was able to make a reservation with on problems. There was a driver who was responsible for getting guests to the airport, so I hopped over to the rental place again with him and then made my way to the reservation desk. I got a car with no problems and didn’t mind making the guy who initially told me they had no cars feel a bit guilty. I settled into the car and tried to figure out where to go from there. There were no rooms available. I resolved to the fact that I was going to have to sleep in the car again, but it was COLD in New Mexico! I had no clue it could be in the 40’s there especially this time of year! As I left the parking lot, I asked the gate keeper if there was a Wal-mart anywhere nearby. Luckily, there was, so I made my way over there.
I bought a blanket and some food and then found myself some dinner before returning to the parking lot of Wal-mart to settle in for the evening. Not that there was all that much more to it! It was already midnight by the time I finished eating and tried to fall asleep. And I was planning on getting up at 4ish so I could see the balloons! I was finishing up a conversation with my parents when a security guard of the parking lot came up to the window of my car. He was actually really nice and told me I could stay in the parking lot, but I had to move my car to the other side. When I got over there, there were about thirty other cars and RVs with people trying to sleep in them! Go figure! I quickly fell asleep after that and was rudely awakened a few hours later by my alarm clock.
I drove to a Park and Ride and hopped on a school bus to get to the festival. So cool! I was so excited! Once there, I meandered about, nearly had a heart attack when I learned the price for a hot air balloon ride was almost $400, met a pilot, and then talked to him and his crew until they started filling up the balloons! Such a sight to behold! Amazingness! Not to mention the fire was extremely nice to feel as it was FREEZING! Once the sun started rising, you could see the Sandias and all the other balloons. It had been really windy so a lot of them hadn’t launched before the sun came up, but now they were starting to fill them up. It was so neat!
I ventured around the shops and whatnot being extremely excited that pins were a big collectible item there. Yes, pins. As in the ones I collect from everywhere I go. Apparently they trade them and everything there too! 🙂 A bit later, the balloons started to launch in multitudes. Like, hundreds of balloons were going up! SO COOL!! I admired the sight for quite sometime before hopping back on the bus to my car.
I passed out on the bus, but became re-energized once I got back to the vehicle and I started driving around Albuquerque. The place is actually really awesome! I was impressed. I drove around the Sandias and down Route 66 before heading back to the airport to go back to Houston. The flight I had wanted to get on for Sunday morning randomly filled up by a ridiculous amount, so I was hoping to get on the flight Saturday evening. Unfortunately, that had magically filled up an hour before departure and I wasn’t able to get on the plane. I mosied over to the gate for a flight leaving for Denver, however, and managed to get on that one. There was a decent amount of wait time, however, so I did some reading and then was distracted by the Thunderbirds flying by. Yes, the Thunderbirds! How awesome! They were practicing for an airshow. Anyway, needless to be said, I watched them for a while before our plane landed. It was delayed because the Thunderbirds were taking up all the airspace! I got to Denver with no problems, but then I was stuck there for the evening. I was really happy I had that blanket I bought as I found a squishy chair and settled in for the night. I ended up on the floor at one point, but all in all, it was one of the more pleasant airport sleeping experiences.
In the morning, I had no problem getting back to Houston. The week went by pretty quickly. On Tuesday night, a group of us went over to the airport to work on some projects. It was awesome! I got to drive a golf cart from the hangar to some of the planes and then we got to ransack a plane while my roommate did some work. I got some pictures of some of the things I was working on and then enjoyed driving the golf cart around with another roomie to watch planes come in with the sun setting! All in all, an amazing evening. Afterwards, the 777 came in and I needed to look at some things on that, so we headed over there to get some pictures. Along with some not so serious pictures of us standing in the engine, sitting at the open doors, and just enjoying being on a 777. So awesome! Probably the best night I have ever had in Houston. The rest of the week included another airport visit where I actually got to walk out on the ramp and look at some planes. AWESOMENESS!! And some other fun work that was actually pretty important to get done quickly, so that made me feel all special. I love my job. =]
Then last Thursday night, we went back out to the airport to see an engine wash of a 777. Very neat. Except the testing of the engines after the wash went past midnight, which meant we missed the last bus back to downtown. The testing was extremely neat though because we got to sit in the cockpit while they fired them up! 🙂 At the same time as engines being tested, the boyfriend had FINALLY landed in Houston. After much debate and confusion, one of the mechanics drove over to pick up the boyfriend and then we headed downtown for some much needed sleep. Friday we got a flight to Portland, Oregon. The flight was long and I was annoyed I couldn’t sleep on the plane, but once we got to Portland, we got our rental car, checked in to our hotel, and then headed into the town to get some doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts! It was so amazing! Very cool shop although it was definitely the first time I ever had to wait in line for a doughnut! We drove around and the place reminded me of a mix between Queenstown in New Zealand and Toronto in Canada.
Saturday consisted of free breakfast and then hiking in Mt. Hood National Forest.
SO PRETTY! We walked along part of the Oregon Trail as well as the Lewis and Clark Trail before coming across Mirror Lake. On the opposite side of this picture, you could see Mt. Hood, but it was pretty covered in the clouds. We headed through the forest a bit more before finding the National Landmark of Timberline Lodge. We went there and actually went on a tour of the lodge. It is spectacular. It would be amazing to actually stay there during real ski season, but apparently it is always ski season there because they have a glacier that you can ski on further up the mountain. We stopped by the gift shop on the way out of course and then continued on our trek. We stopped by Multnomah Falls, drove along Historic 30, and saw a bunch of other cool looking sights and all like the Columbia River Gorge. SO NEAT!
We tried to get to a point where you could see five mountains from one place, but we got there after it was too dark to see anything unfortunately. We decided to head back to the airport after that so we could catch our red-eye flight back to Houston. Sunday consisted of lots of sleep and relaxing with the roommates. I think it was the first time that all of us went out for dinner and just enjoyed the night as a group.
This week at work was pretty uneventful. I didn’t even make a trip out to the airport! But I did get almost all of the projects I’m working on done and now I’m designing a part, so that is pretty neat. I am super excited for this weekend, as I’m heading off to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday with my family and boyfriend! Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed the update! Sorry it took me a while to update and the end of it kind of cuts a lot of things short!
Thanks for reading fellow bloggers!