Thomas had a conference that he needed to attend for work. This is an annual conference that he will need to be present at so that he can get his continuing education units. Last year it was in Minnesota but I did not go with him. Instead, I was home with the boys, painting a bathroom to help pass the time. This time, however, it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I went with him, sans kiddos, just like I did for his business trip to Hawaii.
He was occupied each day from about 8 to 5. This meant I had pretty much all day to myself, which is so abnormal yet very splendid. We did not have a rental car except for one day, so I had to manage journeying by trains, taxis, shuttle services, feet, and things of the like. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity in connecting some form of the above, I was able to do and see many things.
In case you did not know, (because we didn’t until right before we went) Albuquerque is the home to a world renown balloon festival that just happened to be occurring while we were there. Literally hundreds of balloons mass ascend each morning and float in the sky all day long. They even have balloon glows at night, which we attended once. We did not get to see any balloons though because the winds were too high for flight. It was quite disappointing, but fortunately we were able to see them in other ways.
One way I was able to see more of the Ballon Fiesta was while on a 3 hour kayak trip down the Rio Grande at sunrise. Balloons floated over our heads all morning long, and the view was simply spectacular. I somehow managed to be on a media trip, so all of these journalists were asking me, the one tourist, to pose for pictures. I was certainly not the best looking subject, being that the Sandia mountains were clearly in view and balloons were all around but I was the only human option they had, so I guess I would have to work :O)I also took a tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains, while enjoying discussions with strangers, good fun, and spectacular views.
Together we visited Old Town Albuquerque, became captivated by The Cathedral Basicillica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, traveled the scenic Turquoise Trail, visited an old mining community, met one of my old basketball friends from high school, enjoyed company with my cousin, devoured wonderful, authentic New Mexican food, journeyed historic Route 66, experienced our first casino (while walking away with over $140 dollars that we did not enter with), and basically just soaked up quiet time together.
For Thomas it was mostly work with a little play but for me it was all play! I am so grateful for the ability to go, not to mention the amazing mother and in-laws that took care of our precious children. Without them, it might have been another year of me painting at home. Thanks Grandma, Nana, and Grandpa Tom :O)