Roger & Lari’s Trip to Phoenix/Alburquerque   Leave a comment

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Rog & Lari’s Trip to AZ & NM

“Hawaiians in Phoenix, AZ and Albuquerque, NM”

October 1 to 11, 2009

      Again, as with our last trip, finding a cheap airfare made this trip possible. It was a $350 RT to Phoenix and upon checking that a drive to Albqq was feasible, I booked it, since we’d never been to Phoenix (we’ve been to Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona) and although we’ve been to New Mexico from Taos to Carlsbad, we had never seen the Balloon Fiesta.

We stayed with our cousin Greg Harada’s family in Mesa, AZ while we did some touring around the Phoenix area. We visited Taliesin West, where Frank Lloyd Wright has an architecture school, Scottsdale artwalk, Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Phoenix Art Museum. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and concert at the Desert Botanical Garden with Greg and Diane.

We were lucky enough to attend a UH Wahine Volleyball game in Las Cruces, NM where the Wahine won 3 out of 4 sets at the NM State Lady Aggie’s home court in the Pan American Center. We met my cousin Glenn and his wife Teri for dinner, went to the game with them, and stayed at their home in Hatch, NM, not very far from Las Cruces.

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta was our main purpose for going and it was just fabulous! We volunteered to be on a chase crew for the Little Bees and helped with Lilly the girl bee balloon. We met the owner, Bob and his wife Devonne and the other crew members. We got to help and hang out with them afterwards for food and drink.

It was so much fun to actually be involved on a team instead of just a spectator. The events are early in the morning for the balloons to fly and some evenings, they schedule a “Glow” when the balloons are blown up, but stay tethered to the ground and are lit up, then followed by a fireworks show to end the evening’s festivities. Just seeing hundreds of colorful balloons going up and flying with the wind was a sight to behold.

Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM

Roger very patiently allowed me to visit 2 hot springs spa pools even though he doesn’t like them. The first one was Riverbend Hotsprings in Truth or Consequences, NM between Las Cruces and Albqq. It’s a lovely place with 5 pools overlooking the river for just $10 an hour. The other one was north of Albqq in Jemez Springs, NM. We had to drive about an hour out of town, but it was a lovely drive. Jemez Springs costs $17 per hour for their lovely outdoor hot spring pool. Roger does not like to be hot…no saunas, steam rooms, or hot springs for him. So I really appreciated him waiting for me while I enjoyed the hot springs pools. What a guy!

In Albqq, we went on the tram to the top of Sandia Peak to enjoy the view from the top of the ski mountain. We drove a little outside of town to Tinkertown, an amazing little museum filled with 40 years of carvings by Ross Ward. We also explored downtown and Old Town Albqq. We did our sightseeing and shopping in Albqq on days that the balloon fiesta activities were cancelled due to weather conditions.

We enjoyed excellent Mexican food. The breakfast burritos at the Balloon Fiesta were delicious in the cold, dark early mornings. We liked the breakfast at The Frontier, right across the U of NM campus on Central Avenue. It’s a huge and popular place not only for students, but for others of us who like good food at great prices. On our last evening in Phoenix before flying home, Erik’s (our son-in-law) Aunt Amy and Uncle Harry took us to dinner at Rawhide Steakhouse. It was a fun trying rattlesnake for the first time, and their steaks were superb!

Roger’s Top Six:

6.          On our last night, we met Yvette’s mother-in-law’s sister, Amy and hubby Harry, who took us to eat rattlesnake pupu and one of the best prime rib dinners I’ve ever had at Rawhide Steakhouse. After eating so much Mexican food, this meal was the onoest!

5.         The drive between Arizona and New Mexico had terrain I have not seen the likes of. Mostly desert with a lot of cactus and plenty colorful mountains.

4.         Getting reacquainted with Lari’s cousin Greg Harada and family in Phoenix, whom we enjoyed a concert at their Desert Botanical Garden. And Lari’s cousin, Glenn and Teri Katahara, whom we also stayed with and went to see the Rainbow Wahine beat NM State Aggies in Las Cruces.

3.         The crew we worked with were really nice people; most of them have been doing this for over 20 years and they treated us like their ohana. We’d party after each day and suck um up too. Somehow Lari enjoyed this a 1,000,000 times more than me.

2.         We volunteered to jointhe chase crew for the girl bee balloon named Lily. We helped unfold and blow up the balloon (EZ). Then when the balloon took off, we followed it in their van and helped it land, and the bust butt time is to deflate the balloon and pack it in a bag.

1.         Albqq Balloon Fiesta: bees, frogs, skunk, ladybug, cow, pigs, jackolantern, locomotive, space ship, house, Darth Vader, Noah’s Ark, and a hundred different shaped balloons. Plus about 400 regular shapes in different colors and patterns in the air over your head at the same time was like a fairy tale you see in movies, TV and magazines. AMAZING SIGHT!

Lari’s Top Five:

5.         Taliesin West by Frank Llyod Wright

4.         Tinkertown Museum

3.         Visiting cousins Greg and Glenn

2.         Soaking in hot springs pools

1.         Balloon Fiesta… and being a volunteer crew member

Watch slideshow for all the photos from this trip:

Posted October 1, 2009 by lariyasui in USA

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