Failure to Launch and then finally launch


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North America » United States » New Mexico
September 22nd 2013
Published: September 28th 2013
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Saturday September 21 – It was brisk at White Sands National Monument. I drove out from Alamagordo to check out the balloon Invitational but the line going in was 2 to 3 miles and creeping along stop and go and so was too long for me so I went around them in the other lane. A policeman stopped me to make sure I was indeed going through and not going to go to the start of the line and try to cut over. I told him I was going through and I did so and then after getting past the entry I turned around and parked on the side of the highway on the other side to watch. While waiting I let down the tailgate of my truck and fixed up a breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches with a banana, and an orange.

While waiting a man in the truck next to me came over and started up a conversation which somehow evolved after a bit into his right to bear arms. He told me how when he entered the nearby airbase to visit his son and they asked him if he had any guns in his truck he replied honestly that yes he legally did, he had some pistols and a sniper rifle with ammo!!! For some ridiculous reason they searched his truck and questioned him a bit??? Imagine that!!??

But back to the balloon fest. - The process of entry was slowed down to a parking lot pace by the Park Service stopping each and every car and collecting their $3.00 entry fee. I knew there was no way I was going to get caught up in that bumper to bumper traffic.

It's just as well I stayed outside as I saw cars coming back out around 9AM and found out the balloon launch was called off account high winds. That is the unfortunate thing about these balloon launches. They are subject to the caprices of the weather.

After the aborted balloon launch I came back into Alamogordo to the MacDonalds and got on the internet for a bit. Then I headed out to the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park a bit south of town. It is at the base of Dog Canyon which is one of the canyons that the Apaches used as a natural fortress to keep the US army at bay. I can see from looking at it that if they were up there I believe I would have left them alone. Of course soldiers don’t have that option. They have to follow orders.

I did notice that the road that goes up to the park is BLM land with some unimproved roads going out in them. That meant that if someone wanted to boondock in this desert they could do so for free. I wouldn’t recommend it in summer as it would surely be roasting hot. Other parts of the year it might not be bad. There was a sign which said the BLM land was closed to hunting and shooting but open to camping and hiking. I'm glad to hear that. I don't particularly relish being shot dead by a stray bullet.

The Oliver Lee Memorial State Park , http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/oliverleestatepark.html , had some campsites and I think it would be a great place to camp when the weather is a little more moderate and not so hot. They had sites without electric for $10 and with electric for $14. Some of the sites had an awesome view of the Chihuahuan desert to the west and the Sacramento Mountains to the East as well as Dog Canyon. I would have certainly stayed there if it had not been so hot.



Saturday Sept 22 - I got up early and drove to the balloon fest. As I was one of the first to arrive I parked in a good spot before the attendants started directing traffic and making everyone go to the end of the field. I can’t blame some of the people who ignored the attendants and tried to park closer to the event. To my mind that is the point of arriving early, to get a good spot.

The weather was perfect and the balloons launched. So that was a good deal. Their was a festive atmosphere as they launched and it was quite and impressive sight. They launched 57 balloons and that was quite a bit but the one in Albuquerque in a couple of weeks will dwarf it at 700 balloons. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with that launch.

After watching the launch I headed back up the mountain to Cloudcroft, stopping and checking out the view from the overlook just west of the tunnel. When I got to Cloudcroft I went to Big Daddy's BBQ and had some of the best BBQ this side of Texas. It was delicious.

Then I eased back to the campground for another "brisk" night on the mountain.


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30th September 2013

Up up and away
Lovely and colourful ... that has brightened up a grey day here in the UK. I assume from what you said that you do not carry guns and ammo !! I know it's a big debate there in US - I must admit I cannot see how the "gun lobby" can maintain its stance after all the terrible shootings there have been. (Hope that remark doesn't offend.) 2 weeks today I will be back in the US - this time in Boston. Cheers Lynne
2nd October 2013

colorful in New Mexico
The balloon fest in Alamogordo was nice with 57 balloons launching on the second day. The one in Albuquerque dwarfs it at 700 balloons. I am looking at going there the second week in October. I am thankful that I have always been able to think for myself and not accept other peoples opinion of what I should believe. While I don't challenge other people's right to carry guns I do believe that reasonable and intelligent controls should be in effect. It is more trouble for a nut case to buy spray paint than a gun. And I don't accept that allowing the gunning down of innocent schoolchildren and the determined fight to allow nut cases the free access to the weapons to do it as acceptable. While I do have a couple of guns in my place in Texas it is more a result of them being given to me by others who were concerned for my safety than me buying them. As far as travelling with a gun in the US that would be stupidity. A gun will get you in more trouble than it would get you out of. If I ever used one even if I was totally within my rights I would be arrested and held, charges probably filed, and great expense including lawyers, bail, probation cost etc. etc. incurred. Better to bear the expense of a few bucks or some of my property being stolen than the thousands of dollars expense of defending myself in court or the indignity of arrest and body searches etc. even if I am totally within my "rights". Even lawyers don't know all the laws in this country and police and DA's can be very creative in coming up with charges to file. Bottom line is it is stupid to carry a gun. But enough of this. Your picture shows you are a non member. Do you have a blog? I have had other people's picture show them as a non member when in fact they did have a blog on travelblog. Enjoy your time in Boston. I haven't been there but have heard it is a fascinating city, and from there you could take side trips via train to other cities such as New York or Washington, DC.
2nd October 2013

Balloons and things
Hi William I don't know why the last comment showed me as non member as you already follow my blog nickname Mumtraveller !! Thanks for the comments and info about guns . Enjoy the rest of your trip Cheers Lynne
2nd October 2013

I thought it was you.
Yes. I thought it was you and wondered why it showed you as a non member as well. It just says Lynn Non Member. Cheers....Hope you are having a good time in Spain.

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