Our overnight stay at Ratón, New Mexico brought a surprise the next morning. As we watched the news on TV and read The New York Times online, we noticed people outside our windows gazing at the skies and taking pictures with their cellphones. Cliff stepped out to discover about 15 hot-air balloons filling the skies. It was the annual Santa Fe Trail International Balloon Rally, and we had a front-row seat!
Each year, Ratón plays host to about 15 pilots and their balloons, giving attendees an up-close and personal experience due to small crowds and friendly pilots. The rally begins each morning at sunrise and goes for three days. We happened to be there for the final day.
Many of our Airstream friends have attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, which is certainly amazing to see and on our bucket list. But this little rally gave us a stress-free experience equally as memorable.
We altered our travel plans to include an overnight stay in Amarillo, breaking up the return trip and allowing us a little relaxation on Sunday morning. That brought us into our campsite around 5 pm, leaving more than enough time for a proper cocktail hour before our Saturday supper of grilled chicken, cob corn, and broccolini. We even managed to find time for a romantic late-night walk beneath a crescent moon without the doggies!