Great Reno Balloon Race

I attended the Great Reno Balloon Race this year.

My friend and I drove up to Reno from Sacramento, leaving my area around 12:20 AM. We arrived in Reno around 2:30 AM and stopped to get something to eat. Well, mostly we sat in the drive-thru for 15-20 minutes because the line was backed up! As soon as the person behind us backed out of the drive-thru, we followed suit. We went into the restaurant and found out that the line inside was almost as long! Turns out they had a few workers call in “sick” and were very short-handed.

The lady taking orders was pretty funny. I wish I could remember her name. She managed to stay calm amidst the craziness of the rush and short-handedness. She deserves a raise! The girl in front of us in line, Laura, was a bit too anxious to get her food. At one point, while Laura was waiting to have her order taken an employee called out “Chad” to have him pick up his order. He apparently didn’t hear his name being called… multiple times. Finally, Laura yelled out, “Chad!” to which Chad came running. Laura then told Chad he was “killing” her.

Every time the employees called out someone else’s name Laura would get up, walk over and say, “Laura?” or “Did you say Laura?” to which the employee would reply with something funny like, “You need to calm down!”

Bless Laura’s heart. She was probably as starving as I was!

Finally we got our food and headed over to the LDS Institute of Religion where we were meeting up with our friends before the event. Most of us decided to drive over to an LDS building that was closer to walk from there.

We walked over to Rancho San Rafael Park, where the event is held each year. It was about a 12 minute walk or so, sort of uphill, which is good because I hadn’t walked on the treadmill the previous day.

The park was massive! There was a lake, a pretty white gazebo, tons of vendor tents, and lots of goodies. And then there were the people…

There were thousands of them! Everywhere!

It was so cool to see these massive balloons up close as they lit up the dark morning sky for the “glow show” before the Dawn Patrol began.

The balloons were as vibrant as any flower you would see in the wild and some were even in cool shapes of characters such as Smokey the Bear, Yoda, and Darth Vader.

Speaking of Darth Vader, this is what the official website’s Stand-Out Moment section says, “2011: The Darth Vader balloon made his first appearance to the event. The balloon gave way to Star Wars themed activities and contests and also brought in an entourage of Storm Troopers and included Darth himself!”

Too funny!

And then there was this guy, which I sent a picture of to my dad.


My dad loves Elvis.

But anyway, if you’re looking for a fun, family friendly event to just hang out and relax at then check out the Great Reno Balloon Race next year! Or, if you don’t have kids, bring your partner and watch the beautiful sunrise shine over the mountains.


Accommodations booked!

I don’t drink alcohol but I just rented a house in Haro, La Rioja, Spain so that I can attend La Batalla del Vino (the wine fight). I know, strange, right?

Who wouldn’t want to go to a festival where they waste wine? They literally waste wine! Every year, on June 29, they fill up buckets, super soaker water guns and anything else that will hold wine and then they run around battling each other with it. Sounds like fun to me!

The requirement is that you have to wear white clothes and a red bandana. Or at least a white shirt. Another requirement is that if you see anyone who still has white on their clothing, you MUST remedy it immediately.

I’m thinking about wearing all white, including my shoes.

Obviously my accommodations are for June 2016 since I only learned of this battle two weeks ago. I was debating on whether I should stay at a hostel or rent a hotel. Turns out there aren’t any hostels in Haro (that I know of) and I hadn’t even begun to look at hotels when I discovered Airbnb.

Airbnb is a website that allows people to rent a house for any given amount of time. There are also rooms to rent in case you don’t feel like renting an entire house. I chose to only rent a house for 2 days since I want to see Valencia and Madrid while I’m in Spain. The total for the accommodations came out to $151 (divide that by 4 people and it’s $38 per person total), but then I clicked the “book” button and saw that I got $25 off and remembered that I was given the $25 for signing up on the site. That brought the total down to $126 (or $31 per person). How cool is that?!?

I’m super excited about it. Although, now I have to wait a year!

I decided to book early because I read that accommodations fill up early and it can be difficult to find a place if you wait too long.

So who’s in? Let’s do this thing!

By the way, if you don’t already have an Airbnb account, sign up! It’s free and you’ll get $25 off your first accommodation. It’s an awesome deal!

Want to learn more about La Batalla del Vino? Check out this site.

I hope to see you there.