Like paper lanterns rising to the heavens in the Far East, the radiant balloons twinkled in unison during the Dawn Patrol that was to precede the Great Reno Balloon Races. Only seven balloons – those which were qualified to fly in the dark – participated. The flying conditions at night can be dangerous since atmospheric conditions can change quickly once the sun rises over the hot Nevada desert.
As music played in the background, the sky changed from jet black, to midnight blue to steel grey, with a hint of gold. Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented the 80 or so balloons from ascending together after the sun had risen. Though we were disappointed, the beautiful Dawn Patrol event made our 0400 wake-up so worthwhile!
Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene.
A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Though they are currently nomadic, they look forward to establishing a European home someday.
Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.
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