Thursday, October 04, 2007

Albuquerque Balloonfiesta

We arrived in ABQ on Monday 10/1 and stayed 2 nights at the Elk's Lodge at Rio Rancho. We moved on to the fiesta grounds rv parking. Got a prime spot with our windshield looking out on the competition field.

On Friday, Bob and I drove the Turquoise Trail to see the town of Madrid were the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed. We also drove the Sandia Crest to overlook ABQ. It was fogged in when we got there, so we sat at a table until the fog lifted. We were able to see the balloon field and where our rv was parked. The fiesta field is the big green area at middle right and the rv parking is the brown field middle left.

Saturday was the first day and it was great. Our chase vehicle is a motorhome.

The Strawberry is our Balloon.

The referee looking people are "Zebras" and they tell us when to inflate and launch.

Bob got to go up with Denni and D.R. (Denni's father) and I chased. We logged more miles than the balloon did. All the roads were blocked and traffic was horrendous. It was about 1/2 hour before we got to them after they landed. The other couple crewing couldn't find us at launch time but they spotted them and held them down until we got there. The evening glo was cancelled when we had 30+ mph winds.
These are only a small part of the 850 balloons registered this year.

Sunday was colder but we got up the balloon. Bob drove and I navigated the chase motorhome. After we got done Denni, DR, Bob and I went to the Mule Barn for breakfast. Then drove us back to our rv. DR wants to join us on the road and Denni was envious of our home. In the evening we had our first balloon glo of the year. It was windy so 4 of us were in the balloon basket and Bob and DR struggled on the crown line. We were bounced around pretty good.

Monday wasn't a good day for ballooning. It became windy again and we struggled to keep the cold inflated balloon on the ground before Denni aborted and we packed it up. It was then when we heard a balloon crashed into power lines and a women was tipped out of the basket and was killed. Got many phone calls from friends and family to be sure it wasn't Donna.

Tuesday we went off field at the Indian Reservation to launch. Denni was in competition and flew over the field for a Texas Holdum. He tried to find the box and go back over the field but after about an hour he landed. When we got to him another balloon crew had helped him and they gave us a bottle of champagne. Back at our mh the six of us had a taste of the bubbly. Got to rest the balance of the day.
Dan, DR and Brenda the rest of our crew.

Wednesday and Thursday were both competition days and Denni went up alone and the rest of us chased. Wednesday night we were treated to a dinner dance at the Marriott and Thursday morning to brunch at the Sandia Casino. Bob and I were lucky winning a little in the nickle slots and also at the drawings. The glo Thursday evening went perfect and the after glo fireworks are also great.

Friday morning was perfect launching weather and Donna got to fly. We came over the field right above the motorhome (on the right) next to the chase vehicle and we took pictures of each other. Denni was right on target for the competition too.

Saturday was a perfect day for flying also. Brenda and Dan both got to fly and it was there 7th Anniversary. Bob and I went to the balloon museum and then to the midway. The awards lunch was held and Denni came in 2nd place in the Special Shapes competion. He left right after for CA for home, so we are free to observe from now on. This evening we are going to the Elk's lodge for the Octoberfest and tomorrow we will leave ABQ after the mass ascension.


roamingbarbara said...

Wow! That is soooo cool! I'm jealous. I always wanted to do that, but I guess not enough to get up that early all week. It sounds like you even had good weather this year. Great pictures.

sally said...

Great pictures Donna!!