Thursday, October 17, 2013

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Part II

The forecast for Thursday was shaky so Mike sent a message that he was not going to the field so we got to sleep in.  Hooray!!!!  A few balloons inflated but no one flew that morning and we got to sleep in to 8AM instead of getting up a 5AM.  As you can see from the picture below it was a good decision.  Once again there are too many pictures for one post so I did another web album that you can link to here.
Left is what we normally see out our window and right was what blew in late Thursday morning.   Right call Mike.
In the last post I wrote about the launching of 550 balloons.  The zebras are the launch coordinators who make sure everything goes off as planned.  As you can see they also bring a light side to this important job.
Mike was done doing glows so we got to roam the field and see many other balloons.  They light up the whole crowd with their burners.
The bright shining sun.
The glows draw some of the biggest crowds of the fiesta. 
Glowing udder. Go Figure!!!
They are all beautiful.
The launch on Friday was one of the most spectacular we have seen.  The wind was very calm so a couple hundred balloons were just hanging above the field.
The same launch from the back of the chase vehicle.
Sunday's final dawn patrol gets ready to fly.
We had a small chase crew and everyone who wanted to had already flown. So Nanc, whose first flight was real short, got to go up again.  In the middle is Mike's Morning Star, top is a smiling Nanc getting ready to fly and a selfie in flight.  The winds picked up after the launch and they traveled about fifteen miles before they made what balloonists call a "hard" landing.  Bottom, Mike is cleaning dirt out of the basket that they plowed up while cutting a 230 foot path through the desert (right).  Mike said it was the worst wind he had ever landed in.  By the time the chase crew found them they were very dusty, but smiling again.  It was a great ride with a wild and crazy landing!!   
Pictures from that flight with balloons all around Morning Star.
The Bees on the launch field are a real crowd favorite.
Looking down at all the chase vehicles.
Father and son, Mike's Morning Star and his son Chris' Foreplay.
Floating over the Rio Grande.
This is the kind of desert they landed on.
Balloonists take care of each other.  Mike spotted this balloonist who was stuck in an arroyo after retrieving his balloon.  We had to drop the trailer and go pull them out.  I'm sure they will pass it on when they see someone in need. 
The other thing we love about ballooning is the post flight tailgating.  Much food and fun.
Our crew and pilot.  Bob, Mike, T, Luke, Judy, Nanc, Jim and Lois.  It was a great week with a great bunch of people.
The week ended on a really high note for the Liberti family when it was announced that Daniel and his balloon Morning Wood had won first place in the three day competition. We crewed for Daniel at our first fiesta.  The cash prize was large enough that Daniel will be able to buy a new racer balloon.  GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to Mike for a great week.  The balloon fiesta will be something we will do anytime we are spending the winter out West.  IT'S A REAL GAS!!!!!

1 comment:

John and Pam ( said...

What a great experience to actually work with one of the balloonist! Sounds like a fun time (except the early starts).

One day we must make sure that we are going that way to witness these beautiful balloons. I love the night glows:)