Sunday, January 5, 2014

Final Days in Mesa

We have been very busy getting together with friends, exploring a couple of new venues and celebrating the new year, all in the last few days of our stay in Mesa.  We have done so many things that I can't get them all into one blog post so there is more to follow.
On Monday we drove into Phoenix with Allan, Sharon and Rose to see a special exhibit of the work of Georgia O'Keeffe at the Heard Museum.  The Heard has a great collection of American Indian art and culture.  We have been to the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and were happy to see her work that was related to Native American culture.  There were several paintings of katsinas and, of course, her famous Southwestern landscapes.  Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed but here is a link to the event web page
A few of the many Indian sculptures at the Heard.
The museum usually has a demonstration of some native art.  These men were weaving beautiful baskets.  Their finished work is shown above.  Watching them sure gives one an understanding of why these baskets are so expensive.
Just a small look at the displays of baskets, pottery and jewelry.
A few of the many katsinas.  One display had over 400 that had been collected by Barry Goldwater.  It is fascinating how each one is so unique.
Of course there was a huge collection of Native woven rugs.  These were for sale in the gift shop if you could afford them.  There was a sale table where you could purchase a small one for less than $200.
Rose, Sharon and Allan at Haji Babas where we went for lunch.  If you like Mediterranean food this is a must stop.  It is both a restaurant and small grocery store with excellent prices and a great assortment of exotic Middle Eastern foods.  An example of how authentic this place is, there was a box of Persian Yellow Pages written in Farsi. 
We celebrated the arrival of 2014 with our Canadian friends.  We had a progressive party that started with all ten people stopping at our rig for snacks and drinks.  We then walked to two other homes and at midnight we rang in the New Year as we watched the party in Niagara Falls, Ontario rather than Time Square.  A first for us.  
At midnight the old year went out with Father Time and the New Year's Baby rang in 2014.  I sure hope the outlook for the new year looks better than that baby:) 
A New Years Day tradition for some balloonists is to fly in the afternoon on January 1st.  Mike called and asked if we wanted to see Daniel's new balloon and crew for him.  We jumped at the chance and had a great day.  Our first stop was at Bob's where Daniel's new balloon was built.  His shop is full of baskets, envelopes and all the tools and material needed to build and fly balloons.      

Our first look at the new balloon.  Mike and Daniel check out the lines while we hold the throat open as the fan fills the envelope with cold air.  After the top is attached the burners will be fired up to heat the air and raise the balloon.
There were several commercial balloons flying from the same site.  You can really see the difference in size and shape of a balloon built to carry several people and Daniel's racer, Happy Endings, that carries only two.  It sure is a beauty.
Most of our ballooning experiences have been early morning flights but this time we got to watch the sunset.
A whole new chase crew adventure.  Daniel was checking out the maneuverability of the new balloon and with the very calm winds we drove along right beside him for the last part of the flight before he landed.  This was the last time we will balloon with the Libertis until we return to the fiesta in 2015.  Our goal when we went to the 2011 fiesta was to get to fly one time, we never imagined it would lead to a new friendship and getting to fly several times. It has been a wonderful experience.
This is Bob's balloon being flown by his son Aaron on his first solo flight.  This is the second time we got to see someone solo in the last week.
We all got together after the flight for a champagne toast to the new pilot.  The ballooning community is a very unique group of people.  They are like a big family who help and support one another through all aspects ballooning.  We are so thankful that we have had the opportunity to be included in their close knit group.


Bobbie and Jim said...

With all the ballooning you two have done, when are you going to buy a balloon of your own to fly? I'm sure you can find the room to store it somewhere in your rig!!!

Anonymous said...

I have just put ballooning on my "bucket list". -scooter