Saturday, October 04, 2008


Opening Day of the 37Th Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta......

Saturday morning I got up at 5:10 AM, after being awake for an hour or so. The News helicopters started flying around at 4:30AM, and generators started coming on at 5:00AM. I caught the shuttle bus at 6:00AM, entered the Balloon Fiesta Grounds and found square S-4 on the launch field, where my WIN friends Mary and Jack were crewing for the Phoenix. I found them, watched the crew unload the Balloon components, took lots of pictures, then I was asked if I'd like join the chase crew. I said, "Sure!!" So, after the Phoenix took flight, 5 of us loaded up into the pickup truck, and tried to anticipate where the Phoenix was heading. Approximately 250 Balloons were heading north at that time, but the direction of travel is always subject to change. And there were approximately another 250 Balloons behind us in various stages of launch and flight.

We drove around trying to keep an eye on our Balloon for about 45 minutes. We ended up in a fairly new residential area where Art, the pilot, expertly landed the Phoenix between a house and a side street. Several other Balloons were landing in the general area. Some ended up in fields of tumbleweeds, and I'm sure a few ended up in a nearby Casino parking lot. Unfortunately I experienced a camera malfunction (full card) before we left the field. So, I missed lots of good shots. But, I will have another opportunity for more pictures since I'll be crewing for the same folks again. A storm is supposed to be come in this afternoon, so I'm not sure what to expect in the next few days.

6:00AM on the Shuttle Bus

Looking south towards the Balloon Museum

The crew of the Phoenix, in the dark

Waiting for the right time to start inflating, then for the signal to take-off.


At 7:52 PM, Blogger Diana said...

You were pretty lucky with the weather, I guess. It was raining here. Great shots!

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Barbara and Ron said...

You did get lots of good shots! I'll look forward to seeing the landing shots. Hopefully you'll get a ride out of this too. Say 'Hi' to Mary and Jack.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Sarah Shew said...

These are great pictures. Such beautiful colors!


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