Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016

 

“Let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.” – Inigo

No, there is too much.  Let me use pictures…

dawn-patrol

First, Dawn Patrol…
wave-of-balloons

Then wave after wave of ethereal color and fantasy take to the skies…

 

 

 

 

 

airabelleAnimals of all kinds…

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And other life forms…

alien

img_0186Hey, some familiar faces!

 

cop-and-robber

Cops chase robbers across the sky…

 

 

 

 

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I thought this fish was adorable

 

 

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But he needs to watch out for this guy!

 

 

pirate

 

“Murdered by pirates is good…” – The Grandson

 

 

balloon-fiesta-2016-dog-on-fezzik

 

 

It looked like this dog decided to take a break and sit on Fezzik!

 

 

 

 

 

front-row-seat

 

One of the best things about this week was how close we were to everything.  The Brute Squad was parked in the VIP West lot; we were less than 50 yards from the entrance to the field.

 

 

close-up

We were able to walk among the balloons as they were laid out, inflated and launched.  We were so close we often felt the heat coming from the burners!

 

 

 

On the first Sunday we met a friendly family who were on a balloon crew and were being kept out in the parking lot due to a closed field.  They had some questions about our rig.  Michael and Michelle (and Michael Jr.) had never seen one with a separate outside garage–instead of the typical garage/bonus room setup.  We opened Fezzik up and gave them a tour.  We liked them instantly and the feeling seemed to be mutual.  I had read about volunteering on a balloon crew and asked if they could use some help.  The next thing I knew, I was on a balloon crew!

I'm holding down the neck of the balloon so air fills it instead of escaping below it.
I’m holding down the neck of the balloon so air fills it instead of escaping below it.

What a great group of people!  So friendly, warm and helpful, and they were enjoying my excitement over crewing.

The pilot, Rod told me if I wanted to go up, maybe I could get a ride later in the week.  IF I WANTED TO??!!  Heck yeah I wanted to!  But I assured him that if things didn’t work out, I was enjoying crewing for him and that was enough.

Day two on the crew, I stepped up to hold open the neck of the envelope (I learned a bunch of ballooning terms that I really need to use before I forget) while the balloon was filled with cool air and then to keep the rope thingys (clearly I didn’t learn ALL of the ballooning terms) out of the flame.

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“What I wouldn’t give for a holocaust cloak.” – Westley

 

 

 

 

 

Some more pictures of the crew:

Amy, Patrick and I putting weight on the basket to keep it on the ground
Amy, Patrick and I putting weight on the basket to keep it on the ground
Preparing the basket
Preparing the basket
Bert and I in the back of the chase vehicle leaving the field
Bert and I in the back of the chase vehicle leaving the field
ABQ Balloon Field from the air
ABQ Balloon Field from the air

On Friday Rod pointed to me and said, “If you want to go, get in the basket!” I jumped in and before I even had a chance to let Roger know where I was, I was up, up, and away!

This is Rod, he's a very focused pilot!
This is Rod, he’s a very focused pilot!

After a magical ride, Rod set us down so gently it felt like we landed on a pillow.  What a great pilot!  What a wonderful week!
Thank you Rod, Michael, Michelle, Shirley, Lois, Patrick, Amy, Bert, Frankie, and Ray!  I sure hope I can crew for you and with you the next time I am in Albuquerque!

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