Monday, October 11, 2010

Hot Air Balloons: The Chase

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Part 2 of a Day in the Life of a Hot Air Balloon.

Once the balloon is in the air, we have to go fetch it and bring it back. This is called The Chase.

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is ten days of... more than ten days of balloon related insanity. Slap a "Balloon Chase Team" sign on your car, and you can go anywhere. Orchards, fields, back yards, private land, the Indian reservations. The Native Americans get rather testy about you landing on their land, so we try not to. But other than that...

The Chase 

Our balloon is a bembel, or wine pitcher.

Getting Ready to Head Out

Getting ready to head out.
Waiting for the right moment

Waiting for the
moment to leave,
and watching the
balloons stream by.

The launch park empty of balloons

The launch park looks empty as we head out.

Watching the balloons stream by

There's joy in watching
the balloons go by.

Balloons north, truck south

Balloons headed north,
we're headed south
out of the park.

Why yes, that's a skunk.

A lot of little balloons
Our bembel is to the left,
as we chase balloons.

Crossing over the Rio Grance

Crossing over the Rio Grande, still chasing all those balloons.

Headed north

At the start of the chase,
we're all going in the same direction.

Who's chasing whom?

Who's chasing whom?

Line of chase vehicles
Since all the balloons are heading in pretty much the
same direction, we all end up chasing each other.

There's the bembel!

We're getting closer. The bembel's next to the top of the pole.

Dead by the side of the road

Airabella came down early.
The balloon's on one side of the road,
the basket on the other.

Darth in your backyard

My first view of Darth was between trees, as the balloon came down in someone's yard. Rather disconcerting.

Wind whipping our flag
Wind whipping the flag as we
chase after the bembel.

Getting closer

The bembel isn't a dot any more.Looking for a place to land

Coming in low,
looking for
a place to land

Find the bembel!

"Where's The Bembel?"
Hiding behind the house

It looks like a landing

It looks like
a landing!
Now we need to
find a road.

Low over houses

No, no landing.
The area was
full of corrals.
There's this thing in the sky...
There's this thing in the sky...

And people just keep on
driving like it's the
most ordinary thing.
Well, during the Balloon
Fiesta, it is.

We've caught up with it

We caught up with it...
until the wind went one way
and the road another
It's a lovely thing, our bembel.

Bembel waiting for us

There she is, waiting on the hill top.


Safely down, ready to deflate, pack and carry home.

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