Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Amazing Long, Busy Day! Balloons!!!!

Ken and I got up at 4:30 and by 5:15 we were on a bus that took us to the field for the morning balloon launches.  We didn't want to miss anything and since the weather was so good for today and questionable for tomorrow, we wanted to view everything we could today!

We could not believe the thousands of people that were already there when we arrived - crazy!  We walked by the food vendors and the types of food and amount of stands was overwhelming! We got some hot chocolate (it was rather chilly) and then went to find the area where we would be a balloon crew member this evening.  Of course, it was at the very back of the huge field.

All these people in the midway and it is 5:30 AM!


By 6:15 the dawn patrol were blowing up their balloons and taking flight to check out the weather conditions at different elevations to make certain it was okay for the large balloon launch.  Because it was still dark, the balloons lit up the sky beautifully when they ignited the burners. 

The Balloon Patrol is getting ready for flight!

Almost take-off time!

And they are off!

So hard to get a picture when all of them are igniting  the propane!

It was a go, so soon balloons were inflating and allowed to take off when given the signal.  It was interesting to watch them stagger their ascension.  The brilliant colors of the balloons was breathtaking.  All in all, over 100 balloons took flight!  It was amazing!  (Get ready to view lots of photos and this is after deleting lots more than we kept!)

Now the regular balloons are starting to inflate!

Getting close to take off!  They are so close together that it is
hard to understand how they don't bump into each other!

Our first view of many, many balloons in the beautiful sky!

I am so surprised that they let us get so close to the balloons!

Ken really likes the symbol for Colorado!

I liked the balloons that almost looked
like an Amish quilt pattern!

What can I say????

This one was rather unique!!!

Ken thought the purple and pink one looked like an
old-time balloon!

After the regular balloons were in flight, they inflated many of the character ones, but kept them tethered because of the changing wind directions.  None of them flew!

Looks like the Phillie's Fanatic!!

This cow was huge!!

Of course I would like the balloon with
the flip flops!

This one was so cute and colorful!

Got this photo for Bennett and Cooper!
We also stopped by the tents where 5 men were doing competitive chain saw woodcarving.  We talked to the one carver who is the #1 carver in Canada. Today they had a short competition and were told at 8:00 that the theme was birds and they had til 9:30 to complete their project.  Then in the afternoon they had from 1:30 to 5 to complete a project of their choice, but the piece of wood they started with was much larger than the wood they carved in the morning.  Their carvings where incredible!  What a talent!!!

This is Jim, the #1 carver in Canada.  The log on the right
was used for the morning competition and the large one
for the afternoon contest!

This is a piece of Jim's work!  (The wooden
figure, not the lady in blue!)

This is Jim's bird entry, a peacock!

This was the winner for the short competition!
It was gorgeous and had so much detail!

This was Jim's finished piece for the
afternoon competition!

Look closely at the bear cub!  Another
very detailed woodcarving!

We were back to Waldo following the morning flights by 11 and spent till 1:15 sitting with the two couples camping behind us chatting and sharing more information on camping.  We also toured each other's rigs.  Ken and I continue to learn more about our generator and inverter.  It really is easier to boondock than we thought!

After a late lunch, Ken and I decided we needed naps, so we slept for about 1 hour.  Then we went through all the photos Ken had taken just this morning (so many) and attempted to pick the best ones - not an easy task and rather time consuming.  But, we are retired and have the time!!  Then I downloaded them.

We were back in the launch area by 5:15 to meet with the pilot, Mike, and his crew who gave us a brief session on what we needed to know to help with the tethered launch of Annie the Ladybug!  Mike was such a nice guy who really wanted us to have a good, memorable time and we did!  We helped to unpack the balloon, unfold it, and then hold the "mouth" while they blew air into it with a fan and then continued to hold it when they started the propane inflation.  It takes a lot to hold the balloon in place. 

Ken was helping to set-up the basket!

The Ladybug balloon was very heavy in its bag!

Unrolling and laying out the balloon to get ready for

Our camping neighbors, Richard,, Gary, Vicki, and Kathy, came to see us the night we were helping crew for Annie the Ladybug.  These are pictures they so graciously took and allowed us to copy for our blog.  Thanks so much because we really appreciate the photos and memories!

They cover a large area when all rolled out!

Once it was beginning to go upright, we had to hold on to the basket to keep it on the ground, even though it was tethered.  After about 30 minutes, we helped with the deflation and the job of getting all the air out of the balloon so it could be rolled and folded and put back in its bag.  It really is quite a job but we loved being part of the experience.

Making sure the propane tanks are working!

Totally inflated.  It is tethered but you still
have to hold the basket in place and
it was up for about 30 minutes!
Mike had all of us sign the banner that he keeps after his balloon launches.  At one point when we were folding up the balloon he asked us all to come to the side and as a tradition whenever he has a successful inflation, you all kiss the side of the balloon!

All of the crew signed the banner!

Thanks Pilot Mike for a wonderful new and exciting experience!

Many of the character type balloons were inflated tonight but tethered.  It gave all the folks a chance to walk around them and take photos.  I am surprised that none of the area near the balloons is roped off, so you can get very "up close and personal".  

I thought this one was a hoot!!!!  Quite a collision!!

After that, the laser show began followed by fantastic fireworks.  We had to wait quite awhile to get the school bus shuttle back to Waldo, but we had fun chatting with the folks who were part of the Ladybug crew and camping near us.  

They had beautiful fireworks, especially those on the ground!

Mike, the pilot, and the late news suggested that we sleep in tomorrow morning because the winds were predicted to be rather strong and not good for balloon flying.  So, we decided that an alarm was not necessary - hallelujah!

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