October 4, 2009


We arrive early Saturday afternoon, to find a huge field right in the middle of Albuquerque dedicated to the 2009 Balloon Fiesta.

First we notice there is no shortage of wonderful smelling foods available up & down vendor row.

Winds were high as moon starts to rise and the nine helium filled racing balloons prepared for launch, which was intended for 7PM but delayed until well after dark due to the high winds. These teams compete worldwide, and the object of the "race" is to see how far one can go in four days!

The silver balloon in the foreground was from Houston, and their team planned to catch the jetstream at 20,000 feet running at over 100 knots. They believe they will be able to reach the coast of Newfoundland by late Thursday!
The City has done a fabulous job of transportation, utilizing hundreds of school buses departing from numerous locations on the outskirts of the City. We hop aboard just before 6AM to reach the field this morning for the "Main Ascension" at 7AM.

The weather looks at bit "iffy" just at sunrise, but things seem to be proceeding well, and the winds are being much linder this morning than yesterday evening!

Excitement builds when a single balloon out of hundreds starts it's blower up, inflates, slowly, fires up the roar of a huge propane burner and prepares for a solo takeoff.

We are a bit confused until it launches, with the Star Spangled Banner being played in the background, the early solo ascent is very fitting indeed!
Within minutes, I hear another loud roar to my left, it's getting started, this is it! Burners are now roaring everywhere around us!

Soon the first group of these colorful monsters lifts smoothly & slowly into the cool New Mexico morning air!

Now, we are surrounding with noise & excitement - what a great feeling! Kim & I agree, we should be up there!

As the golden morning sun tops the mountains to our east, colors enrichen, and unique shapes pop up all around us!

Walking out to catch the bus back to our hotel, a final glance upward confirms this as one of the most beautiful events we've witnessed enjoying life out here on the road!

Be sure to check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOyoYDiLaeM