Monday, May 6, 2013

Old Timer's Balloon Rally, Roswell, NM

This is our home at the balloon rally.  We set-up camp next to a great shade tree in an old parking lot at a comfortable distance from the rally festivities.  We arrived at the rally location on the afternoon of May 3rd.  The group balloon launch was scheduled for 6:45 a.m. on the 4th and 5th.  We can't believe we had the whole lot to ourselves!      
Odie loves his tree!  I'm always amazed that no matter where we are he is right at home going outdoors exploring!  We tried some desert walks, but he is just to fast getting to those cacti! 
Look what I found hanging in the tree, while reaching through the branches to get Odie.  Do you see the little cylinder in the lower 1/3 of the branches?  It's a tiny geocache!  For those of you who haven't heard of geocaching, it's a great treasure hunt game played internationally using a GPS to locate the hidden item.  This is a mini-geocache that just contains a scroll for writing your name and the date you found it.  Regular geocaches are containers with trinkets inside.  You leave a trinket and take one, as well as, log your find.  Learn more about it at  Makes me think Roy and I need to reactivate our geocaching, during our travels! 
This is the view from the back of our camper to where the festival was being set-up.  The music was crystal clear and thumping from this distance!  We chose the perfect location for staying two days at a festival where music was played throughout both days and late into the evenings!  
The wide open desert on first impression looks like a great place to let the dogs run amongst the sagebrush, but on further inspection these low growing prickly pear cacti are everywhere.  Look at the massive number of long needles on just one clump!  They are low enough to the ground to be perfect for a couple high speed dogs to run through.  We also discovered just walking close to the edge of the desert the poor dogs feet were constantly picking up those hard thorny balls called goatheads! 
We walked to the balloon rally at 6:30 a.m. on the 4th.  At the end of our camper parking lot is a paved walking path that we followed to the event!  
This is the first balloon we saw being aired up.  It is huge and was laid out on a tarp.  Part of a balloon festival appears to be guessing what the fully filled balloon will look like!  Do you think it might be an acorn?  
It's Smokey the Bear!  He looks a bit like an acorn, if you don't see his face!  Once Smokey was ready to go, it seemed like all the balloons came to life at once! 
This picture is great for showing the process of airing up a balloon!  Once the balloon is rolled out across the ground, a couple of people hold the bottom open.  A large fan blows air into the balloon to get it partially inflated.  The stand-up  basket or in this case an experimental aluminum sit down two-seater is laid on its back so the flame of the blower shoots towards the balloon opening.  Once the balloon is upright, it's time to get set for the lift off!   
There they go!  Can you believe they are just sitting in those seats as if on the ground, and will be floating to an altitude of two thousand feet!  I'm always amazed at the capabilities of individual people! 
Here we go!  Everyone is getting ready! 
I love the bright colors and pastels on these balloons! 
 Almost ready!
Up, up, and away! 
Woo Hoo! 
The large alien in the lower left corner of the picture seems to be giving the balloons a watchful send-off!  He is an air balloon, but for the ground only. 
 Those baskets are so small!
So many pretty balloons! 
 Looks like they have caught an air current!
Soaring to the clouds!
On the second day of the festival we watched the 6:45 a.m. launch from close to the camper.  We wanted the new perspective.
Balloons everywhere!
There they go!  Goodbye!