Some Hot Air Over Albuquerque

I don’t own a boat because having a little bit of fun on the weekend shouldn’t require that much work.

But I just had the delightful experience of attending the last few days of the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and now I’m wondering what it might cost to buy a sturdy two person basket and an acre of cloth specially sewn to resemble of a fire hydrant.

Yes, it was a hoot to walk among the giant puffed up gasbags as they lifted themselves off the ground with the help of propane, fire, and human determination. At one point, there were so many oversized shapes looming over me, such a collection of bulbous forms that were seemingly oblivious to my existence, I felt like a four year old who had gone to the department store with his mother.

Here’s a giant cow, lifting off.

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You can see why this celebration is one of the world’s most photographed events. With all the color, motion and charm the balloons and their crews bring to the field, mixed with the interplay of fire, clouds and light, it is quite a challenge to take even one bad picture.

What will make you stop and gaze skyward?

75 thoughts on “Some Hot Air Over Albuquerque”

  1. Wonderful report, Dale. What fun and colorful photos. It must have been a blast to see all those imaginative creatures take shape and flight.

    A few weeks ago, husband and I drove to Duluth to visit some friends and take in a John Prine concert. There happened to be a hot air balloon festival in Duluth that weekend. We were disappointed to discover that none of them ever took flight. Apparently the winds off of Lake Superior are too treacherous to risk it, which begged the question, why have a hot air balloon festival in Duluth?

    Lots of things will draw my eyes skyward: Northern lights, a murmuration of starlings, meteor showers, starry nights in a dark place, a colorful kite on a string, the list goes on and on.

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      1. Hey, you two (OC & PJ), it’s not always treacherous winds off Lake Superior. Today the wind is 5 mph…tomorrow might even be calm! Winds blow hot and cold, breezy and blusterous….never can predict from day to day….much less predict for an event planned months (or year?) ahead. Be kind, we love our Gitchi Gummi.

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        1. Cynthia, I love that big lake. I’m just questioning the wisdom of having a hot air balloon festival in a place where you know that it is too dangerous to launch them. From what we were told by the locals we spoke to, they never launch them, they just sit there on the ground. What fun is that? I’d really be interested in knowing the reasoning behind it. It seems illogical to me.

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        2. I love Gitchi Gummi too and am not trying to be unkind to the big lake or her moods. As I understand the issue, they never intended for the balloons to actually fly. It is apparently never OK for them to fly over the lake. So why in heaven’s name did they choose a place where balloons aren’t allowed to fly to have a hot air balloon festival. It would have been much more festive to hold the event someplace where the balloons could do what balloons are meant to do. How about planning an alpine ski event in Dubai, an ice fishing competition in Burmuda? The possibilities for such non-events are endless.

          Liked by 2 people

        1. the truth is they built a big ski hill indoors in dubai and the cost to keep it going with it being 100+degrees outside was unbelievable. ski events in dubai was a reality. i believe they put a fork in it recently

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Lately it has been the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Was driving through Uptown a couple weeks back and the sunset was spectacular enough that even the hipsters stopped to take pictures – one corner had a little clot of folks with their phones out, chatting and pointing and taking snapshots as if they were seeing someone famous. (I was driving and chose to keep my hands on the wheel, so only have the snapshot in my own memory.)

    The balloons are pretty nifty – though the one of the astronaut is a little disconcerting. It looks like he/she just pooped out the basket. 😉

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    1. We get hawks and eagles riding the thermals near my office (probably also hunting for snacks in the tall grass by 494 and on the south side of our building). Beautiful creatures.

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  3. Good morning. There are many things that can cause me to gaze skyward. The sight of Sandhill Cranes filling the sky in the fall when they are migrating is near the top of the list things that are quick to gain my attention in the sky. I am amazed by the show put on by these birds as fill the sky in places along the Platte River where they gather during their migration. These very large birds fly with their long neck extended forward and their long legs out behind them which creates the illusion of a flying cross as they extend their big wings and soar over head.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Rise and Look Upward Baboons!

    What great pictures! That must have been a thrill.

    A lot of mine are what has been said: eagles, N. Lights, Sunrise/Sunset, Sky Blue Pink With a Heavenly Border.

    Tornadoes. I am afraid of them and keep an eagle eye on the sky. I once experienced one immediately above me (@1983) while driving at the intersection of 35W and Lyndale. That was startling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i was out that night on my deck in edina and sent it over to you, then i immediately got out and drove in my car into the 14 inches of rain that fell in 1 hour.
      parked my car on high goround and swam home from 2 miles away
      a night to remember

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  5. clouds (and weather), any bird, the moon, the wind in the trees, sunsets but not too many sunrises, the sky’s changing colors.

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  6. Wow – I can see we should have planned our Albuquerque trip (2002) for this time of year!

    Honestly, any movement skyward makes me look up. I love watching all things flying – butterflies and dragonflies in addition to all the birds I want to learn all the names of. (Why is that? To talk about them with others, I suppose.) Not as fascinated with flies and mosquitoes…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No fair. You guys get up two hours earlier than I do, and everyone claims the cool stuff we see by looking up. I would have chosen sandhill cranes or the aurora borealis if I hadn’t been asleep.

    What’s left? I used to be thrilled by massive cloud formations over Lake Superior in August . . . those towering, pillowy, monumental cumulonimbus fantasies in the sky.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. “… the giant puffed up gasbags as they lifted themselves off the ground with the help of propane, fire, and human determination.”

    Sounds like the recent Republican and Democratic Presidential debates. 😉

    Gotta go with Northern Lights and dark, starry nights.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Chi is fine. Just make sure to “think-pronounce it ‘Shy” not “Chee.” 🙂 Or use CT if you’re too lazy to type an extra letter. 😉 (tongue planted firmly in cheek now)

        Chris (or Chi)

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  9. One day last fall my security camera picked up a hot air balloon chase vehicle coming down our road. (We’ve had hot air balloons land at our place a couple times).

    Half hour later a tow truck comes in. Ten minutes after that they all leave again.
    I looked all over and could not figure out where they got stuck and why they needed the tow truck.
    Called the balloon guy; He had a new (to him) SUV and they cranked up the tunes while packing up the balloon. And then the battery was dead. Tow truck was a jump start.

    Too bad I wasn’t home at the time. Missed out on the complimentary champagne they offer the land owner on landing.

    Cows look up at Hot Air balloons. They do not like the noise of the burners.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. there ought to be a way to do it with solar power now. wouldnt quiet be wonderful. fill those nylon panels with solar collectors and be mellow unless you need to crank it hard on a cloudy day. then go to propane back up

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We were driving back home from Rapid City in a very desolate part of northwest South Dakota when a large black bomber from Ellsworth Airforce Base buzzed our van, really low to the ground, and then shot up high again. I guess it must have been a stealth bomber. It was so quiet we didn’t hear the damn thing until it was on top of us. I look for them now in that huge sky we have out here. All i could tink at the time was “You a**hole. How dare you do that to us!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They fly all the way over here leaving high contrails.
      For a long time the air force conducted icing experiments over the the us on the North Shore. In the winter on very cold clear blue sky days a big helicopter would fly in front of a prop airplane spraying ice over it. In 1970 Superior froze solid and ore boats were fighting ice right into June in front of our house. They tried breaking up the ice out in the lake flying at supersonic speeds at low elevations. It did not work, but it was fun to watch the jets way out there. I bet the pilots were having fun. The sonic booms never reached the shoreline.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. We are very rich in eagles around here now.
      On the North Shore we watched the feisty little red wings drive off the crows and ravens. Why didn’t the ravens just turn around and catch them? A lesson in bravado.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Maybe I scanned too fast, but has no one mentioned a flock of migrating geese? Happens every year and I never get tired of it.

    We are close enough to the river to see plenty of raptors.

    Also enough to freeways, downtown, the river and the airport that we get more than our share of hovering helicopters. Seldom a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I attended the Balloon Fiesta back in the mid 90s – very fun to see the mass ascension at dawn (and pretty dang chilly, too). Almost as fun is the Balloon Glow in the evening when you can walk amongst the illuminated and inflated balloons while they are tethered to the ground.
    As to what draws my attention skyward, pretty much what everybody has already mentioned.

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  13. One of my favorite card messages from my seasonal work at the flower shop was with an online order going to Macalester College. It read “Look up and smile.” I got the story on it because there was some reason I had to call the customer to clarify some detail of where and when we were to make the delivery. The woman who placed the order told me it was for her sister, graduating from Macalester late in life – I think in her mid 60’s or so. The customer told me their dad had always come to performances, dance and music recitals and such, and before they went onstage he’d tell them to smile. He didn’t live to see the graduation, but she was sure he’d be proud of his daughter,

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    1. they took my christine tippet on being show and moved it to 6 am sunday mornings. i love to wake up listening to it but end up downloading it to my phone and listening to it driving down the road or packing boxes. i will see if fresh air is downloadable too. ill bet it is

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  14. I am glad Dale got away to relax. Does this mean that he is back in editing mode? Husband and I are in Fargo at an autism conference. I know that I have been working too hard since three days in Fargo sitting through 6 hours of daily lectures feels like am basking on the Riviera.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, austistic children are bullied a lot, so if we start educating children early about their autistic peers maybe we can reduce bullying

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        1. I wrote a manual for autism teachers a few years ago. All the content came from autism special Ed teachers. I was the writer for them. My ex partner now owns it. My name never appeared as the author. His did/does.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. My attempts to confuse people for my own amusement. Yes, occasionally, I solidify my reputation for being obnoxious by doing things like staring at the sky or staring at bewilderment at something that isn’t there just to see how many people I can get to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Trip for an appt for Sandy today. I have nothing in my head. Did full house cleaning yesterday. It is always best to just plunge in and do it all and then take a big load of pain and have it over with.
    I did do a post with a bit of fiction embedded in it, if you remember about a swamp Boardwalk. I turned that into a short story set in NE MN , which is where my writing has gone. Now will have type it in.
    Fun day all. We will see a little bit of color. Never got much. Bet we see lots of buzzards and a few Eagles.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. day of driving in the sunshine. looking at fall colors was /is glorious

    i was remembering the day after 9/11 when the skys were clrae and ow odd and eerie it was. for a week or however long. i am going to miss the tub i hang out in at my house that has a surroud view of all windows that cant be beat. the house we are looking at moving to has a tub but its a normal tub in a room with no windows. wife said a hot tub is needed. we picked the spot. in the yard.

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  18. After Sandy’s appt. we drive over to Red Wing and down past Lake City. Lots of leaves down but some pretty spots. Some vibrant yellows.

    Funny part of our day, that could have been bad. Went through a traffic snarl on a four lane hwy. A car burned, no one hurt, on the other side but traffic had to be diverted through our side. They went back two miles to divert the traffic off that side. Except theor diversion fed the traffic back onto the four lane on the wrong side of the fire right in the snarl up.I wanted to stop where they diverting it and tell the deputy how wasted was their effort.

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