November 17, 2015

Page, Arizona Balloon Regatta

Tony & I have not gone to a balloon event since September in Park City so I was really ready to get down to Page, Arizona for their balloon regatta. My friend Judy would be there with her balloon and asked us if we could come down and help crew for her. The weather was perfect and we left Friday evening after work and homework. I drove most of the way while Tony slept. Usually he drives when the teardrop camper is hooked to my car but this time it was my turn and luckily it went well. It was about a 6 hour drive and we pulled in to our 'campsite' about 2:30 am and didn't wake up until the alarm went off at 630am.

                                                

At 7am everyone stood around and listened to the pilot briefing - details on where the balloons could and could not fly or land, wind conditions and putting up a "pie ball" which means a helium birthday size  balloon so that we could all tell which direction the wind was going and how fast. Pretty cool and definitely good information to have handy. 

We helped Judy set up her balloon in the parking lot of a school and she had one of the crew members (Pat I think) get in the basket. Then she looked at me and asked me if I wanted to get in for a ride too. She didn't have to ask twice!! I scrambled in and up up and away we went! It was so unreal and I couldn't believe I was so lucky to get to go. We stayed up for about an hour! The time went so fast. I wish I had a better camera with me because everywhere I turned in the basket there was such an amazing view. 






Pat , Judy and I rotated around the basket from time to time so Judy could do different things. Pat and I helped keep an eye on the gauges. If they got to a certain number that meant the balloon was getting too hot , I think. I am not so good at knowing this stuff but I am getting a little better each time.



 

 Tony is down there in my gray car - chase crew! Following the guy Kenny I believe his name was, who was driving Judy's white car pulling her trailer. Being on chase crew can be intense at times because you have to stay close to the balloon so you can help catch it when it starts to come down. Judy didn't have walkie talkies with her this time so there was not a whole lot of communicating unless it was by shouting as we got lower. 






When it was finally time to come down the crew was right there to help guide us to a safe place to end our journey. It was so so fun and so magical being up in the sky in a hot air balloon. I get all excited just thinking about it!


In the evening there was a balloon glow with about 24 balloons. This was one of the best glows I have gone to. Usually they just don't last very long because it starts to get too breezy and the balloons have to come down really quick. Not this night though. The balloons stayed up at least an hour and we didn't have to put all our weight on the basket to keep the balloon steady. I took a walk down the street with my camera and got some pictures, video and even did a short Periscope (live video stream). 


At the end of the night we helped take the balloon dow and put it away for Sunday. Ate dinner at a restaurant called Slackers, visited Maverick for the restroom and called it a night.

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