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Monday October 3- ABQ IBF

Today is Bob’s birthday!

We were up very early @ 4:45 to get ready to go over the the Fiesta park to Chase Crew. We took the 5:45 bus over to the park and hiked out to site T-7. We introduced ourselves to the balloon pilot, Bruce. We sat in his Expedition while he went to the pilots meeting. He was taking place in the competition, so  we were headed off the field. To be in the competition, we he had to launch the balloon up from at least 1 mile from the park, and then return to the park. There were games such as putting a ring on a pole and dropping a ribbon onto a motor boat.

We finally took off driving at about 7 AM and went to the first stop. We sat looking around while a group of the pilots decided if they wanted to launch from this site. They decided no, so we moved to a second site. At this point I had noticed a porta-potty around the corner, so I took off to use the darn thing. Several people followed me. We returned to the site, and the pilots had still not made a decision.

101-1While standing there, another balloon decided to land. The pilot was yelling, “move the truck”. We thought ti might we our Expedition, but is was an Explorer on the street. The lady was pretty dense until her teenage son yelled at her, “ Mom they are talking to you!”. So she  ran to the SUV and quickly backed up. The balloon set down, and all the guys ran over and jumped on the basket to keep it on the ground.

102-1Us gals, started to work with the balloon. The balloon was blocking the street and had partially landed on a tree, so we had to move it, as we were in an industrial park, and people were trying to get to work. 103-1

Then we started trying to get the air out of the balloon. This was one of the Rainbow Rider balloons, which have the large basket for taking paid persons on rides. When the pilot landed the balloon, it was a very hard landing, as the basket bounced several times before the guys could get on the basket to hold it down. Considering, everyone, except the passengers, thought it was a good landing. When they were touching down, you only saw the pilot, as all the passengers were on the floor of the basket. They bounced so hard that one man lost the lens out of his glasses!

Anyway, we had a lot of trouble trying to get the air out of the balloon. In moving from the street, the balloon had twisted. The chase crew arrived, and these are paid guys; they really knew what they were doing, and following their directions, we had the balloon deflated and packed up pretty quickly. That was pretty interesting. The young guy pushing the air out had a couple of little kids following him up the balloon, and they were having a great time getting the smaller amounts of air out! 104-1

We moved on to our third possible launch site which was right off of I-25. The gals stayed in the Expedition, and the guys all got out to take a look. While they were doing this, another balloon was attempting to inflate. The wind picked up, and the balloon started to wave, side to side. Bob and the rest of the guys jumped on the basket to keep it steady. With 15 guys, the basket was still rocking side to side. Finally, the pilot had his passenger get out and stopped adding hot air to the balloon. The guys then assisted him with the deflation and getting the balloon on the ground and disconnected from the basket. His chase crew finished the job.

Two other balloons went up, rapidly, as they managed to inflate before a wind picked up, again. Our pilot, Bruce, decided not to fly. So we returned to the field to watch the other balloons attempt to put the ring around the pole and drop the ribbon into the boat.

Only 2 succeeded in getting the ring on the pole. Who ever does it the second day wins 100K.

We returned to the motor home and took a nap. We took showers this afternoon. Since we are boon-docking, we are doing wash ups everyday and only showering a couple of times in this 9 days. We are being very careful of our water, both in and out, as it costs $ 25 each to dump and add water, and that is the cash price. Check or credit card adds $3.50 each.

At 4 PM we went to happy hour. Craig had taken several people on the train trip to Santa Fe for the day, so Terrilu was running the happy hour and announcements. We sang happy birthday to Bob, actually 2x, as some people were late so we ended up doing it a second time!

We returned to the motor home, ate dinner and watched a little TV before bed. We are running the generator one time a day, for about an hour in the late afternoon, to recharge our batteries. This is how we get our electric, so we are also very conservative about using electric. 

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