Sunday, October 21, 2007

October 6-14, 2007: BALLOON FIESTA, ALBUQUERQUE, NM

It's fall again, and we head over to Albuquerque to attend the Balloon Fiesta. Our good friends from California, Gail and Darrell, drive all the way there to meet us. We took our new 5th wheel and camped nearby. Then we went north to Santa Fe, Madrid, Taos, Los Alamos, and Bandolier National Monument.
We made many good memories, and laughed a whole lot.


First thing the crew does is lay out the "envelope" and start filling it with air from a portable fan.


Once the balloon is filled and open, the flame goes on and things start to warm up


Getting ready to take off


Mass ascension at dawn. I would add that if you plan on coming for this, you must get up at "0'dark:30"!


Watching all the balloons rise.


These guys are all over the grounds...they look like referees but are called Zebras. They are in radio contact with the balloonists, make sure the crowd doesn't get hurt, and give clearance for take-off.


Tweety Bird, I think...


Just ducky!

I think this is a cross between a Smurf and the Jolly Green Giantess.


Good advertising!


Thirsty?


Mounted police roam the grounds for crowd control.


The bumblebees rising - they can be velcroed together at their hands.

Darrell's cousin Dick, and his wife Marcia. They live in Albuquerque, and joined us for the fun.


Those big things actually fit back into this little bag! This balloonist had decided against launching because the wind was really coming up.


Here we are back at Balloon Park at 5:30 pm. A cool band entertains the crowd as we all wait for sunset and the "twilight glow".


Here's our daughter-in-law's mom, Jeannie, holding the balloon open while the fan inflates it. She and her husband, Wayne, have been coming every year from Minnesota to crew for the same balloonist. They love it.


Balloons are lined up and waiting for sundown.


Jeannie hangs on as the flame fills the balloon with hot air.

The balloons are a little crowded...


The giant cow...we're told when it lands, its legs get going in circles and it looks like it's running.


The Wells Fargo stagecoach is aglow.


The bees are lighting up.


They all do a count-down and then pull the cord...


All the balloons light at the same time.
video
They put on a fantastic fireworks show after the glow.


More fireworks


Bandolier National Monument visitor center. The park is located northwest of Santa Fe. It contains the remains of the pueblo of ancient Indians who lived there from 1100 to 1400 A.D.


The lower pueblo was formed in a circle. In the center was a plaza of activities like corn grinding, weaving, social interaction.


A few of the structures at the base of the cliffs were reconcstructed. The lower rooms of the "condos" were used for food storage.


Melinda peeks into one of the cliff dwellings.


View from the upper dwellings down onto the valley floor. You can see to the right, the foundations of the circular pueblo which had about 100 rooms.


Gail enters one of the cliff dwellings.


The holes along the canyon wall were "viga" receptacles. Vigas are cross beams used for the roof of the dwellings...so, if you look at the rows of viga holes, you can see that the structures were as much as 3 stories high.


There was artwork all along the canyon walls. It was located above what used to be the dwellings, so apparently they climbed up to the roof to do their handywork.

We were told the culture that lived in this canyon kept dogs as pets...one is depicted on the wall above their former homes.


This rock art is preserved behind a plexiglas barrier.


Gail and Darrell climb 1 of 4 ladders up to the Alcove room....total of 140 feet.


Melinda climbs down into a kiva located in the Alcove room.


View from inside the kiva. The roof was reconstructed to show how it used to be.


Group shot l-r: Darrell, Melinda, Darrell, Gail


Some of the wildlife in the Frijole Canyon riparian area....this was a young one. Ecccch!


Maggie's Diner in Madrid, NM (it was featured in the movie, Wild Hogs).


Our final "group shot" with the glowing aspen.


The aspen were turning at Taos ski resort.