This was our fourth year hosting the Boomers RV Club at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and our greatest joy is watching our “first-timers” making their maiden voyages in a hot air balloon.
While we couldn’t see everyone's first flights, we did hear about them during our Happy Hour de-briefs and reading about them on Facebook and through the blogs. Boomer Sharon Del Rosario put together a listing of blogs if you’d like to go read some of the postings from Oct. 1-10:
Connie Carno & Art Sauerstrom -- www.mytripjournal.com/WhatsOverTheHill
Sharon & Don Del Rosario – www.shadonrv.blogspot.com
Bill & Shelly Dominek – www.yogiboobooadventure.blogspot.com/
Andy & Diane Hitzel –www.thehitzels.blogspot.com
George & Bonnie Keefe – www.busterstravelsgeo-bon.blogspot.com
Ann & Mick Meilicke – www.mickann.wordpress.com
Chuck & Jan Moore – www.cjmoorenews.blogspot.com
Judy & Luke Rinehimer – www.coolrvers.blogspot.com
Jim & Nancy Tidball – www.runningdownourdream.blogspot.com
First Flight @ 87
The greatest first flight had to be that of Howard Pelton, our former neighbor, who is now 87-years-young. When we recently re-united with Howard and his wife Janet in Wenatchee, WA and they learned we were hosting the club at Fiesta, you could just see Howard’s eyes light up. I think his quote went something like this:
“You know, I flew bombers over Germany during World War II when I was 20, I was one of the first helicopter pilots, but you know what, I’ve never been in a hot air balloon!”
We told him we still had room with our group and he immediately jumped at the opportunity. The Peltons, long-time members of the Escapees RV Club,, stilll RV in their 38’ Dutch Star and within a day or two I had received the confirmation that they would be in Albuquerque.
We saved the spot next to us, talked to our Pilot Mike Liberti and plans were made to give Howard his flight.
Janet was just as happy watching the action from the field and in the chase truck.
OTHER FIRST FLIGHTS
Here are shots of others that I was able to catch on their first flights:
Nancy Tidball (in red jacket) flew with Daniel Liberti
Views from my flight with Art Sauerstrom during his first flight
SPECIAL SHAPES ARE HARD WORK
The shot of Paddy above is actually its publicity photo. With the winds blowing (and a later rain-out), Paddy never got off the ground this year. It’s not like we didn’t try. This shot was taken just before Paddy’s crown line was pulled, collapsing the huge “envelope”.
Following are shots of four crews combining their efforts to get Paddy inflated. We came close twice, but the winds won. Getting the air out and the balloon re-packed was also a workout.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE SHOTS…
Landing in a local neighborhood
Luke noticed the “moon” jumping over the “cow” during an evening “Glow”
AND THE GREATEST PHOTO FOR 2011 WAS TAKEN BY ELISE McKIBBON AND CAPTIONED BY JAN MOORE….
Help, my motorhome is being eaten by an alien!
NEXT: BALLOONS & BOOMERS – PART 3: BOOMERS CARE