Snowmass Balloon Festival 2009
Friday, 29 July 2011

September 18, 2009

Back in Snowmass Village for the Snowmass Balloon Festival, and staying at the Crewtwood Condominiums again, as are all of the Pilots and most of the Crew.  Friday was the Down Valley Long Distance Race and we came in third.  We flew a grand total of 71'!  Everyone flew further than we did, but they didn't turn in their score sheets and as a result had a no result.  We flew up the valley a little bit and circled the golf course and landed almost at the spot from where we launched!  We seem to either do that or land on the 16th fairway every year.  It's a great event to attend and if you want more information, go to www.snowmassballoon.com and check out what goes on in addition to this event. 

         

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Elephant Butte Balloon Rally 2009
Friday, 29 July 2011

September 09, 2009

This is one fun event at the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico, about a 2 plus hour drive south of Albuquerque!  The competition concept is for the balloon Pilots to launch from shore in the State Park, and get over the lake, take a baton from their Water Chase Crew, make a right turn and fly to the Marina to and toss on to the target.  Mind you . . . concept!  Well many made that right turn and my Pilot, Doug Lenberg of Farmington, New Mexico flying the Route 66 Again balloon (red with big center white stripe) decided that flying across the lake is much more enjoyable.  So off he went, and off I went chasing him.  The Water Chase Crew are there in case the balloon stalls over the water and it's their task to slowly tow them back to shore.  As the weekend went on, that was a definite challenge for most.  I was the Land Chase Crew driving by myself and in an area I had never been before.  Thankfully there were only two roads from which to choose.  As it was, I could not get close to him and the Water Chase Crew along with a second boat had to load up his basket and balloon envelope and take it back across the lake to the boat ramp where I was waiting along with quite a few other vehicles launching and picking up boats.  Except I didn't have a trailer which amused many after I told them I wasn't giving up my space as I was waiting for my craft. 

Doug's Dad took us back out later on the lake as I wanted to go swimming and had not done that in years.  What I like about New Mexico State Parks is that you can - at least in this instance - set up camp at the water's edge.  So balloons were flying in, over and about the camp sites, and seeing it was early in the morning, waking them up to the sounds of the burners.  I was told that the lake is 45 miles long and quite the Mecca for Lake Trout fishing in the Spring.  Elephant Butte is next door to Truth or Consequences and there are many motels that have natural hot springs and is quite the eclectic community.  And if the Space Port does become a reality, that area and down to Las Cruces should grow rapidly.

       

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Colorado Springs Classic 2009
Friday, 29 July 2011
September 02, 2009 

This is the first time I've been to the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic in a few years.  It's the largest Balloon Rally in the State of Colorado.  Skip Howes, Pilot of Wildfire and Crew Cheif Debbie Howes indicated to me that they were in need of Crew, so I drove down to Colorado Springs for the Rally to help them out.  Of course they had a Crew that was anything but few in number.  So I spectated and visited with those attending.  Sometimes when you have a large Crew, it's nice to just be able to take in the event and be rather lazy when it comes to ballooning tasks, as long as you're not the Crew Chief.  The website of the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic is : www.balloonclassic.com and the even takes place over every Labor Day Weekend in Memorial Park at the intersection of Pikes Peak Avenue and Union Boulevard.

            
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Celebration of Honor Fly 2009
Friday, 29 July 2011

July 25, 2009

This has become one of my favorite events, in that we fly approximately 175-200 Ft. Carson soldiers over two days in South Park, between Hartsel, Colorado and Wilkerson Pass.  Pilots and Crew from Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, Denver and Albuquerque, and for the most part at their own expense, gather the final weeked in July to fly the soldiers and their families.  This was the second year of this event.  To learn more of the history of this event, go to www.CelebrationOfHonorFly.com.  While the event is about the soldiers and no one else, it's always a challenge to find adequate funds to keep this successful and enjoyable.  If you like to contribute to this event, it will be put to great use and will be greatly appreciated.

All of the photographs below are by Paul deBerjeois and can also be seen at his website along with a lot of his other work at www.ColorBandit.com

         

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Valley of the Gods 2009
Friday, 29 July 2011

April 28, 2009

We returned to Valley of the Gods, which is between Bluff and Mexican Hat in southern Utah to fly in this stunning setting.  It's the Utah version of Monument Valley in northern Arizona, some 20-30 miles south of this location on the Navajo lands.  This year we were weathered out 2 of the 3 days due to winds, including a sandstorm, which was a first for me and I put the hotel towels to good use one evening as we were cooking outside.  We had hoped to fly one of my General Contractors, David Koons (www.kodiak-inc.com) and his wife Christine but couldn't because of the winds.  The following day they were starting their raft journey with friends for one week on the San Juan River, launching out of Bluff. 

Karl (Pilot), Maria (Crew Chief) and I went and hiked in the Natural Bridges National Park and that was enjoyable.  On the way there we drove near to where we landed the year before, because we wanted to see where we would have gone had we flown out of the canyon and beyond.  On the one day we flew, it was Maria's turn to fly as she didn't the year before.  We also picked up a Crew Member to help us and she got to fly along with me on the second hop.  It's been one of my favorite places to fly - an amazing place to be when the sun rises.

        

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Snowdown 2010
Snowmass Balloon Festival 2009
Elephant Butte Balloon Rally 2009
Colorado Springs Classic 2009
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Valley of the Gods 2009
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