Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Ride

During our recent trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ro and I ventured up in a hot air balloon with our friends, Bob & Doris. We lifted off shortly after sunrise on a parcel of desert south of Albuquerque, near the town of Belen. It was a first time experience for everyone but me and we had a very smooth flight, affording us some great views.

A gas generator powers a fan to blow air into the balloon and inflate it.

Soon, the propane burners are turned on to throw
super-heated air into the balloon and cause it to rise.

After everyone climbs on board, more hot air is added
to the balloon and we're lifted up toward the sky.

The photos of us in the air were taken by one of the crew
and emailed to us after we returned home.

Ro took a couple of great shots of our shadow, using the new Canon A1000.

I had originally gone up in a balloon a few years ago,
upstate New York, but was disappointed
we only went up about 1,500-2,000 feet;
this time, I was happy we made it to about 3,500 feet.
I was hoping we'd fly over the Rio Grande (visible in the distance,
on the other side of the town), but the wind did not take us there.

Telephoto shot of someone's desert compound.

This is an industrial park and school complex which is to be
the start of another planned community like Rio Rancho.

As we were descending toward our landing, a truck
and the billowing dust behind it
were captured with the telephoto lens.
A coyote was seen running across the
landscape shortly afterward.

And we're eventually spilled out onto the ground
as the basket tips over... lots of fun, really!
(Note: no lizards or geckos were harmed in the making of this photo.)

After the landing, we were treated to a breakfast of
bagels, cookies, and Champagne/orange juice Mimosas
while the crew packed up the balloon into its trailer.

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