Saturday, August 29, 2009

Colorful Sport - Balloons in the Sky

This morning at 6:00AM I got over to the field where the hot air balloons were scheduled to take off around 6:30.

When I got to the field the small trailers were starting to pull up ...

... and most of them had their own logos on the back or side...

... inside they all carried the basket, envelope and hot air units.

The first thing everyone did was get their crew together and many were volunteers.

with the basket on it's side they then unpacked the balloon (envelope) and ...

... tested the burners.

When everything was correctly attached they started up fans to begin the inflation process.

This part of the preparation is done to fill the balloon with enough air ...

not to fly but ...

... to open the inlet ring so when the burner starts to pump in the hot air it doesn't burn the balloon.

Once the burner is started the balloon starts to rise into the air while the basket is held down and eventually rights itself.

This isn't a precision drill team thing so some are ready before others.

Then the event formally started when this balloon hoisted the flag for the national anthem.

More and more balloons began filling as the spectators walked around amazed to be this close to the giants.

They are huge balloons and hold enough cubic feet of space to challenge most homes for size and beat most.

Soon the entire field was awash with color and the sounds of burners whooshing away.

I got directly under this balloon as it was taking off...

It was like watching huge creatures waking up from a deep sleep.

I liked the Noah's Ark balloon and it was the most unusual of them all.

Truth be told they were all beautiful and all together they were breathtaking.

This balloon was named "Crossfire."

I don't know the name but this had to be a California Happy Face with shades.

Here is the "Crossfire" getting ready to lift off.

I liked the unusual pattern on this balloon reminded me of Sherwin Williams paint drips.

Up goes happy face breaking out of the crowd.

I cannot tell you the excitement in the crowd and for me a special event I've always wanted to see after visits to Albuquerque and seeing posters of the Hot Air show there.

Well there goes "Noah's Ark" into the wild blue yonder.

And here is another trio of Balloons sailing away.

There were at least thirty and probably more as the sky began to fill with color.

I wondered if the balloon with the star was from Texas, my home state.

It did have Dallas Cowboy colors so I bet it was a Texas craft.

I loved seeing the flames ignite but it was hard to know when to shoot a picture to see them full force.

Well they were great so here are a few of individual...

... balloons...

... as the slowly lifted...

... into the air...

...above Albany.

The last few were ready and off they all went, headed south.

Despite a light fog I was happy with the shots I got...

... and Sharyn enjoyed the sight of the colorful behemoths.

One of the last Balloons was 7th Heaven and it wins my award for the coolest name.

Walking back I shot this of a plane that was giving free rides during the event that also included an antique car show and exhibit of old airplanes.

Finally back at the Musemobile we watched them disappear into the fog.

I thought that would be all for Albany and the Hot Air Balloon Festival but then...
... at about 10:00PM we had fireworks. I wasn't prepared with a tripod but I managed to get a few pictures of the twenty minute display.

They were loud and not as big a show as 4th of July but it was a perfect end of a very nice weekend trip.

Sharyn finally suggested I come in and take pictures from the bedroom window and it gave me a steady ledge to hold the camera and a much cleared shot.

It was a good show and Albany should be very proud of a great weekend event.

It makes me think about the hardships our country has overcome by working together to make everyone's life a bit better, happier and give us the sense of looking up to the color that fills our sky in the Balloons, Airplanes that were giving free rides and the fireworks. Now if we can get a good health care reform bill we can begin anew on employment and education. I think the comeback has started.

Scrabble Score ~ Scrabble Queen 334 - The Contender 304

Quote of the Day ~
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome." ~ Samuel Johnson quotes (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784)

Art & Air Balloon Festival - Albany Oregon

We stayed at the Blue Ox RV park located in view of the Timber Linn Park & County Expo where the Balloon Festival was taking place. Timber Linn Park is a wonderful combination of a park like setting with an amphitheater for concerts.

After dinner Sharyn and I walked to the park across the field where the Hot Air Balloons will take off tomorrow morning toward the Night Glow and concert.

The Night Glow is all about lighting up the Balloons (well some of them) at night and it's quite a sight.

One balloon was already inflated and the music was just starting.

On Stage was Curtis Salgado who performed beautifully and was still playing, after a brief intermission, while Scrabble Queen and I fought it out in the RV. We were able to hear the entire concert.

"Curtis Salgado was born in Everett, Washington and is now a Portland, Oregon based blues, R&B, and soul singer-songwriter. He plays harmonica and fronts his own band as lead vocalist. Curtis was the inspiration behind John Belushi's creation of the Blues Brothers characters in the late 1970s. They met and became friends while Belushi was in Eugene, Oregon filming the movie Animal House. The Blues Brother's debut album Briefcase Full of Blues is dedicated to Salgado and Cab Calloway's character in The Blues Brothers film is named after Curtis. For six years he performed with Robert Cray's band, and sang lead on Cray's debut album. Later in 1995 he spent a short stint as the lead vocalist with the latin rock band, Santana."

It wasn't a hot air balloon but it was an inflatable Noah's Arc sitting on the ground as the crowd was still gathering.

Then one by one...

... the other balloons began to inflate.

There was more hot air than a convention of fishermen talking about the "one that got away."

The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology and is a subset of balloon aircraft like the Hindenburg.

"On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers. Recently, balloon envelopes have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as hot dogs, rocket ships, and the shapes of commercial products."

It was cool watching these huge balloons inflate ...

... taking turns rising up from the field...

... and hear the blast as the hot air was blown inside.

A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that is capable of containing heated air. Suspended beneath is the gondola or wicker basket which carries the passengers and a source of heat, usually an open flame. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the relatively cold air outside the envelope.

Finally they were all standing tall and taking turns lighting up as the hot flame heated the air inside the envelop.

Just a note, it was pretty dark and while some pictures look like they are in daylight I assure it was dusk and the sun was down. Even in this picture the sky was already dark.

We were lucky the event could happen because earlier in the day we had a pretty good rain and it was very windy.

Unlike gas balloons, the envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom since the air near the bottom of the envelope is at the same pressure as the surrounding air. In today's sport balloons the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the mouth of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from fire resistant material such as Nomex.

As you can see here the flame shoots up about 20 feet into the envelop.

We were so happy to make it this year after having to cancel out of reservations last year due to a more pressing conflict.

As we walked back a "Light Saber" salesman was showing his wares and at $8 a Saber I hope he sold them all. I have always admired the gumption and sincere hard work some of us undertake to put bread on the table. If anyone deserves Health Care Reform and assurance they can go to a doctor it's these small business entrepreneurs who work so hard to feed their family.

Scrabble Score ~ Scrabble queen 302 - The Contender 335

Quote of the Day ~
"The balloon seems to stand still in the air while the earth flies past underneath." ~ Alberto Santos-Dumont

Santos Dumont designed, built, and flew the first practical dirigible balloons. In doing so he became the first person to demonstrate that routine, controlled flight was possible. This "conquest of the air", in particular winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on October 19, 1901 on a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower, made him one of the most famous people in the world during the early 20th century.

Between 1898 and 1905, he built and flew 11 dirigibles. Some were engine and some pedal powered. With air traffic control restrictions still decades in the future, he would glide along Paris boulevards at rooftop level in one of his airships, commonly landing in front of a fashionable outdoor cafe for lunch.


©Paul Viel