Sunday, June 25, 2017

Early morning Balloon Ascension in Panguitch.

The fire and smoke Friday night. 
Saturday morning the bedroom light came on and Bill yanked my toes saying, "Get up." What? I could see it was still dark out and cold, the furnace was running but hadn't taken the chill off yet. I rolled over and looked at the clock. Huh? It was blinking 1.11 - just blinking. Guess the electricity went out last night. What time was it anyway? 4:45!
I got up, put on jeans and a t-shirt and had a cup of hot coffee. By then it was 5:15. We were up early to go to the Balloon Ascension. According to the brochure it would be at 6:30. The sky was barely getting light. So had another cup of coffee and went in hunt of a jacket. About 15 to 6 we left the still gray campground. We knew where the event was going to take place so headed there. As we tried to turn into the area we were stopped - Pilots only in that way. But we could go to the cemetery where we'd have a good view. So off we went. Well we had a good view alright of a field full of trucks. Where were the balloons. Decided to go to the other area the guard suggested. Back into town and out to the baseball park. Parked the car and discovered the field with the balloons was about a two block walk through a meadow. 
It was still shivering cold out - about 47 degrees. We set off - getting a little warmer as we walked and the sun got closer to coming up. Finally at the field where the balloons would take off. 
One of the first things I saw. Not a balloon but it had a basket. 

No balloons, but a lot of trucks pulling trailers and lots of people milling around. 
A few testing regular little balloons let up to see which way the wind was blowing. Everyone watched them until they were out of sight. 
6:15 - where were the big balloons?
Finally a man took the microphone and called all pilots. He made announcements about the wind, weather, temperature and the zones landing was okay in. Mostly anywhere except the red zone by the airport. If they landed in a farmers field it was okay, but they could not take their trucks out on to the field. Had a number to call for help. Each balloon had a sponsor who would get to ride in it. 
The crowd dispersed and the trucks and trailers began to drive out on the field. Each pilots area was marked with a red cone or flag. 
Baskets and balloons soon appeared. 
Stretching their balloon out on the ground. 
 Spreading another one out. You can see the smoke in the distance. 
 Checking their propane
Some spread big cloths on the ground before putting the balloons down.
 The baskets were laid on their sides at the opening of the balloon. 
 Some of the balloons are starting to inflate. 
 The brown one on the right is Smokey the Bear. The sun is finally up and it was getting a little warmer and easier to take pictures.  
Smiley Face. Holding the ropes while inflating the balloons. 
 Still can't figure out what this is. 
 Up, up and away

 More and more getting ready to take off. 
 So many colors
 A lot of balloons getting ready to take off. 
 There's Smokey
 Inflating the balloon. They were warned in the pilots meeting about the low humidity dew point is -2. They have to be really careful about static setting a fire. A day or so ago a balloon in Arizona caught fire and even burned the truck that brought it. 
 No mishaps here.
It is Sunday morning and the fires is just getting bigger. We went to the Glow that wasn't a glow last night, but still was fun. 

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