But like all things, there are some not so great parts. We already mentioned the painful (to dog ears) sound of the propane heaters the balloons use to gain lift. Since we live relatively near the airport which is a restricted fly zone, we are for the most part spared that discomfort.
Hot Air Balloons are notoriously unpredictable in where they land. Changes in wind speed or direction in the layers of air in the atmosphere is the basic method used to navigate; move up or down in the stream to find a layer moving where you want to go. This is not always possible to precisely control, and the wind's fickleness affects the use of propane to heat the air. So sometimes, it simply becomes a matter of needing to come down to earth. The pilots are skilled and generally land safely but not necessarily where they had planned. Their "chase" vehicles rush to where ever they land to insure all is secure and no one or thing is harmed. We Albuquerqueans are used to balloons landing in parking lots, or school athletic fields, or backyards, or...
|Airabella the Cow in a definitely unladylike situation|
That was the situation the White Dog Army found itself in on our Friday-as-Saturday. The normally empty hill Park was packed with RVs and a huge family reunion. The duck park was hosting a party for members of a ballooning club. Our errands took us past the Balloon Fiesta launch Park in the middle of the day (when no activities occur) but traffic crawled for nearly a mile, filled with vacation vehicles, out of state plates, and vendors on the side of the road. The WDA got impatient at one point and tried to direct the traffic from out of our windows...to no success. Even our own neighborhood which is very trendy and chic in the University area made us feel claustrophobic. There were way too many people at our favorite outdoor dining spots to even stop for a WDA lunch.
|Balloon Fiesta Launch Park and Museum|