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I was taking load to Albuquerque and it was evening and they were lighting up those balloons at night. Man that was cool to see.
 

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I believe they were charging 300 or so dollars a ride....the wife is afraid of heights and I like being on the gournd....:D not to mention I could buy something for the bike.....

A lot of the balloons were landing not far from take off a few miles near roads and parking lots.....
 

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Thanks for the pics, Lee!

My wife is from Albuquerque... In fact, we were married at the UNM Chapel there. For years--until her dad got too old... :( --her family provided chase-crew duties for out-of-town balloonists, and usually for the same guy from Atlanta. I have great memories of unpacking and inflating the balloon early on a cold New Mexican morning for the mass ascension to begin the week.

I've ridden a few times, and it's really fun. Honestly, I had just as much fun being part of the chase-crew. The planning, the coordination, and the strategy to ensure you can maneuver thru the traffic and maintain contact with the pilot. Come to think of it, we shoulda used motorcycles!

I'm an old paratrooper, and it's kinda like an airborne operation, except in reverse!

Ranger
 

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Your welcome,,, it was my first time and while I did not enjoy getting up at 4 am to get there...I did enjoy watching the activities.....
 

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Cool.

We used to have over 30 balloons up here in the Anchorage area. I won a ride years ago and ended up hooking up with a company on their chase crew. Went to Phoenix one winter as part of a commercial operation and have enough hours as Pilot In Command for a commercial license but got out of it years ago.

When in Phoenix we took a couple skydivers up to over 12,000' above ground level and let them out. Fun! Also did a lot of weddings aloft where I'd use my climbing gear and hang out over the edge of the basket as tho I was gonna do a rappel in order to get the whole basket and it's occupants in a photo that included some pretty nice backdrop. Scary fun.

Was also part of a tethered ballon bungee operation which was pretty trippy too. Lots of jumps and on local news video. Silly fun.

Lots of good fun but the envelopes and baskets of those larger balloons are heavy and they're carrying quite a few pounds of propane as well.

This is the ballon I've flown the most. It's the first I soloed in and the guys named were a couple of my first instructors. I have a bunch of these posters if someone really wants one. Later, Mark H.

 
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