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If you have never been to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, you dont know what you are missing out on, and even more, if you have never had a chance to crew for a balloon, then you really dont know what you are missing. If you are going to be in the Albuquerque area on Saturday October 9th, or Sunday October 10th, and would like to have some fun, and get to see the balloon fiesta for free (and work a little), then call my cell at (505) 463-9546. Trust me, it is soooo much fun.

So, now with that said, this weekend, I had a blast. We all had sooooooooooooooooooooooosooooooooooooooo much fun. Pilot, Dick (his real name), is a great guy. But, we all decided, that when he looks for a landing spot, he says to him self, "Where can I land, so that they chase crew will really have to work to get to my?" and boy did we work. The first day (Saturday), All the balloons were moving south towards Paseo Del Norte, so we moved our butts over to Paseo & Jefferson, and sat there and watched our balloon. He drifted our way, and then, he decided to use the Albuquerque Box (see: http://www.srh.weather.gov/abq/feature/abq-box.htm) and decieded to head due north. So now, we have the fun task of moving to the north of the launch field. So, we take Edith over to Alameda, no problems there. We have him in our view and we think we see where he is goin to land. He starts to head down, A sign that he is pereparing to land, so we now must make our way thru all the people leaving the field, and there was around 100,000 people on the field for the opening day, which is more then they have had for about the last 8 to 10 years. To make matters worse, we are heading against the flow. So, we finaly get to where we think he is goin to put down, only to find that Sandia Plebluo, put up a nice new fence around there property, so, we did not land there. So, Dick is still movin north, and is now over Tramway. He has now put down on the north side of Tramway, and we have to get there. The problem, there are no "open" roads that lead there, well, no easy open roads. So we start making our way out of the park area, and head towards Tramway, only to find, and we are being forced onto southbound I-25, no, not northbound, but southbound. The other direction then which we need to go. So, we are on southbound I-25, and the Alameda Exit is closed, and Paseo is backed up. So we are forced, to get off at San Antonio and then pull a U turn and get back on I-25 Northbound. We get off at Tramway, and get to Dick and our Balloon, about 20 min after he landed. LOL, so we pull the balloon down with no problems, and head back to where I'm parked at a local eating place. I take off cus I have to be somewere at 10am, they head back to the field.

So, now you ask, where would I have to be at 10am on a Saturday morning. Well, I had a fieldtrip. Yes, a fieldtrip in college. LOL, my Community and Regional Planning class is looking at Sprawl and how it relates to the westside of Albuquerque. So, we had a driving tour of the Westside, which for me, was nothing new, considering I grew up on the westside (moved to Corrales when I was 3, and I'm now 20) and now even thou I don't live on the westside, I still work on the westside, so after 17 years of westside living & working, you would like I would know a thing or two. LOL. So, for me, it was just two hours of driving around, look at growth, and houses. LOL. So, after that, I when back to my parents house, which I stayed at this weekend. The rest of the day was just filled with me doing things.

Now for Sunday, the first hop, went fine, the second hop, that was a different story. Richard, my boss, went up in the balloon for the second hop, so we all know it was doomed to have something go wrong. So we take the wait and see aproche with the second hop, and we sit and shoot the shit for about 10 to 15 min and decided, ok, maybe we should change our place, and start tracking him. So we move to a new place about 2 miles up the road, and sit a wait. The wind shifts, and he now starts to head west. So we move west. But we cant go to far west, cus we have a river and lots and lots and lots of trees in the way, which for all of you non balloon people is a distater for landing a balloon. But, just as we think he is going to cross the river, he starts to head south. And we head south, and we head south, and south, and even more some south. We are all like, ok, there are great places to sit down, right next to the road. But no, he cant sit down there, that would be easy, so he went for a field a little of the road. And now, we can not for the life of us figure out how to get to the damn field. So, we have to drive way south and then east, and then back north to get to this field, and when we get to this field, the damn gate is locked, but we see the other half of crew has there trucks there, so there has goto to be a way in, so we all get out and walk, and leave Cathy, Richards wife who was drivin the chase truck, since Richard was up in the Balloon to find a way in. So we get there, bring it down, and pack it up. We are just about to leave, and this open space ranger showes up, and is like "You guys need to call us before you land here" and we are all like, ok. We all figured out that he just had to say something to get his paycheck. LOL. So again, after all of this, dick was on the ground for like 15 to 20 min before we could get our butts there.

But all in all, it was great time, and, god willing, I will do it again next weekend, and hell, if I can find a class to ditch, I will do it during the week also. LOL, but dont tell anyone I said this. LOL.

So, if you feel this is something you want to try, and hey, you get free access to the field, then call my cell (505) 463-9546. And if you happen to be on the field next weekend, drop my S-5, and say hi to me. Cus I should be around somewhere near there, and if I'm not, then give me a few, and drop by again. If it is after the first wave has taken off, then we are most likly off the field, and chaseing.

Well, not that I have writen a book here, I going to sign off.

Peace and love to each and everyone of you all,
Kevin

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Kevin Murray

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