Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cody Balloon Festival 2012

Yesterday morning LC and I planned on getting up earlier than normal so that we could drive to a park in town and watch the takeoff of the balloons that dominate the sky annually during the hot air balloon festival.
By big city standards Cody's balloon festival is a small affair - only 17 balloons.
But there are also advantages to attending such a small event.
You can get much closer to the action, deal with less people and less traffic, can watch up close and personally as each team sets up their rigs, inflates their balloons, and then eventually one-by-one takes to the sky.
It was a small and intimate affair attended by locals mostly.
Those dressed in bicycling clothes who had taken an early morning ride down to the liftoff.
Photographers - both professional and amateur.
Parents with young children who were bundled into cold weather gear and blankets.
And just simply the curious.
The balloons were scheduled to take off at 6am and so we had the alarm set for five.
I had not slept well the night before.  In truth sleep is a hit and miss affair for both of us right now, and so sometime in the middle of the night I had gone to the couch to do my tossing and my turning, rather than risk waking up LC.
I was already awake when the alarm in the bedroom went off promptly at 5 and I fully expected LC to quickly turn it off.
After a few minutes I realized that he was not waking up, and so I got up from the couch, walked into the bedroom, turned the clock radio alarm off, checked on LC and kissed Jamie on top of her furry head before heading back into the living room.
If he was that tired I would let him sleep.
The balloons were taking off on Sunday as well, and maybe we would catch them on Sunday.
Or not.
If we didn't that was OK too.
At 6am LC finally woke up, and walked into the living room apologetic for sleeping in.
Ain't nothing but a thing LC. 
I was glad that he had slept.
We walked outside together after grabbing coffee and realized that it was a very cool morning, but also very clear and very sunny.
It was going to be a beautiful day.
Together we looked out over the mountains and soon realized that the balloons were running late.  That they had not taken off yet.
Although I told LC not to rush (wake up properly first, drink your coffee and take your time) we were dressed and out the door by 6:20 and headed towards town with me watching the sky for signs of balloons.
We arrived at the park around 6:40 and just as the very first balloon was lifting off in the park.
We could not have timed it any better.....................
This was not here when we were last in Cody.
One of a few pieces of new and large scale graffiti seen on the walls of the skate board park...................
My Mountain Boy grabbed Jamie and I walked with camera in hand towards the balloons that were covering the grounds of the downtown park.
With the exception of the star spangled balloon that had just taken off, the others were all laying on their side only partially inflated.
For whatever fortuitous reason, they were running late and I gladly walked in the dewy grass so that I could take pictures of the action.
We missed the takeoff last year and had initially hoped to try to make it to the takeoff the next day.
Instead, as we stood outside in the back yard quickly realized that the balloons were surprisingly coming our way.
Here is a link to the pictures I took last year:
As I watched, first one would stand upright, and five minutes later take off into the cloudless and cool blue sky, and then another and then another until they were all finally in the air...................
The balloons always take off early in the morning each year because that is the time of day when the winds are the calmest.
Hot air balloons go where the wind takes them, and last year I was initially disappointed when I realized that we had missed the takeoff.
It was by sheer happenstance that the winds that morning brought the balloons in our direction, and it was great fun on that early morning for us to follow them down the road close to the house, and then watch them land on the deserted BLM land.
This year I wanted to get a different perspective and hoped to catch the takeoff, and it WAS fun to watch the balloons transition from untold square yards of uninflated silk to inflated and ready-to-go hot air balloons.
But we had much more panoramic views of all of the balloons together once they were airborne last year.
Either was they were great to see on this early and crisp Saturday morning.
We watched them separately and then together in the sky for a short while, pleased that we had not missed the takeoff after all.
And then it was time to go for breakfast.  I needed more coffee.................

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