2012Hot2Cold travel blog

before dawn and already the launch grounds are alive with activity

and the crowd is growing by the minute

teams were busy unloading their gear

there's that little fireman again - and he's alreay half inflated

too early to tell what this monstrosity is going to be

but we do recognize Airabelle!

and next to her a new team we haven't seen before is...

two of many helicopters circling the field

this balloon is really long and we are trying to guess what...

we asked the crew and they said it is The Old Woman...

these spectators have set up for the duration

while the captain works on the gondola

these ladies unfurl the bag

a lot of that going on this morning

the fan is used for the initial inflation - before adding heat

no matter where you look there is something interesting going on

Madolyn and Mom

takes a LOT OF AIR to get Airabelle inflated!

another mystery balloon

that is the beginnings of Smokey the Bear

she's perking up

time to start the fire

that earlier mystery is starting to take shape

and it's a stork delivering a baby!

these guys are still working on the blue and gold balloon

should be a beauty when they get it up

you don't know where to point your camera first around here

the German piggy bank is starting to shape up - are they...

the little fireman goes up with a blast of heat and the...


the stork is looking good, but it was too windy to get...

same with Airabelle - she's a fair weather flier

it's nice and clear but still too windy for some

not a 'special shape' but this one sure is pretty

not sure what we're looking past here but it makes a good...

one of my favorite shots of the day

Airabelle is watching them inflate the Old Woman's Shoe

the gold fish "Sushi" is finally going up

and the crew is tilting the gondola up

Smokey and the zebra

we're going to hate to see this end

the pirate goes up

he's probably after the piggy bank

the balloons even dwarf the tents

a nice map of the launch grounds

this zebra honors the launch managers in the black and white zebra...

kind of a sad looking car

but a happy dog - or bear - or whatever

that one's a panda for sure

and then there's this goofy French entry that no one but them...

the shoe is starting to come up next to Airabelle

the wind is picking up a little

"When Pigs Fly" is about to fly


that gray haired old man is me


odd but interesting

here comes the shoe - and it's covered with kids!

this one's jammie flap is letting in the wind!

this little girl is almost to the top of the roof

what a creation!

a real work of art - and humor

the best feature is the girl swinging from the shoelace


this little girl is clinging to the heel

and this guy seems happy hanging upside down

yep - too many children!

the girl on the shoelace is feeling the wind!

a happy looking monster

now the bee bandit is nudging the elephant

the elephant finally went up - along with the recycle shopping bag

a fire truck we haven't seen before

and a dinosaur

bottom view of a dinosaur

there goes the bee

and his crew

looks like he's about to sting that red balloon

Airabelle sure has big feet

Simba's here again today

and Monkee See Monkee Do

here come those cops again

actually it's Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil - and See No...

penguin and basketball

there goes Spider Pig!

haven't seen it off the ground before




Simba goes up over the stage coach


finally figured out the penguin - he's a detective with a magnifying...


the monkees get off the ground

and the lovely butterfly

haven't seen her fly before

back side of the Brazilian bees

we finally get to see her face

an interesting combination

think it's a devil of some kind

and this is a mushroom

and behind the mushroom is a kid in a wheelchair

a crab

and a shark

even the Cheshire Cat

Reaching for the Stars - side view

and a better view

penguin and crab

Reaching for the Stars - Madolyn got this best shot and it's...

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 2.06 MB)

Fireman with Flag

(MP4 - 1.45 MB)

Fireman with Flag

(MP4 - 1.64 MB)

Sushi Fish

(MP4 - 1.59 MB)

Ice Cream Cone

Today was supposed to be Special Shapes Rodeo day, but the special shapes are big, cumbersome balloons and the morning dawned windy. So windy that when I got out at 6:00 AM I was surprised to see the glow of two dawn patrol balloon already aloft. They were soon joined by two more, and the four of them found an altitude where there seemed to be a calm that allowed them to just hang out and not drift away. We turned on the TV and after a half hour of dithering word was finally passed that the Rodeo was ON! We boarded the next shuttle bus and headed out.

By the time we arrived at the launch grounds, there was an array of balloons already partially inflated across the north end of the field. More were laying out their ‘envelopes’ and it looked like we were in for a treat. As the morning proceeded several hundred balloons did get off, and among them were the lovely elephant, a new dinosaur, the little fireman, Simba the Lion King, and a mean looking bee who was wearing a mask. A lot of other special shapes flew too, along with a number of regular balloons to add to the festivities. It was another day of sheer delight and excitement.

The wind died down, but a storm front is moving in tonight, so there were a number of the shapes that just inflated but did not fly. Among these were our beloved Airabelle the cow, the stage coach, a wonderful stork carrying a baby, and wonder of wonders - the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, complete with children climbing all over her, and one girl swinging wildly from one of her shoelaces. A balloon we hadn’t seen before was the boy in a wheelchair ‘reaching for the stars’, and there was a fire truck, a shark, a crab and a Cheshire Cat. They didn’t need to fly to entertain, and the joy of seeing them was evident on every face in the large and awestruck crowd.

The ascensions fell off, and the inflated shapes started to deflate and pack up their gear, but the morning was not over by any means. Event staff and police started clearing the launch field, and from behind newly strung rope barricades we all got ready for a Balloon Competition. There were too many good pictures to get them all on this page, so the competition is on the next journal page titled Beanbags and Ringtoss.

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