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Chasing a Balloon Across a Red Rock Sky

How do they do it? Although it is easy to find the places where balloon-ride companies launch from -- in fact I've camped right there a couple times -- but how do they ever retrieve their balloons and customers after a ride?  I suppose there is more of a serious business to it than what first appears to a customer, or even to new employees.

Coffee Girl and I were returning from a mountain bike ride, when we crossed paths with three young buckaroos in retrieval mode. We made a game out of using them as our pace car. Notice the rectangular openings in the wicker basket. Are those meant to be peepholes for munchkin customers?

At one point we caught the three balloon wranglers, which I'm guessing consisted of a pickup driver and two balloon pilots. They looked just like you would guess: young men, 25-30, healthy and vivacious, who are postponing real employment in the rat race for a brief stint at a "fun" job in a glamorous location. 

It must be easy for the company to find such fellows. Presumably they are barely making a living. But they certainly seemed happy enough. Eventually he will meet some gal who likes him for his virile glamour and sense of freedom. She will then, of course, begin the process of domesticating him, finally culminating in complete regression to a normal life in the suburbs. Ah well, so goeth the way of all flesh...

At one point, the driver had to bring the truck and balloon trailer across a sandy and wet creek crossing. An overhanging branch from a cottonwood tree just missed the propane burners by inches. I wonder what the customers would have thought if they had visualized that, before going on their first ride?

I've never taken a balloon ride. Blame cheapness. But is that so bad? Would it really be that great to consume one more bar-coded delight of the mass-tourism industry? Instead, my dog and I got a kick out of pedalling down the sandy road, pretending that we were chasing the balloon across the sky.

Recall the movie version of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility."  The romantic sister and her kid sister went traipsing off across the soggy downs. And Marianne exclaimed, "There is some blue sky. Let us chase it!"


Ed said…
"Notice the rectangular openings in the wicker basket."

Those are basket step that make basket egress easier. I assume that they can serve the function that you suggested also.
It's funny. I have watched launches and never noticed how the customers got in. You would think it would be a swinging door -- with a very good latch.
John V said…
Ok, now you're quoting Jane Austen movies. Time to turn in your Man Card!
You were supposed to be impressed how 'diverse' and PC this blog has become.
Ed said…
"..the three balloon wranglers, which I'm guessing consisted of a pickup driver and two balloon pilots."

I forgot to comment on this. I doubt that two of the wranglers were pilots. If they were the "chase crew" in retrieval mode then they were going to pick up the balloon, passengers and a pilot. The other clue was you said they were "young buckaroos". The pilots are usually older folks although a young buckaroo could become a pilot.
John V said…
And now your readers know what we can all pitch in to buy you for Christmas!