Sunday, September 30, 2012

Red Hatters Visit White Oaks Ghost Town

On Saturday, September 29, 2012, New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter of the Red Hat Society drove to White Oaks, New Mexico where we toured the Old School House Museum and had a barbecue lunch at the No Scum Allowed Saloon (a biker bar).

Claude Hobbs, a 92 years young WWII hero, (he was on the beach at Normandy) led us through the museum while relating a running commentary on the historical significance of items and photos on display. Each of us rang the school bell (one with a rope pull). By the time we each had a turn, I'm sure people in the little town of White Oaks thought there was an emergency or an invasion!

Claude even pointed out the school desk that he sat in and the fact that he had carved his initials in the top. He is, indeed, a historical treasure himself and still a very handsome gentleman.

L to R: Rosa, Linda, Penny and Monica inspecting a 99 year old stove
Claude Hobbs
Marian and Dorothy
This school house was presented to a "teacher of the year" and his children gave it to the museum after his death
Monica getting a better view of the little school house
Dorothy (back to us), Claude, Marian and Rosa
Claude with his trusty horse, just before he went into the Army during WWII
Claude, Marian, Monica, Penny and Rosa (Linda and Dorothy are in discussion)
Rosa, ringing the school bell with Marian awaiting her turn
Can't you just tell this is something she's always wanted to do?
Penny is filled with glee getting to ring the bell
The Gumm Brothers home behind the school house currently being renovated

This is the Hoyle house built for his bride from France. She came, took one look and left!
No Scum Allowed Saloon - live music and dancing
We found a nice man to take our picture with his machine
The nice man is Harvey T from Ruidoso KEDU Radio
Some of the pictures I took didn't turn out for some reason. Couldn't have been the photographer now, could it? We all agreed that we had a great time and can't wait to get together again.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Balloon Glow, Balloon Lift-Off at White Sands

This is a continuation of our adventures this past weekend (September 15-16, 2012) beginning this section with the Balloon Glow at Alamogordo Balloon Park with 10 balloons taking part. They lit up in patterns either in rows or every other one and traded off from solid firing to flickering light. It was a grand experience. Miss Alamogordo 2012 was there and I managed to get photographed with her. Andrea is a lovely young lady and we wish her well in future pageants.

We again arose at 5:00 a.m. to drive out to White Sands for the Sunday morning lift-off and it was, indeed, a glorious day the Lord made especially for ballooning. There were at least 60 balloons taking part of varying sizes and descriptions. I remembered my new red camera and just went crazy shooting pictures of everything in sight. I'm so thankful for digital technology, but it's a pain to go through all the pictures when I get home trying to choose which ones to put on my blog. There's pluses and minuses in everything!

Great shot of balloon being fired up at the Balloon Glow
A fine example of this event
Andrea (Andi) O'Connor (Miss Alamogordo) and Carla
An example of solid firing at the Glow
We all counted down; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Fire!
A fabulous experience and thank you to the pilots for this extra effort
By the time we arrive at White Sands, the sun is just breaking over the mountains and the area is a beehive of activity as each of the pilots and crew busy themselves with getting their balloon ready for flight.

Wake up, World!

People are lined up all along the top of the dunes watching and photographing the action
Snoopy is a new addition to the mix and a big hit
Another shot of all the onlookers atop the dunes
Bringing the basket upright as the balloon is fired. Doug is at left in the beret.
Balloon and pilot Mona ready for flight with two Holloman AFB photographers
Beautiful against a perfectly blue sky!
Carla looking for her next shot
Smokey Bear was very popular
Doug and I think this balloon is one of the most beautiful
White Sands is a fabulous venue for ballooning
Others enjoyed sliding down the dunes
The flirty cat
The "Casa" balloon is the one we went up in on Saturday
Look out! Snoopy's closing in.
Finally, a shot of Snoopy head on
We returned to Alamogordo and headed for IHOP to eat breakfast where we encountered our across the street neighbors and had a delightful breakfast with them. As we were walking to the car I spotted the subjects below.

This adorable trio waiting patiently for their owners who are evidently inside IHOP
Doug and I share photography credits on the White Sands Lift-Off.

This is all I have to say for now.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

White Sands Balloon Festival, Our Balloon Ride

This past weekend was chock full of events and we were brave souls, getting out of bed two mornings in a row at 5:00 a.m. for balloon lift-offs, attending the Tularosa Basin Wine and Music Festival on Saturday afternoon with the Red Hatters and returning to the Alamogordo Balloon Park that evening for the Balloon Glow. Normally the whole Balloon Festival takes place at White Sands but they had a missile shoot on Saturday.  We were able to go to White Sands for the Sunday morning lift-off. I've only been to one balloon festival that didn't completely happen in Plano, Texas due to 9/11 so this was especially interesting to me. Doug was in contact with the manager of the festival three weeks before, finding out all the info, and we hooked up with him when we went to the event. As a result, when two riders didn't show up to go up in the balloon he was sponsoring, he came looking for us and gave us the opportunity to go up. I have a fear of heights and was a bit hesitant, but decided to throw caution to the winds. I'm so glad I did. This is the most calm and peaceful I've ever felt. Mona, the pilot of 23 years experience, was very professional and gave us a marvelous flight. I'm ready to go again!

Joe and Sharon Kelman with Carla. They are new to Alamogordo.
Looking into the inside of "Cool Beans" balloon

A beautiful shot against that beautiful blue sky
Some of the 54 balloons airing up and sky bound
The subject matter makes it easy to be more artistic in photography
Just breathtaking!
Great shot of the basket and underside of an especially pretty balloon
Balloons as far as the eye can see
Another view of this amazing event
Just about ready to lift off surrounded by crew members
It's about this time that Ed came looking for us to go for a balloon ride so the view will soon become more birds eye as you will see.

Our friend, Ed
This is the balloon we went up in and it is huge
Lady in pink top is pilot Mona L. Johnson surrounded by her crew
Here am I trying to figure out how to climb in (no easy task for a 74 year-old)
Pilot Mona and do I look pleased with myself or what?
You can tell Doug is in because this shot is so close
Up Up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon
Just look at those mountains in the background
I haven't said a word and Mona is worried that I'm terrified!
Caught part of our balloon overhead while shooting the others
Adding hot air to keep going
Some balloons landed to trade out passengers
This is a brackish water treatment plant
Pilot Mona adding more hot air
The white truck and trailer is Mona's crew truck following us to where we land
Mona decided this cement pad would be a perfect place to land
And, we are down, a perfect landing
This is the top center of the canopy pulled to let hot air out
The balloon is coming down but still trying to go skyward
It was "shake and bake" and I helped!
It does come down faster than it blows up
"Never step on the envelope fabric!"
This is like stuffing a huge snake into a bag
Pilot Mona and crew pushing the air out of the "snake"
Once everything was loaded, Mona took us back to the Balloon Park to our car. We went to IHOP for breakfast and home to rest a bit and change clothes for the afternoon Wine and Music Festival with Red Hatters. If you will notice, Mona and her crew are all wearing gloves partially to keep body oil from getting on the fabric because it tends to rot it. We learned a lot about ballooning and had a grand time. Thank you Mona and Ed.

As it turned out, various things had happened in the lives of my Red Hatters and only one besides myself was able to attend. We had a grand time and took advantage of the one-on-one to become better acquainted.
View of the set-up for the festival
Carla aka Queen Ladybird and Dorothy Smith
Carla greeting Gloria, creator of beautiful jewelry and a former Red Hat Queen
This is Guitar Slim and his band and they played some fine music
Thanks, Doug, for all the great photos.

This is all I have to say for now.