There I was at 500 feet in a hot-air balloon and we didn't have a breath of wind from any direction. We were right over the same train tracks as up north where I used to party. Unfortunately, we were beginning to run a little low on propane. In a way I was glad just to be crew and not the pilot (who owned the balloon).
Uh, being over the tracks was a little bit... unexpected.
There's this little problem with hot-air balloons and trains. It really did look as if we'd have to land and deflate right on the tracks. Not only would we pick up an enormous amount of track crud but... y'see, trains don't stop for balloons laying out flat on their tracks. Even if they were able to see them they wouldn't be able to stop in time. It didn't matter if your balloon was worth $2,000 or $20,000, you'd end up with a WHOLE bunch of shredded rip-stop nylon.
Fortunately, we were able to get the ground line down to the chase crew and they were able to pull us over to the road and all went well.
This was just one of those little incidents that occurred during my 22 years of crewing for the hot-air balloon "Lucy" (owned by Gerry Graff of Albuquerque if you wish to verify this story). Each year, at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, I'd come up with a new pin design to hand out to the members of the crew. Certainly, they were only the 2 1/4" "Badge-a-Minit" pins, but I tried to come up with an original design every year, printing the individual crew member's name on it, that kind of jazz.
The light on the left is supposed to be sunrise coming from over the Sandia mountains.
Well, although the posting has already been deleted, someone took me to task for possibly being jealous of these artisans of cloth. It is true that the only t-shirt I've ever printed says "Hi! I don't remember your name either!", but I've printed and machined more badges than my arms hardly could stand.
My single favorite design has been on a web page now for nine years. I kind of think that it shows that I don't go around performing sketch-copies of Mario drawing and selling them as "original art" (which, in other forms, has been a problem with shirt.woot! lately). In fact, I think it pretty well points out that I've got no reason whatsoever to be jealous of the t-shirt designers. Not even the ones that come up with images that almost make you cry to look at.
If you happen to want to see the comp for my 2000 button, here it is: - Gerry won "Lucy" in 1986 and named her for the diamonds that go around her equator.
Even if you don't like it, I do.